For our March Inventor Spotlight, we?re highlighting Fred Wherritt! Fred has been a member of the Edison Nation since 2009 and is an active Insider!
We wanted to get to know Fred a bit better to learn about his background and his inventing journey to date?
Where is your home town?
Waterford Michigan. We are on the northern outskirts of the Detroit Metropolitan area.
Where do you currently reside?
We have moved around some but are now back in Waterford. We get to enjoy all four Seasons without too much cold and snow. ?
What is your professional background?
I have worked mostly in retail with a few other side ventures.
How did you initially hear about Edison Nation?
I spent a lot of time on the internet researching how to bring inventions to market. Somewhere I came across a reference to Edison Nation.
Have you ever collaborated with another inventor(s) on a project? If so, how was that experience for you?
No, so far all of my projects have been solo.
What are some general industry trends you have noticed recently?
It is amazing how many children?s products feature licensed brands such as ?Toy Story ?or ?Marvel?.
A lot of kitchen products are being reworked with new colors, new assortments and new looks for old ideas. I think the segment is ripe for some really innovative new concepts.
Do you find that invention ideas come to you or do you have to go after them?
New ideas are always coming to me and I try to keep the ?radar? on for problems that need a solution. I also enjoy the discipline and challenge of going after ideas. Not only does it generate additional ideas, but it is great training and makes me a better inventor. The Innovation Searches with Edison Nation present great opportunities to go after new ideas and broaden my horizons.
What advice would you tell others hoping to score a licensing deal?
Patience has to be a key to increasing your chances of licensing a product. There aren?t very many, if any, overnight sensations in this business. The road to a licensed product can be long and difficult and there are no guarantees, but hey, one idea can change your life dramatically.
Secondly, to increase your chances of success, treat inventing as a business. Keep learning, set goals, learn from successful inventors, learn from your mistakes and be open to change.
What are some other fun facts about yourself that you’d like to share with the EN community?
I enjoy cooking and I actually have some food ideas I wish I could figure out how to protect and bring to market. ?We used to drive an hour and a half to a farm to buy raw milk right from the cow. We have also made some probiotic food at home such as Kombucha, Keifer and cultured veggies. But it is not all healthy eating…I can stay up late and eat an entire box of cookies if I don?t run out of milk. That is a habit I am trying to kick.
?We have had dogs and cats, right now we are enjoying our first granddaughter. She is way better.
What inspired you to start inventing?
I have always had ideas for improving things. I can?t seem to shut that part of my brain off. So I decided I might as well try to develop and harness that ability with the hopes of making some income. Admittedly is has been a harder than I expected, but I still love the process and I am sticking with it.
When did you come up with your first great idea?
It was my first G7 here at Edison Nation which had to do with cupcakes.
You have been an EN member since 2009, can you provide us with some details around your experiences and journey to date?
I believe longevity is a key to becoming successful as an inventor, so let me describe my journey by relating the three major hurdles I faced in order to ?stay in the game?:
The first was joining Edison Nation and starting out with my first submission. It took almost a year to satisfy myself that this was a company I could trust. Not that there was anything to suggest they weren?t. I just chalk that up to inventor paranoia. As a friend of mine once said, ?I would rather play catch-up then clean-up.? As far as your first submission goes…just do it! You have to start somewhere and you will get better as time goes along.
The second challenge was getting past the infamous ?R4? hurdle. It probably took another year and at least eight submissions to get my first G4. Lessons learned; my ideas weren?t as great as I thought and this is going to take a little longer than I was expecting.
The third hurdle was the wall I hit after several of my ideas reached G7, were presented and not selected by the sponsoring company. Lessons learned: I am going to need a LOT of great ideas, because most of them are not going to be licensed, and I am going to have to find a way to stick around till one does get licensed.
So, here I am, still inventing, still submitting ideas, occasionally discouraged but still loving the process.
Thanks Edison Nation…Now where did I put that duct tape?