LOGAN SQUARE — Are you sick and tired of finding beard clippings all over the bathroom sink that seem to avoid the drain at all costs?
A Logan Square-based inventor had that same problem and decided to do something about it by inventing the Beard Mat.
"I've always sort of been one of those kids who was always tinkering around with stuff in my dad's workshop and making little toys and things," said 34-year-old Adam Raby.
In his product's short life, he has already sold about 15,000 Beard Mats and has plans to expand quickly.
Matt Bubala talks to Adam Raby about bringing his inventions to market.
The idea is simple: Attach the mat to a mirror above the sink with two suction cups and drape the mat across the sink to collect all the trimmings.
"I’m married, my wife and I share a smallish bathroom and neither of us are really neat freaks, but I was trimming my beard one day and some trimmings got in my tooth brush and I went to brush my teeth and basically it was really unpleasant," he said. "No matter how much I cleaned I could never seem to get it off of everything."
So far the mats are carried by about 20 retailers, according to Raby, and cost $15 each.
The trouble he is facing is keeping up with demand.
The prototype was created in the summer of 2014 and hit the market later that year.
This isn't Raby's first rodeo in the invention world, although the projects are more of a hobby than a career for him.
Other inventions include the CushPad, an iPad case that is essentially a pillow for the tablet, and a line of branded ping pong balls.
The CushPad was made possible by a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2012 that raised more than $10,000.
Raby, who works as a senior systems engineer and cloud computing consultant, said he works on the inventions in his free time at home as a hobby.
"Some people watch TV or have their shows, but when I get down time I sit around, sketch and mess around in my garage," he said. "I do it because I can't help myself."
Raby's other invention, a custom ping pong ball company launched 10 years ago right after he graduated from school during the peak of the beer pong era.
He estimated they sold more than 1 million custom balls with full color high-res prints, selling them to clients all over the world.
The company is actually having a resurgence along with actual ping pong.
"Beer pong was in its height of popularity and now table tennis is having a huge peak of popularity," Raby said.
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