The Success Story from the Inventor of "The Aqua Caddy"
Hey there MYGOLFSPY readers, my name is John Yakopcic and I’m the inventor of "The Aqua Caddy". I have been a golfer for over three decades and one day I thought to myself...there has to be a better way to clean clubs while you are playing golf. Think about it...most of us have have carried a heavy wet towel around the course or dragged our clubs through wet grass to clean the face, hell some of us have even spit-cleaned our clubs at times. So, I figured that there had to be a way to carry water to the course in a way that did not make a mess
My Big Idea
So...I began to develop "My Idea" in my garage using an old soft-sided flask my brother brought home from college, a peanut butter jar lid, and cross-stitching rings from my wife’s sewing kit. Although some people said that my concept of effortlessly carrying water on a golf course just couldn’t be done, I wouldn’t let go of my dream. I knew if I could use this product, many of the more than 30 million golfers in our country alone could use it, too.
My invention is now called The Aqua Caddy., and little did I know that the ‘idea’ which came to me many years ago on a golf course was just the beginning of a long, exciting journey of a lifetime.
Step One (Hiring An Artist)
The first step I took was to meet Dave Nestler, a friend of mine who is an artist. Dave sat down with me to draw sketches of my idea for The Aqua Caddy., a compact, portable, soft-sided golf club head cleaning device that is specially designed to hold water. An agitating mesh on the interior of the Caddy, accompanied by a slotted lid surrounded by brushes, cleans the grooves of irons, hybrids and most fairway woods immediately after your shot.
My reasoning behind developing the Aqua Caddy was to ensure the best club to ball contact and help golfers take their best shot, every shot. As we all know, a clean shot is the money shot!
Step Two (Talk to a Patent Attorney)
The next step I took was to seek out an attorney who could help me receive a patent. The law firm researched my idea to make sure that there’s no other product on the market that is similar to mine.
The firm then applied for a patent. For me, this was the most difficult part of this process. I had to wait 3 years before I found out that I received a utility patent for The Aqua Caddy.. During those 3 years, I was instructed not to speak with anyone about it and not to share the pending docket number with anyone. I basically had to put my idea completely out of my mind for years, but it was the not talking about it that was really tough. It was during this step that I realized how important it is to surround yourself with trustworthy and reputable people & companies. Some people that you meet talk a good game, but in the end they’re just trying to get a piece of the action!
After I received the patent, I began the trademarking & prototyping process. The Aqua Caddy will be a registered trademark in the fall of 2008. After 2 attempts with the prototype process, I felt like I finally held in my hands the idea I had been working on for years.
Step Three (Prototyping & Manufacturing)
Next I began researching manufacturers. The manufacturer I chose got the Aqua Caddy right and to my specifications on their third attempt. It was cool to finally have the real deal in my hands, and I was so excited to be able to hook it to my bag and test it on a course. It worked great, exactly as I envisioned it!
Step Four (Packaging)
Now I had to think about packaging. I was in line at a store when I noticed smoke detectors by the check-out. I thought the Aqua Caddy would fit into the packaging in a similar way, so I bought one of them off the display to take home to try. After a few modifications it fit perfectly and I again met with Dave to design the insert card to be placed inside the packaging.
Once I knew what my manufacturing cost would be, I then began to put together pricing sheets for wholesale & retail customers. I also set-up shipping methods for customers purchasing within the United States as well as other countries.
Step Five (Promote, Promote...oh yeah Promote some more!)
When I finally had everything else lined up, I really started to promote the Aqua Caddy: I hired web-site designers and shot a demonstration video to be viewed on the site www.theaquacaddy.com
I developed marketing materials, such as brochures & business cards; I joined a number of marketing & networking groups; I purchased a display booth and began attending PGA Merchandising shows as a vendor.
Personalization is Huge
One of the biggest industries in our country is the Promotional Products Industry. I decided to design a second lid for the Aqua Caddy that was blank on top. One of the most popular selling points of the Aqua Caddy is that the lid can be screen printed with a company or organization’s logo.
The Reward (Man it Feels Good)
One of the most rewarding moments for me was the day that Dick’s Sporting Goods said that they wanted to carry the Aqua Caddy in their stores. Although it was a long & slow process, I will never forget the feeling I had when I walked into a Dick’s Sporting Goods and saw the Aqua Caddy on display. It had been a long but very worthwhile ride!
I sincerely hope this helps anyone out there on a similar journey. If you have any additional questions/comments.
Today’s article is part of a Two-Week series on “How To Get Your Dream Golf Job”:
SERIES - Week One:
- “How To Become a Tour Pro” (Monday)
- “How To Own and Run a ProShop” (Tuesday)
- “How To Become Golf Club Designer” (Wednesday)
- “How To Become A Golf Sales Rep” (Thursday)
- “How To Become a Professional Long Driver” (Friday)