Branding Photos for FlexĒSoft – Mesa, AZ

I recently had the delightful opportunity to photograph an amazing client, the creative mind behind Red Heeler Group LLC and the inventor of FlexĒSoft. Her story is a vivid journey from tinkering in her garage to revolutionizing how we handle our technology. From her childhood experiments with makeshift gadgets to the creation of a patented product that changes our daily interactions with our devices, her path is a testament to both creativity and grit.

Let’s dive into the interview where she opens up about her entrepreneurial rollercoaster with FlexĒSoft. Join us to discover how a spark of an idea blossomed into an innovation that’s making waves, all captured beautifully in our photography session.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? What inspired you to start your business? How did you come up with the idea for your business? 

“My entire life, starting when I was in grade school, I would always be thinking of ways to make household items and tools work better. Sometimes I would ‘Rube Goldberg’ things in the basement and garage to improve them. I excelled in science and often tweaked lab tools in high school in order to make the work easier (like a better way to position a test tube).

After undergraduate and graduate degrees, working in hospitals as a registered dietitian, I was selected as a Presidential Management Fellow. I worked for Congress on Capitol Hill, was a budget analyst at the Office of Management and Budget, and then spent 12 years at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, writing federal health regulations and training state hospital surveyors.

During those careers, as my husband and I raised our family, I was still tinkering and thinking of new products and ways to make existing products better. It would sometimes keep me up at night! Going to Lowe’s or Home Depot was always an exciting time, since I would enjoy lingering in the tool and hardware aisles. I also learned basic electrical skills so I could install dimmers, light timers, and switches in our house.

When the Worldwide Web made its fledgling debut, I decided to install a modem into my new 1990 computer—to be able to log into Family Handyman Magazine.

I immediately got hooked on all things Internet, learned coding, and became a web designer.

But I was still pondering ideas in real life.

Fast-forward to the present: One thing I noticed, and which kept bothering me, was how people used the new ubiquitous cell phones without a way to secure them in their hands. Loops, rings, and PopSockets only solved part of the problem. What I envisioned was a netting, like a glove, which fit securely over the phone and its case. After years of keeping this idea in my notes, I decided to go for it: begin the patent process and make it a reality.”

Can you share an interesting or funny story from your journey of starting and running your business? 

Yes! In order to ensure that my invention would definitely fit over cell phones and cases by manufacturers in addition to Apple, I went into Verizon and AT&T stores, looking very official. I was eyed suspiciously by a few salespeople as I clicked demo phones into cases and slipped the FlexĒSoft over them, but only a few asked me what I was doing. I said – this is a new patent and I am in charge of making certain it is a proper fit. No one kicked me out or anything, but there was this one guy who then kept giving me the stink eye haha.”

What has been the most rewarding part of your entrepreneurial journey so far? 

Making all of this happen! Watching an idea which had been percolating for a long time in my head come to life, via my patent attorney, patent agent, Upwork, and 3D printing and engineering consultants. Working with a wonderful prototype manufacturer. Learning new skills, becoming more competent in technical drawing. Holding and using my own invention. Now doing the research and work for another important step: seamlessly introducing it to the world via Shopify and social channels.”

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs? 

If they want/need a patent, I would tell them to use a reputable law firm with an intellectual property division. You don’t want to waste your money on any patent or “idea” companies you find in a Google search. Be aware that obtaining a patent is very time-consuming, will take years, and will cost you a lot of money. Be prepared and ready. Do your homework. Be realistic. My patent journey began in 2019, for example.

Do a beta test of your product. I sent out 100 samples and had the users fill out a survey via a QR code.

Be thorough and patient. There will be setbacks. If you need to manufacture a prototype, the first one won’t work. I needed 5.

Be confident you will eventually find that company, make that product, make that money. If you can envision it, you can find a way to do it. There are experts out there, like at companies and universities who are willing to help you.”

How did you feel before and after your photography session? 

Beforehand I was thinking – I hope I will look good in my pictures.

During my session I felt very confident and glamorous! You are an amazing professional and made me feel so comfortable. Augusta did my hair and makeup to perfection. Our session was so much fun!”

How would you describe your overall experience with Gabby Canario Portraits? 

Fabulous and top-notch! Worth every penny. The morning flew by and we had so much fun. Gabby is a true professional and an artist. She knows how to position you to look wonderful on camera.”

If someone you know is thinking about booking Gabby Canario Portraits, what would you tell them? 

Make your appointment now! Gabby and her crew are amazing. I highly recommend her! I will be using her again for my next photoshoot.”

And there you have it—a peek into the life of an entrepreneur through the lens of a camera! Feeling inspired or curious about how you could shine in your own photos? Why not get in touch? Let’s design a session just for you, personalizing every detail to reflect your unique style, and craft images you’ll treasure forever. Reach out to me at Gabby Canario Portraits, and let’s create some magic together!

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