by Nancy Stockton
So far, the swim diaper existed only as an image in my mind. Figuring out how to make one seemed like a logical first step. I am not an engineer or artist of any sort. Rather, I am an accountant. I spent most of my accounting career implementing financial software. I know nothing about molding or plastics, but I have a friend whom I thought could help. I love having friends! He majored in political science, so his nickname is Senator, but he’s been selling polymers his entire career. He’s the only person I know who stayed with his first employer forever. He has still had just one job interview, which is a good thing, because the first one was an adventure; but that is an entirely different story.
Unfortunately, the Senator was no help. Apparently, he doesn’t work with the kind of polymer I need. How many could there be? As it turns out, there might be an infinite number of combinations and mutations of materials that are classified as polymers. So, I hit the internet and as all good accountants do, I started a spreadsheet. I researched materials and manufactures and watched tons of YouTube videos of stuff being made using different molding processes. Eventually, I started calling molders. Most turned me down outright, some referred me somewhere else, and a few asked for a drawing or prototype. None in the last group responded to my drawing (shown below), despite their comment that it didn’t have to be professional.
(Insert picture here)
Really, no response to this artwork? I even invested in colored pencils.
During my internet searches I stumbled upon a company in Denver that offered free molding classes. How fun is that? The typical customer is creating masks for theater productions or molding decorative objects. Two hours of class time and fifty dollars of supplies later, (I think they make good money on those free classes – good for them), I was ready to begin creating my first prototype. Perhaps I would get better responses from manufacturers if I could send a prototype.
Gem of Wisdom: Have fun playing with lots of ideas before you take them (and yourself) too seriously.