“I love to tinker, but all the tinkering in the world isn’t useful unless it starts with a good idea.”
“So, look around for a need and start to come up with ideas to fill that need. One idea will lead to another and before you know it, you’ve got it! See a need! Fill a need!”
Those words, spoken by Mr Bigweld (Mel Brooks) in the animated feature film “Robots”, inspire young inventor Rodney Copperbottom (Ewan McGregor) to pack up his inventions in his suitcase and head for the Big City to seek fame and fortune.
But the concept, “See a need, fill a need” has a much longer pedigree than the 2005 Blue Sky Studios creation would suggest. It has inspired men of vision from the dawn of time and has given us everything from the wheel to electric toasters. Every day and in every land, someone, somewhere is looking around to find a need and then coming up with ideas to fill that need. And before we know, we’ve got it! Where would we be today without the internet, mobile phones and happy meals.
For hundreds of years men have seen the need to protect our precious eyes form the blinding glare of the sun. The ancient Innuit from the snowy wastelands in north America crafted snow visors out of walrus teeth of caribou bones.
They knew nothing of UV radiation but they did know that the harsh glare of the sun on the snow and ice can render one blind. Blindness, whether only temporary or not is not a happy prospect for people who rely on their eyesight to help them navigate I and hunt in such an unforgiving environment.
Succeeding generations of men, from all over the world and seen the same need and have striven to fill that need with varying levels of success. But it was only at the beginning of the 20th century, when new materials and the machinery necessary for mass production were developed, that the sunglasses we know and love today, became widely available for all.
You might have thought that after more than a hundred years of innovation and refinement, the market for new sunglasses would have limited potential for growth. But you would be wrong.
Ben Saperia, an Englishman from Leeds in the UK, arrived in the US with little experience in the field of sunglasses simply because he only had one pair and rarely needed to lose them. After settling in Florida, he quickly realized they were an essential item for everyday life and so began to acquire more pairs for his own personal use. However, he also soon recognized that, while sunglasses were easily available, they were also just as easily broken or lost.
He soon saw the need to produce high-quality, great-looking pairs of sunglasses that were affordable and durable. This led him to starting up an online retail company called Faded Days. His sunglasses proved to be very popular with his customers.
Ben says, “The positivity and feedback we get from our customers is truly amazing, and it’s often so “inline” with why I opened a sunglasses company to begin with. I think because Faded Days was started to fulfill a genuine personal need, it makes our success so much more rewarding.”
It wasn’t long before Ben saw another need. People with large heads were struggling to find attractive and comfortable sunglasses because the major manufacturers were stopping at a certain size. Ben took came up with an idea to fill this need.
Ben goes on, “Going forward, a large part of our focus will be on providing the “wide head sunglasses”, underserved market, with the best fitting, most attractive sunglasses for big heads. The goal is to have a really solid selection of great looking sunglasses for all of our customers, no matter their head size.”
So, did Rodney Copperbottom find the fame and fortune in the Big City that he so desperately desired? Yes, he did. Is this the end of Ben Saperia’s “tinkering” in the world of sunglasses. Somehow, I think not!