Tumi and Sadie’s story is unique; this recently engaged couple faced the grueling pressure of the 48-hour Make48 challenge together as Marquee Product Design, and believe it ultimately brought them even closer. Tumi was and still is a product manager for a healthcare company, and Sadie is a nurse who is finishing grad school.
The team first became interested in Make48 because of Tumi’s long-term goal of becoming a full-time inventor, “long-term, I want to be an independent inventor full-time. When I saw this competition, it seemed like the best chance at seeing what it’s like to invent full-time. My fiancée has always had great ideas so it seemed like a perfect opportunity” In fact, Tumi told us that “outside of getting engaged, it was the best time of my life!!! IT was an absolutely amazing experience and I got to share it with the woman I loved.”
The first thing teams have to determine when the 48-hour countdown begins is what they are creating, they have to come up with an original idea never before patented or designed, “We had some challenges coming up with the idea on the first day. We brainstormed a few things and started vetting them with the tech team on feasibility. At this time, we also ran some patent and google searches to confirm the idea was novel. We got down to 2 ideas, and our patent meeting later in the night was the deciding factor to go with one of the ideas vs. the other.”
As the competition moved along, with an idea in mind, the team moved on to creating a prototype. Here, they ran into a few technical issues with 3D printing their design, “We had a simple product that was a one piece 3-D printed part. On the first night, the machine failed and only printed out half the part. But on the day before the pitch, Travis Putman [one of the Make48 tool techs] restarted the machines and got us our prototype before we started shooting videos” Phew! “I think the mentors and tool techs are very necessary for this program to work. If the goal is to take this idea that was developed in 48 hours and potentially commercialize it, having experts there to help refine it is critical. And speaking of the tool techs, they are especially essential for teams like mine how do not have the expertise to do CAD or develop clean prototypes” Ultimately, seeing their prototype printed was one of the things this team pin-pointed as an event highlight. Another thing? ” Seeing our logo and sell sheet for the first time (almost hugged the student designer!)”
During the next step of the competition, teams shoot product videos to promote their products, “our outtakes were hilarious,” recalls Tumi. With only a few hours left on the clock, the team moved on to an extremely crucial part: the product to the judges. “We planned out so much time to practice, but based on how much stuff we were hurrying to do, we did not get to practice once. And leading up to the actual pitch, we were actually arguing backstage about our demo we were going to do (like everything in my life, Sadie was right and the demo part of the presentation got a lot of “ooh”s and “ahh”s). The presentation went very well, and we just had chemistry on stage, we just flowed. We knew where to position ourselves, inserted a few jokes, and really spoke to the product and the value proposition of our solution vs. the competition. While nervous leading up to it, we’ve never felt more relief than finally pitching our product.” The pressure of the 48-hour clock leading up to this point can be intense for some contestants, but this team found the deadline very helpful. “It was nerve-racking but definitely helpful. You’d be amazed at how much you can get done with a deadline vs. no deadline!”
After all is said and done, this team looks forward to applying for the next Make48 event “the next competition is a month before our wedding so the timing works out perfectly”. The Marquee Product Design team told us they really want to encourage others to apply ,”It was one of the most rewarding experiences of both of our lives and it is a once in a lifetime experience. 48 hours could change your life forever”. Tumi is also excited for what the TV show will bring to aspiring inventors like himself, “the TV show will be amazing for aspiring inventors as well as everyday people. You’ll certainly learn a ton about what it takes to develop a product idea and your see a very diverse crew of characters pursing their dreams.”
This soon-to-be-married couple ultimately considers that Make48 brought them even closer together. “I met Sadie in Las Vegas on trip with my friends. After meeting, we dated for 3 years long distance before getting engaged (Wedding Oct. 28). Competing together was the hardest thing we’ve done together up to that point but it was rewarding once it was all over. We definitely bonded over this experience (a lot of laughing and not a lot of napping but we definitely grew closer as a couple) Tumi jokes, “She’s still willing to marry me”.
For this team Make48 was “an amazing experience- and I hope it keeps growing to more and more cities”.