Lock It, Don’t Drop It With Drop Lock

Allison Startup Spotlights

Hauser Innovations was born during what was meant to be a peaceful fishing trip. But, Charles Hauser found himself unable to focus on fishing as he was distracted at the thought of losing an integral piece of the kayak, his paddle. “While casting or reeling in a fish I found my focus was more on catching my paddle over enjoying the trip and catching fish,” says Charles. 

When Charles saw the problem, he knew he couldn’t be the only one experiencing he, and he immediately began working to solve it. From there, Hauser Innovations was born.

 

The Problem Being Solved

The Drop Lock is a magnetic paddle locking system for kayaks, canoes, and paddle-boards. As Charles discovered, while in a kayak or paddle board, the paddle often falls from the vessel or is in the way because there was no way to secure it. The Drop Lock’s patent pending design solves this problem by securely holding your paddle along or across your vessel, keeping

it out of the way while also allowing for easy accessibility.  It is perfect for fishing and leisure trips or long adventures and even paddle-board yoga.  

Where the Idea Came From

As soon as Charles realized the problem on his fishing trip, he returned home, and together, he and his wife Tiffany took action. “I bought a 3D printer to create a working prototype. I also started testing, developing and working on legal protection.  I decided everyone needed to be able to use and benefit from this product and its practical use,” says Charles. Once the product and the details surrounding it were created, he launched Hauser Innovations and its website, where the Drop Lock™ can be purchased.   

Opportunities and Worries

“I see endless opportunities with my business, both with this product and as a whole,” says Charles.  “In the past 8 years, there has been over 4 million kayaks sold in the US. This product works and it is great for everyone from the hardcore enthusiast to the weekender, like myself, who enjoys getting out when they can. He also hopes to license the product to outdoor companies, which could open many doors for the product and the company.

But, he worries about how to get people to notice his product.  “How do I get people to commit to buying the product after they tell me it is so cool?  I know if they just use it they will enjoy it.”

He also has other, exciting ideas and looks forward to building Hauser Innovations around a love for the outdoors.

Target Customer

Drop Lock’s target customer  are folks of all ages who like to experience adventure, leisure, yoga, fishing, and more in and on their kayaks, canoes, and paddle-boards.  

Biggest Challenge

When Charles was ready to begin developing his product, he met his biggest challenge.  “It was easy to come up with an idea,” he says, “but how do you turn that idea into a working, usable, sellable product?  That is where I struggled the most.”   

He was able to overcome this, however, by talking to people and asking questions.  “There are a lot of different pieces to my product that require different services.  But, one person would lead me to another and another until I found someone who could help me.  The best thing is a lot of the companies are in the Lansing area or in Michigan.  A few others are throughout the U.S.  I am still meeting people who are helping me find folks in my industry and others that can help me.”

Surprises

Charles was shocked one day to realize just how big his market might truly be.

“My wife and I love to kayak and starting this business with a product focused toward kayaking and other water sports really opened our eyes to the possibilities.  While on the road heading Up North or anywhere for the matter we found ourselves making a game out of seeing people hauling kayaks on their vehicles.  We’d nonchalantly say “kayak” when we’d see one.  Well, we found ourselves saying ‘kayak, kayak, and kayak.’  We both realized that just in Michigan this is a huge industry that is growing and growing.  Times that by the east coast, Florida, Texas, and the West Coast, and we have a lot of opportunities.”

Funding

As of right now Charles has not done any fundraising for the business. “I was unaware of all the opportunities that are available. We will see what the future holds.”

The Future

“Like any company I want to be successful tomorrow, but as business owners we know that usually is not the case,” says Charles. “This business has a 2-3 year plan.  In our climate, we only have certain seasons that we can work with.  By the end of the first year of warm water sports season, I’d like to get my name out there, have some Drop Locks being used by folks and spotted by other potential customers.  By year three, I’d like to be in some Michigan stores and be working to become an international name by branching out to the coastal cities.  By year 5, I hope to be in several sporting goods stores around the nation.”  

By the time the Drop Lock is a household name, Charles hopes to add the next product to the Hauser Innovations line and continue growing.

Advice

Charles encourages other entrepreneurs to do their research.  “Ask as many questions as you can and meet as many people as you can.  You can learn so much and get so much great advice from people who have been in your shoes.”

Also, never to give up on a great idea.  “There are several hurdles that come with making an idea a reality but if you love something and have done your research, follow through with it.”

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Allison

About Allison

Allison is a writer based out of Lansing, Michigan. She loves writing great content that helps Michigan businesses tell their stories, educate their customers, and promote their brands. Her work has been featured in Capital Gains, Mason Today, Williamston Today and more. She is also helping to promote startup activity in the region at StartupLansing. Follow her @AllySpoon

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