"The SBDC has been invaluable to me this past year, in terms of their support, advice and her knowledge of the business. At the very beginning of this process, they advised me to work on my business every day. I took this advice to heart and I have tried to do this despite work, family and college constraints. The SBDC has kept me focused and their knowledge of fabrics, sewing techniques and manufacturing is priceless. They are patient and they have directed me to various websites to increase my knowledge of the business, or to research and/or purchase unusual fabrics. I am happy to say I am very close to manufacturing my product, largely due to the SBDC's support and ongoing encouragement."
Mary has invented diabetic cases that can be worn discreetly on the body. She came up with this idea because she noticed many students, mainly males, who were not taking care of their diabetic testing and insulin shots because they did not want to carry their supplies or let anyone know they are diabetic.
The main problem was Mary did not know how to make a prototype to test to see if her idea would work. Initially she wanted to make the case insulated with an ice pack to keep insulin cool. Once she had a prototype made, she had difficulty finding diabetic students at the high school she works at to ask to test her bag because the school could not release student names and condition to her.
The SBDC guided Mary in the steps to get a prototype made and how to source out the materials. The SBDC also showed her how to cost out the material costs for her product and is now in the process of teaching her how to figure out the labor costs involved. As a next step, the SBDC will be advising her on how to create a line of cases, as many other people have expressed needs for cases that can be worn discreetly on the body. Examples would be cases to hold keys, inhaler, pills, money etc.
Mary is just adding finishing touches to her website. She has spoken to the school nurses in the Vallejo School District who wholeheartedly gave their approval and agreed her case will help many students. She has also received several positive testimonials from students who have tested her cases, and she has data that confirms that students who wore her case saw dramatic results in controlling their sugars and thus their behavior in school. She was recently invited to be a vendor at a Diabetic Camp in February and a Pediatric Diabetes Symposium in March. In trying to build up an inventory of cases for these events, she has hired an independent contractor in Vallejo to help make the cases. She plans to have a cut and sew factory manufacture her bags within the month.