WAUKESHA - There’s always that one switch that you forget what its for: does it turn on the light above the kitchen sink or the garbage disposal in the sink? That type of confusion resulted in Matthias Bollmus and John Schlick creating SwitchID.
It was after creating the product that the business partners soon learned the variety of applications the labels could have for different groups of people, such as those with memory loss due to a brain injury or a child with autism.
Since 2009, Bollmus and Schlick have been working together through their company Napkin Innovations to generate ideas and to file for patent applications.
The goal, Bollmus said, was to “find the product where everyone goes ‘duh, why didn’t we think of that.’”
It was also important for the demand to already exist for the product, instead of having to educate consumers on why they need it.
In the summer of 2014, the men developed the idea of labels for lights, which will be made at Tailored Label Products in Menomonee Falls and orders will be fulfilled by Easter Seals in Waukesha.
Bollmus, a Waukesha resident, said he and Schlick, a Menomonee Falls resident, are proud that their SwitchID labels were invented and designed in the United States and are now being made here.
To help launch the product, Bollmus and Schlick created a Kickstarter campaign to raise $5,000. With a little less than two weeks to go, the men are about $1,800 short of their goal. If the campaign is successful, the money will be used to cover the cost of manufacturing the SwitchID rewards and the first batch of SwitchID inventory and a portion of the raised funds will be used to build a state-of-the-art SwitchID website. Money may also go to marketing and cover additional legal costs. For different levels that people pledge, a reward is offered.
While discussing their product with possible customers, Bollmus said ,he and Schlick have learned about many ways it can benefit others, such as people who have brain injuries with memory loss for whom it’s important to avoid negative trigger points.
“You want to help them gain confidence,” he said.
A mother told Bollmus that she uses pictures to identify the contents of drawers for her autistic son so he can have confidence and be more independent.
SwitchID is also a tool for many business people, such as real estate agents who can give them as a gift to a homeowner or apply them in a home that is for sale for easier identification.
Bollmus humorously also described the labels as “the marriage saver.”
SwitchID labels are exceptionally durable, scratch-resistant and not easily removed, although they can be with the use of a butter knife. The adhesive is automotive grade and the image is fade resistant. The labels are available in white, ivory, almond and glow-in-the dark colors.
The cost for labels is $12 per sheet. Each sheet has 24 labels. Sheets also have a theme: outdoor, garage and basement; bed and bath; and living room and kitchen. They also have different images, either 2D or 3D.
In the beginning, SwitchID will just be available online, but Bollmus hopes to someday have the labels available in stores such as Walgreens and Home Depot.
“The consumer really understands how to use it a lot more than we could,” Bollmus said of SwitchID’s many applications.
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