Who is your Bag Daddy?

John Rumery

Although claims are not made that raking leaves will be fun, thanks to The Bag Daddy, it certainly should be a lot easier.

The Bag Daddy is essentially a funnel that is placed over a city lawn bag that makes filling the bag with yard waste much faster and easier.  The patented product made out of biodegradable material is designed to fold up for convenient storage at the end of the season.

Inventor Mike Kolarik, 63, of Grand Rapids, says it will now be much more convenient to buy The Bag Daddy, thanks to a first-time order from Meijer for 159 cases.  

Although many inventors might have labeled this a success, Kolarik, after years of ups and downs to get The Bag Daddy to market, is bit more cautious.

"I'll let the customers decide if it's a success," he says.

Like every invention, there is a back story.  In the case of The Bag Daddy, Kolarik's first invention, the moment of inspiration came several years ago after trying to empty his leaf mulcher into a city yard bag.  Becoming frustrated after the bag would collapse or leaves would spill out, he used an empty box to create his first prototype and began a journey that included a 2-year process to secure a patent, a costly misstep with local firm that promised much but delivered nothing, and his first order by a West Michigan distributor to supply several area hardware stores.

Looking back on the entire process Kolarik, a retired Steelcase engineer, has several business lessons he would share with other inventors.   As an engineer and a co-inventor on a couple of corporate patents, he has an understanding of how complicated the process can be, so he highly recommends working with a good patent attorney. 

Kolarik also is an advocate for the Grand Rapids Inventors Network (GRIN). 

"I had a great experience with GRIN," he states.  "Positive people, a positive organization, and great information." 

He feels strongly that the shared experiences of members of this network help inventors "avoid many pitfalls."

"I might have dropped the project without the support of GRIN," Kolarik states.

 The Bag Daddy is manufactured by WhoDaThought, LLC, a company he formed with his wife, Martha.  Although no other products are in the pipeline, Kolarik "has many ideas, but will wait and see what happens with The Bag Daddy" before he develops anything else.

Source: Interview with Mike Kolarik and http://thebagdaddyonline.com/

John Rumery is the Innovation and Jobs Editor for Rapid Growth Media. He is an educator, board member of AimWest, WYCE music programmer, entrepreneur, raconteur and competitive barbecuer living in Grand Rapids, MI.  He can be reached at [email protected]

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