Will Scott recently returned from a whirlwind tour of five cities in China over nine days.
The Bonita Springs entrepreneur was there to sell better-designed boxes and fasteners that are more ergonomic and stronger than traditional cardboard boxes.
Scott says he's not worried about Chinese companies stealing his idea because he's selling them the inventions. “We're selling the rights to these companies so we don't have to police them,” he says.
Instead, Chinese companies that pay Scott for his technology will keep their own copycats at bay. “They're the police,” Scott explains.
Scott is managing partner of Marbles, an industrial-design firm he moved from Cincinnati to Bonita Springs in 2013. The name of his company is a playful reference to the expression to “bet all the marbles.”
Scott knows all about boxes. He built a records-management firm called Fortress that stored documents in a Cincinnati warehouse using hundreds of thousands of boxes. Every year, 7% of those boxes ripped, and it cost $7 to replace each one. After selling Fortress in 2010, the entrepreneurial Scott got the idea to create a better cardboard box.
The boxes Scott and his team designed have ergonomically designed handles placed closer to the top of the box, minimizing strain and the risk of the box ripping apart. In addition, Scott's firm invented easy-to-use locks that can replace the traditional plastic ties to secure the boxes through a specially designed hole near the top.
“The fasteners are becoming a huge hit,” says Scott. “They're pre-selling like crazy for large accounts.”
The fasteners are so secure that they comply with new laws that govern privacy. This is important for lawyers, hospital administrators and others who need to follow those measures for liability reasons. “This is big news for us that there's a compliant fastener that can be used for cardboard boxes,” Scott says.
Besides boxes and ties, Marbles has designed a line of cardboard storage containers called Boxa. And the company is also working on improving the designs of common but poorly designed tools such as brooms and shovels.
Scott isn't interested in manufacturing the items he designs. “The model here works because the sales are done through licensees,” Scott says. “We stick to the bread and butter of what we know.”
Scott says he split the company into four divisions to give each room to grow. “We have some very significant things that are in the pipeline here,” he says, promising some announcements in the months ahead.
Indeed, the need for boxes and ties that are sturdier and safer is global. “One of them involves China on an extremely large scale,” Scott hints.
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