Smart Ideas 02/04

Got It Covered

What: A manufacturer of waterproof protectors for medical casts and IV lines
Who: David Reynolds and Marty Ceccarelli of Mar-Von LLC
Where: Phoenix
When: Started in 1999

David Reynolds, a contractor by trade, had broken his arm while remodeling a bathroom in 1998. Keeping the cast dry proved to be very difficult, and when he tried looking around for a product to help, he was unable to find anything that was both effective and affordable. That's when the light bulb went on.

After doing a patent search for such a product and finding nothing, Reynolds, 37, an inventor since childhood, designed a plastic covering with an adjustable fastening mechanism on one end to keep arm and leg casts dry. He enlisted the help of his longtime friend and fellow contractor, Marty Ceccarelli, 38, to build Mar-Von LLC and the brand.

But even with their innovative product in hand, it wasn't easy to get it on store shelves. "I just started going to the local drugstores," says Reynolds. "I had a real hard time. Most people don't want to give you the time of day."

Determined to succeed, Reynolds and Ceccarelli continued to develop the Cast Cover and sales strategies for two years, and eventually landed their product on the shelves of Albertson's/Osco Drug and 12 local Walgreens stores. The reaction from consumers spoke volumes-their product was a fast seller.

Today, the pair sells not only Cast Covers, but also the waterproof Shower Sleeve-open on both ends, they are designed for patients with IVs. Today, the products are sold via wholesalers and distributors and on their Web site (www.showersleeve.com). Reynolds, who expects $2 million in annual sales by the end of 2004, has this advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs: "I had a vision of inventing something, [but] it didn't happen overnight. Don't give up, and don't take no for an answer."

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This article was originally published in the February 2004 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Smart Ideas 02/04.

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