Half A Million Dollars With Inflatable Chairs.
During the 2002 World Series in San Francisco, Lori Elder was watching her hometown Giants battle the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and was amazed at the number of people floating in the bay just outside AT&T Park. "I looked at my friend and said, 'The thing to sit on would bу a big inflatable baseball glove,'" says Elder, 43.
Elder called Major League Baseball a few days after the series to see if she could find such a product with the Giants logo on it, but no such prod-uct existed. So with almost $50,000 that she gathered from friends and her own savings, Elder started searching for a manufacturer who could help her with a design. "I was basically sketching my own baseball glove," says Elder, who has a background in art. She also applied for a license from the League in hopes of offering an official product with team logos.
Eight months later, in 2003, she had the license along with her final proto-type. The result was an inflatable chair in the shape of a baseball glove, constructed of heavy PVC, with three separate air chambers and, of course, cup holders. The chairs come in two sizes and are suitable for indoor use as well as on water.
Manufacturing problems set her back a year, but Elder was finally able to begin offering her product in January 2005. The chairs are available on www.leftfieldenterprises.com and www.mlb.com, and with the recent addition of baseball-shaped chairs, Elder expects 2006 sales of $500,000.
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