Ever had what you thought was a brilliant idea? Ever spent a whole lot of time talking about it but not actually DOING anything about it? Ever spent so much time waiting for some sort of divine intervention that someone else bypassed you with the same idea because it was too good NOT to do? No? Well, I have. I called it a “Coffee Cuff”, which was an unclaimed name at the time. Aaaahhhh, the coffee cuff. So simple…so smart.

My husband actually came up with the idea back in 2001 on a long drive to the family cottage. “Why are coffee sleeves only intended for a single use and why can’t there be a non-disposable version?” This begat a cloth version in my mind which begat a beaded funky version (also in my mind) that people could wear as accessories. Distribution channels, market research, packaging, logos, pricing, marketing all became quite clear and crystallized (again, in my mind).

One problem…I know not thing one about sewing or beading. We bought a $300 sewing machine. I threw a piece of hemp at the machine, but low and behold, it simply wouldn’t make itself.

In the interim, I talked about the idea with anyone who would listen: Who knew what about patents? What were the market trends for coffee? How much would you be willing to pay for a coffee cuff? How would you distribute this? Who do we know at Starbucks HQ?

And still, no prototype. And then I got bored of talking about it…and the idea just kind of died away.

SHOULD you find yourself in the position of having a great idea that you want to get off the ground, you now have the luxury of living in the age of “micromanufacturing”. Create your design, upload it to a site like Ponoko, tell them what material you’d like it created in and they’ll produce it (to 1,000th-of-an-inch precision). You can then set up a store and sell it with Ponoko even taking care of credit-card billing and shipping.

Go ahead…check out “Coffee Coat”. I’m not bitter, really!

No need to cry in your latte for me. I’m wise enough to know that if I'm not moved to fight for something, there is an excellent chance it wasn’t really worth fighting for…likely because it wasn’t in sync with my values. My life purpose is less about innovative creations and more about helping people make powerful and transformative changes in their lives.

I’m right where I need to be right now.

But…if YOU are moved to innovate but lack the means to create…strike that off the list of why it can’t be done. It may not be divine intervention, but it is a kick in the butt.

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