I never planned on becoming an inventor. But as they say, “necessity is the mother of invention“. The idea for swiggies came about as I was running through the countryside of Texas in the sweltering heat of summer. I thought I drank enough water before leaving home and didn’t carry any with me. I was running with my music and keys, and wasn’t able to carry a water bottle. I wanted a hands-free water bottle, but nothing existed at the time.
I ended up passing out from dehydration and was lucky that a passerby saw me and got me to the hospital. I never realized how dangerous dehydration could be. Since there wasn’t a product I needed on the market, I decided I would have to invent one, even though I had no idea what I was doing or where to start.
The most obvious place to put a water bottle where a runner could easily access it was on the wrist. I went out and got some clay and started making a simple prototype. Then I took that prototype to a mold maker and had a mold made. I was very lucky that the first version worked great.
With two wrist water bottles that held 11 ounces of water total, it was perfect for a short run or walk of less than an hour. And I also realized you could freeze them in the summer to lower your body heat.
Now that I had a product that worked, I took it around to some people I knew in the infomercial business. Long story short, we ended up making a deal with a fitness products company, but before we actually signed the contract, they went bankrupt. So it was back to square one.
I eventually decided to manufacture it myself and find my own distributors and reps.
swiggies is now sold in 25 countries and was a NASDAQ product of the year semi finalist. They won the Toyman award for innovation and quality as voted on by the consumer and was a product of the year winner in Creative Child magazine.
swiggies has appeared on The Today Show, The Queen Latifa Show, Lifetime, HGTV, ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX News, along with numerous magazines, TV shows, newspapers, and radio shows around the world.
I now train Fortune 500 executives and small business owners in innovation and inventing. My learning curve was huge, and I want to keep others from having to spend the time and money I spent learning the hard way.
Julie Austin obtained a coveted trade dress for a contoured bottle design that fits on the wrist. It’s almost 100% uncontestable in court. Very few independent inventors have been able to secure this IP, which lasts longer than a patent – for as long as it is in use.