WoollyWormit, What’s Up?


GOOD STUFF FOR CAR ENTHUSIASTS

OUR INAUGURAL BLOG AND HOW WE GOT HERE

The focus of our blog is to provide our clients and readers with interesting and informative topics relevant to car enthusiasts, auto industry news, and yes, car care. Our goal is to enlighten, educate and even entertain.

As our inaugural writing, it would seem appropriate to introduce ourselves, let you know a little about us and how we got here. And we do so not just to talk about ourselves and what we do, but also be a potential source of inspiration for all you out there who have some neat ideas, or always wanted to chase their dreams and aspirations just like us.

WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO

Our company is Black Tie Brands - an idea factory established by us, Jonathan Batchelor, Jr. and Scott Voelker, with the mission of inventing, developing and bringing to market innovative products that save time or enhance people's lives in simple ways. We started this firm in February of 2015 in Miami, Florida.

Here, on this website, we introduce to you Woollywormit.com, featuring our newest patented product called the Woollywormit – an innovative wheel brush that combines a great rim cleaning brush with a convenient lug nut cleaner, all-in-one.

WHEN PEOPLE THINK YOU’RE CRAZY, THEY’RE OFTEN RIGHT – BUT WE DIDN’T CARE

WoollyWormit Original Sketch
Actual lightning fast napkin drawing of shape that launched the Woollywormit

Almost four years ago, after successful careers that spanned over the last 40 combined years between us across various businesses, we decided it was time once again to seek more interesting and more fulfilling endeavors. However, this time was different for both of us, very different. What was unique this time was that we had to take a BIG “leap of faith” and spend three years investing time, money and resources into ideas for which there was no guarantee of any future income or success.

People thought we were crazy. But, we didn't care because what we had was confidence in our ideas and a little patience.

DON’T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB, AS THEY SAY (… BUT, WE DID)

WoollyWormit Original Sketch
Original concept drawing of lug nut cleaner

Our idea was to set up a completely new business where we could develop new products from concepts that we had been thinking about for quite a while – products that can solve some everyday practical problems, or simply offer a better way of doing things.

Our intuition told us we had some really good ideas and that we just needed to find a way to bring them to market. We knew we were at Point A and we envisioned getting ultimately to Point Z. However, the challenge was determining and undertaking all the work and efforts of those many Points that occur in between - Points B, C, D, E and so on …

On a side note, the fact that you’re reading this on our Woollywormit.com site means we finally hit Point Z for this product.

MANY PEOPLE OFTEN SAY, “NOW, WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT FIRST?” AS DID WE.

How often do we all say this? “I wish I thought of that.” Or, “Why didn’t I think of that first?” Well, we did, too … and quite often. But, confident with some new ideas, we were going to let others continue to feel this way – not us anymore.

Jon at the kitchen table of a fun beachfront condo converted to a work office

THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX, OR BETTER YET – DON’T HAVE A BOX

So, a few years ago we put together ideas for various products - without talking to experts in those specific product fields. Nor did we focus on what other competitors were doing, because they were not focusing on what we wanted to do. We didn’t want to be limited in our expectations.

Instead, we focused on the problems as we saw them and wanted to find solutions from a fresh perspective. So, after lots of consideration, we concentrated our efforts on a few product ideas, drew up some crude plans and created some relatively decent prototypes – considering we were not designers, nor industrial engineers or artists. Plus, we lived in waterfront condos in Miami Beach where space is a premium – no workshops, no garages with lots of workbench space, and no real tools. We worked in our kitchens when possible and in our condo parking garages when duty called for big messes. However, probably 80% of the product ideas came about when out on the water - being on the water was the source of much of our inspiration.

Scott at kitchen table of his beachfront condo now being used for work – no more “fun in the sun” here.

Usually, after a number of iterations and lots of time, we’d come up with a “final” design. Then, we’d write it all up into a pretty comprehensive format. We’d put the concept down on paper, write out all the features and benefits, list out why we felt our ideas excel over others, etc., etc., etc.

Once all that came together, we would present all this work to our patent attorney – who then does his own research and eventually provides us an opinion as to the likelihood of patentability – or not.

As long as we don’t hear we have a low likelihood of getting granted a patent, or we don’t get a “don’t even bother” opinion, we usually then decide to move forward with the next big investment of applying for a patent. We do this with the understanding that the likelihood of getting a patent approval is very minuscule. Then, to make it even more challenging, if a patent is granted, the percentage of commercial success for most patents is also very minuscule. So, we understand going through this long, arduous, expensive and difficult process is quite a risk - not to be taken lightly.

First 3 of many hand-made kitchen-built working prototypes – all parts came from re-purposed items purchased from local hardware and household goods big-box stores.

So, at that point, we write a check (often the first of a few) and allow the attorney to do all their special magic. The patent attorney would take our concept over the next few months and translate it into a very strange (at least to us) form of technical language, and develop associated line art.

Once all the written details and artwork are finally agreed upon, the patent application file is submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office, along with some more money ….. And the long two to three year waiting period for an initial response, for rejection, or approval, finally begins.

Testing the fit and shape of first hand-made prototype on actual car rim – it actually worked

DETAIL WORK MATTERS – AND IT’S A REAL PAIN DOING IT – BUT IT HAS TO BE DONE

So, while anxiously awaiting the initial response from the patent office, which can be 18-24 months later, we’d start the process of conducting some more of our own research. A LOT. We’d source potential manufacturers and industrial designers that could take our crude prototype and artwork and convert it into actual engineering designs. We’d start our more in-depth marketing research, and more.

The slow and grueling process of taking measurements of over a thousand different rims’ lug nuts – one by one. Can there possibly be anything less exciting than this?

For the Woollywormit, the design and usability research became rather crazy and quite mind-numbing … and knee-numbing, literally. We discovered that what we originally thought would be a relatively simple wheel cleaning brush concept became what seemed to be like developing a new rocket program for NASA. And, in order for us to be able to accomplish what we wanted with the brush, it was going to be A LOT more complicated than anything we had ever expected.

Among other things, we realized that the hundreds, if not thousands of variations of wheel rims configurations, lug nut sizes, sizes of cavities surrounding the lug nuts, and complexities of rims created many challenges. And, in order for us to be able to engineer and design the Woollywormit brush to safely and effectively clean as many different rims as possible and be able to fit in the tiny lug nut cavities, etc., it meant we had to study and measure as many car rims as possible. And there are a gazillion of them on the road!

Boring Stuff – But critical! Here’s a cell phone photo of one of many reports tabulated in hot Miami parking lots of the 1000+ rims surveyed

We literally got down on our hands and knees, on the HOT pavement of Miami car sales lots, shopping center parking lots, strangers’ driveways, etc., etc., etc., to collect details and measurements of over a thousand rims. We have scraped and scarred knees, ant-bitten ankles, rain-soaked ruined spreadsheets from sudden Miami cloudbursts, sore backs, sunburnt body parts – all battle scars via collecting good data.

Here's an amusing side note about us testing out the wheel brush on other's cars. Among both of us, we had 4 cars. Therefore, that meant we had 4 different types of rims we could easily test. However, the problem is that there are thousands of variations of rims out there and we needed to know if our brush worked on most of them. So, somehow we needed to find a way to sometimes sneak around and "borrow" or test other car rims for a few moments to see if our concept even worked. Many of these "borrowed" rims came from large car sales lots with a huge variety of cars. However, some of the randomly selected cars we tested were in parking garages and shopping mall parking lots throughout Miami.  So, to any of you who noticed a strange phenomenon of getting to your car one morning and seeing just one clean rim among the four, and being really confused, now the mystery is solved. ... You were "Woollywormitted". And, we thank you for that!

Most of this front end work was very tedious and not fun, but clearly necessary. All this good data brought about a number of design changes we would not have considered had we not got down on our hands and knees and done this research work ourselves.

We understand now from many experts that this could possibly be one of the most engineered brushes on the planet.

The good news is that we feel we’ve got the vast, vast majority of the car rims covered. So, our Woollywormit wheel brush should make a lot of people very happy. 

Finally, after thousands of measurements, we get to test the actual engineered and CNC created working lug nut cleaner prototypes

SO, WHY DO WE TELL YOU ALL THIS?

After 3 years of waiting, a lot of money, and an incredible amount of detailed work – the Woollywormit product patent was granted.

Since we’ve started our business a few years ago, we cannot count the number of times friends, family, acquaintances, and even people we don’t know, have come to us with product ideas they’ve thought about at one time or another. This has been quite surprising, in a good way. However, almost all of these people felt they didn’t know what to do with their ideas – so this all remains untapped potential, maybe never to see the light of day.

We tell you this because we know a lot of you out there may have a lot of great ideas – but don’t have a clue as to how to do something with them, how to monetize the idea, or where to even start. You may not know how much money it takes to develop the idea. You probably don’t know what it takes to get a patent, or what this entails, or how long this process takes, etc., etc., etc. The unknowns are daunting and therefore any enthusiasm or interest in trying to turn an idea into an actual product typically fades away.

We’re here to tell you that if you have a great idea, do something about it. Take a risk. Do some research. Put in a little elbow grease. Talk to some experts. But, most importantly, take the first steps … You never know how far a simple idea can take you unless you try it out. We gave it a try a number of times now, we have learned quite a bit, we have a number of bruises, wasted some time and money, learned some lessons the hard way, etc. Yet, here we are … introducing you to one of our newest products, the patented Woollywormit – an innovative wheel cleaning brush that saves you time and cleans more areas of the rim than any other brush on the market.

NOW, YOU ASK: WHY WOULD ANYONE GET EXCITED ABOUT A WHEEL BRUSH?

Now that seems like a pretty reasonable question. Of all the new products to get excited about, what could possibly be exciting about a brush that cleans car rims?

Well, that’s why we want to introduce you to our most recent patented product - the Woollywormit. The Woollywormit is an all-in-one wheel brush designed specifically to clean all parts of the rims – the face, inside the rims, between and behind the spokes, in the tiny corners and crevices and more. Plus, the brush has an integrated, innovative and convenient lug nut cleaner that gently scrubs the hard-to-clean lug nuts and rim areas deep inside and surrounding the lug nuts.

Our research shows that on passenger vehicles, the surface area of the rims can be roughly 3-6% of the total surface area of the car. However, cleaning the rims can easily take 40% to 50% of the time it takes to clean the entire car. And, it’s this disproportionate amount of time that makes cleaning the rims pure drudgery. So quite often, people don’t clean their rims properly, and in many cases, they don’t clean the rims at all.

Our research shows that more than 80% of the time when we asked people who wash their cars what the worst part is, they’ll tell you it’s cleaning the rims. We personally agree with this wholeheartedly.

As car aficionados, who wash our own cars, we knew there had to be a better way to clean the rims. With that problem in need of a solution, we set out on a mission to find this better way. And that is precisely why we created the Woollywormit for all of us.

DETAILING YOUR RIMS HAS NEVER BEEN EASIER

The Woollywormit was designed to clean all the rim surface areas – inside and out – the most visible areas, as well as those parts you can’t see (… but know where the road grime hides).

And, if you are like us and hate cleaning the hard-to-reach dirt and stains inside and around the lug nuts, where old toothbrushes and Q-Tips were previously the only “tools” of choice, we’ve now got the perfect solution for that, too.

The overall length, shape, thickness, bendability, structure, touch surfaces and tip design all combined offer the most comprehensive rim cleaning machine on the market. And for cleaning the lug nuts, there’s the handy integrated lug nut cleaner to tackle that job, too. No other wheel cleaning brush offers all this - at any price.

If you prefer to clean just the visible surfaces, this brush can save you time and effort. And, if you want to be very thorough and clean inside the rims where most of the dirt actually accumulates and also negatively affects the appearance of sporty open rims, the Woollywormit makes this work possible and easy.

Many people feel the lug nut cleaner feature alone is worth the price of the product!

Now you can clean your rims like a professional detailer without the expense!

The Woollywormit … Engineered For Professionals - Designed For You

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