Howdy! First things first, my name is Jason. I'm going to tell this story as quickly as possible, so hang in there :) It all started with soul... Seoul, South Korea that is. While riding a subway, and then a bus, and then another bus... I started seeing signs. People were wearing surgical masks on their faces and some people had latex gloves on. There were signs with cartoon germs and Korean words. I couldn't read them, but I knew what they were saying: "Beware of Germs".
As I shared the warm air of a small subway car with at least 100 other people standing shoulder-to-shoulder, I looked up at my hand grasping the slick plastic handle. I wondered how many people had touched that handle since it had been washed. Then I wished I had a tissue or some sort of barrier to use. And that's when I thought of the Gryp. A reusable tissue, made of something durable that I could bring with me every day and wash easily. The gears started turning.
Later that year I moved to Las Vegas. Sin City is one of the dirtiest places in the world, and it reminded me of the idea I had in Korea. So I went out and bought an X-acto knife and some colorful plastic cutting boards. I cut the original design out of thin green plastic and called it the Pynch, for "when you're in a pinch". It was much bigger and included a thumb holder. I thought I was finished, but I was still a few years away from the current design.
I thought the Pynch was perfect, but after a bunch of tests I found out that the plastic was too slippery. Also, the bulky design didn't fit in a pocket very well. I tried to integrate magnets so it could clip onto a back pocket, but it wasn't working. It was cumbersome and awkward when it wasn't being used.
Hallelujah! Then one day I received a silicone oven mitt. "I'm pretty sure it's anti-bacterial" an acquaintance said. After some research, my suspicions were confirmed. For months I bought every silicone thing I could find. Then I started slicing up my brand new oven gloves and placemats, turning them into prototypes.
After I made a (much grippier) silicone version of the Pynch prototype, I realized that I didn't need the thumb holder anymore. I could operate handles, levers, locks and even circular door knobs with just two fingers wrapped in silicone. So I refined my design and made the first Gryp. I felt a little disappointed because the clever "Pynch" name no longer worked without the thumb sleeve. When I worked a mini Pynch concept into the new Gryp design, I named it after the original design.
For the initial Gryp prototypes, I hand sewed each one and punched a grommet through for the keyring hole. They were really hard to sew, but after a bunch of pricked fingers I started to get the hang of it. After testing them out, I gave some out to the neighbors in my apartment complex. Then I passed them out to friends, family and coworkers. They loved them, but also broke them one by one. The sewing would start to unravel and the grommets all fell out. They looked awful after just a few months of use. So, I got back to the drawing board.
After a bunch more prototyping and testing, I developed the single-tab closure design. It allowed me to create an ambidextrous one-size-fits-all design that could be configured for multiple uses. Just fold the tab and insert it into the oval.
When I wanted to start mass producing, I needed to create a CAD file. So I met with a bunch of industrial designers and got estimates for 3D files to be created. In the end, I met an independent contractor from India that was living in San Diego. He completed all of the required files for about 1/10 of the average estimate I received from larger firms. Hooray for Craigslist!
Once I had the technical drawing and 3D files, I reached out to a bunch of different silicone manufacturers. After narrowing them down to just a few, I crossed my fingers and had the first batch of Gryps produced.
After 3 long years of hard work, I was finally able to start selling my invention online. I've sold Gryps to over 46 countries and all 50 United States, working endlessly to distribute our device to the farthest corners of the world.
Thanks for reading, I'll be sure to keep you updated on my progress.
Feel free to email me at email@example.com
Thank you Rona for the inspiration ❤️