I enjoy the show American Inventor not because I see many good inventions, but because I take solace in people joining me as a failed inventor. But recently I came across a true inventor that really impressed me with the simplicity of their invention. She identified a problem, looked for a ready solution and when she didn’t find it, invented it.
Meet Maria Gnas, broker for Team Gnas, Keller Williams Bluegrass Realty; Lexington, Ky. Maria was trying to load open-house signs into the back of her new car, but they just wouldn’t fit. So, she tucked them in the backseat instead. One left turn later, the signs’ sharp iron legs poked two big holes in her new leather seats, causing more than $200 in damages. Gnas knew she couldn’t have been the first person to deal with this frustrating predicament.
First she tried to fit socks around the legs of the For Sale sign, but they slipped off. A blanket was too cumbersome, and foam was too messy. Finally, she found rubber tubing worked like magic. Her mother made cloth bags to fit over the tubed legs and minimize cleanup and the “Sign Slipper” was invented. Proof that necessity is the mother of invention.
What is a Sign Slipper? Sign Slippers slip over the legs of your real estate sign to protect your car’s interior.
What do they cost?
As little as $ 14.95 for a pair.
What impresses me most about Maria is her single-minded approach to solving a problem for herself that she also saw as an opportunity to help others. Maria has made all of the right moves seeking a patent, sourcing product from overseas and investing her own money in the product. She has been selling Sign-Slippers since 2005 as a hobby, but with a hectic real estate career she admits that she hasn’t devoted as much time as she’d like to marketing. When she does have a spare moment, however, she makes phone calls to pitch the product to potential buyers. One call recently landed an order for 500 Sign-Slippers from a bank that plans to use them as gifts to real estate professionals.
I am going to see what I can do in the Canadian market so email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.