Tell me about your product, Hyjax Power.
It’s basically a mobile device charger. It connects to any battery between 8 volt and 24 volts. That’s a golf cart, boat or ATV, all the way up to a Caterpillar. There seems to be a ton of vehicles that don’t have USB power in that range. It will charge iPhone, Android, anything. It has regular speed and high-speed adaptors, basically two ports so you can charge two things.
How did you come up with the idea?
Three years ago, I had a situation where I was working on the golf course a lot. I had clients out there, but I still needed to connect with my cellphone. About that same time, power blocks were coming out and I was thinking, “This is all going to replace this.” About a year later, we all owned some, but they are never charged, they are never accessible, they never work when we need them. I got re-energized.
How did you create the first model?
I bought some stuff from O’Reilly [Auto Parts] and literally stuck it all together with duct tape. It was very ugly and what I thought [was] dangerous at the time. I didn’t trust it with my phone, because I thought it might blow it up, so took an old iPod and plugged it in. I heard the charging sound and thought, “Oh, this is glorious.” It made it feel like I could be out there on the golf course and not feel guilty that I wasn’t answering my email.
When did you start producing Hyjax?
I got my first shipment Jan. 12. The “O’Reilly” prototype was about two years ago. I made several for friends, but wasn’t thinking of manufacturing it. Then more people kept asking for them, so I kept making them. About two years in, I thought, “I’m going to give this a shot.” The prototype from China came back prettier than I had it, but it still needed some polishing.
How does it go from garage product to manufacturing?
Over the last year, we started putting it together. I certainly tried to find a location to make this in the United States, and we just don’t have one or one that I could find at least, so I turned to China. We went back and forth with different prototypes and safety things.
What does it cost to manufacture?
My contact is Steve Wang in China. It was a little unnerving at one point. Here is this guy who does this for a living, but I had to wire him $15,000. He is a manufacturer’s proxy. You are entrusting this person to work with the factories in mainland China. Over a year, I got to know him pretty well. I would stay up until 10 or 11 at night chatting via email, because that’s his morning. Then I would sleep and get up about 4 a.m. and continue to talk at the end of his day. There is a lot of trust there.
Where will it be sold?
It’s on Amazon currently and on our website. We launched it (Jan. 26) on Amazon and sold two the first day. We thought, “Oh my gosh, this is going to be crazy.” But, we’ve only sold one since. So, you never know. We’ve had some suggestions from marketers and met with Cabela’s and O’Reilly buyers. They like it and would want to carry it, but want me to put something on the front of the package that symbolizes a golf cart, just marketing stuff. It sells for $40, and the lead time to get a shipment from China is four weeks.
What’s your next project?
It blocks HVAC vents. If you have rooms in your house you don’t want to heat or cool, this is a device you can put in very easily that seals the vent up. It’s removable. I actually get the foam samples (Jan. 30).
Tyson Petty is the creator of Hyjax Power. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.