Woman’s padded carrying apparatus takes the hassle out of schlepping big loads
Kimberley Meckwood’s journey through breast cancer “gave me the faith and determination to quit my stable job and attempt to bring my product to market.”
BY EDITH G. TOLCHIN
How often have you finished grocery shopping and fumbled for your keys while holding several heavy bags? Or perhaps the kids are tired and want to get in the house after shopping, but you can’t unload the parcels and car seats at the same time?
Click & Carry®, a unique bag handle/carrying apparatus invented by Kimberley Meckwood of Los Angeles, is a creative solution to these and many similar dilemmas. Held in one hand or over your shoulder while you shuffle the kids, pets or groceries, Click & Carry lets you carry up to 80 lbs. of bags, paint cans and the like, with padded comfort. Even “Shark Tank” is a fan!
Edith G. Tolchin (EGT): Is your background related to inventing the Click & Carry?
Kimberly Meckwood (KM): I hail from a background of medical device and pharmaceutical sales. I worked for Medtronic, ACADIA Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Schwarz Pharma and Wyeth-Ayerst Pharmaceuticals.
I had a life-altering experience when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. The journey through cancer gave me the faith and determination to quit my stable job and attempt to bring my product to market. I have been on “Shark Tank” (12/11/20), “Food Fortunes,” “The Bethenny Frankel Show,” and I am a frequent guest on QVC in segments such as “In the Kitchen with David” and “Down Home with David.”
My background is not related to Click & Carry, although a breakup with my boyfriend inspired it. I no longer had help bringing in the groceries, and I knew that I had to come up with an easier way to schlep in all my purchases. I live in a condo, so to get to my front door is like competing in an obstacle course.
EGT: How did you arrive at a perfect prototype?
KM: I worked with a student at the Pasadena Design School. I didn’t have a lot of money when I was making my prototypes, so I paid the student $40 an hour and she had access to a 3D CAD printer at the school. Each prototype was $175, and I went through nine iterations before coming upon the winner.
EGT: Was it difficult to get on “Shark Tank”? Did you get a deal?
KM: My day on “Shark Tank” was both the most exciting and scariest day of my whole life. I had prepared for about two months. I had a list of questions and answers that I committed to memory, and I worked on my pitch with two amazing producers each week until the episode was taped.
It is very difficult to get on the show. In fact, I auditioned seven times before finally making it to air. I believe approximately 40,000 people apply to be on the show each year and only 150 are selected to film. Of the 150 participants who film, only about 120 make it to air.
I was lucky to be offered a deal with Barbara Corcoran and Mark Cuban. Here’s the link on YouTube: youtube.com/watch?v=oib-GGDzrjs.
EGT: Where are you manufacturing? Has that been difficult?
KM: I am currently manufacturing in China. I hope to move manufacturing to the United States one day, but I can’t afford to do so at this time.
EGT: Had you tried crowdfunding before “Shark Tank?”
KM: No, I bootstrapped my business. I think crowdfunding provides an incredible platform for exposure. Looking back, it would have been a great way to get Click & Carry to the market more quickly.
EGT: How did you go about patenting Click & Carry?
KM: I hired an incredible patent attorney, Jason Far-hadian. I knew it was very important to protect my product properly.
The first utility patent took almost three years for approval. The second, which is a slight modification, was approved about a year later. I also have a trademark for Click & Carry.
EGT: Where are you selling? Website, retail, Amazon?
KM: Click & Carry is available on our website, on Amazon.com and at QVC.com. It will be on Lowes.com and Walmart.com soon!
EGT: What problems or glitches have there been?
KM: Oh, boy, the list is endless. The first that comes to mind is that the first and second productions of C&C were not ideal.
The product was so well made that it was difficult to open and close the Click & Carry, which made it difficult for people with dexterity issues. I needed to reengineer the product. The good news is that the process allowed me to use less material in the creation of C&C, and the weight went from 5 oz. to 3.2 oz. The cost decreased by $0.81 per unit as a result of the changes.
EGT: Are you planning any new products soon?
KM: Yes, I am launching my newest product this year. I can’t give away too many details, but I can say it is an attachment for the Click & Carry that will help make the lives of surfers, skiers and construction workers a little bit easier! I’ll be announcing it in my newsletter. You can sign up for the Click & Carry newsletter on my website.
EGT: What advice do you have for inventors starting to develop a new product?
KM: I think it’s smart to ask for help or to find a mentor. I have been helped by so many brilliant mentors along the way, including Rick Tell, Mark Friedman, Albert Napoli, Don Loewel, Salvatrice Cuomo, Scott Herring, Patrick Stacy and Tyson Jacobson.
I recommend utilizing the free services of both the SBA (Small Business Administration) and SCORE. You would be amazed by the quality of mentors at both organizations.
Details: clickandcarry.com; [email protected]; (855) 871-7052.