StepNpull: Open Doors Hands Free

Our next interview in the Get on the Shelf series features Mike Sewell and his product, the StepNpull.

What product did you submit to Wal-Mart’s Get on the Shelf contest?

We submitted StepNpull which is a hands free door opener designed for commercial latch less doors. It gives the user the option of pulling the door open with their foot instead of touching the door handle. Although the primary intent is for use on public restroom doors, StepNpull is also a great option on any commercial door where the user’s hands may be full. For example, the front door of an auto parts store, Laundromat or shipping store.

Where’d the idea come from?

We invented StepNpull in the summer of 2007. Our inspiration came from observing how many people use a paper towel to grab a public restroom door handle when exiting. We believed a better option would be pulling the door open with your foot. After constructing and testing several designs we found that stepping down and pulling the door open was the most effective method. Although we have added enhancements to the StepNpull over the last 4 years, the basic design has remained the same.

What’s your background (and or day job)?

StepNpull was invented by Ron Ely, Kelly Coddington and Mike Sewell. All 3 of us work for a major wireless carrier in Springfield MO

What difficulties did you have creating the product?

Our goal was to invent the most effective design that could be manufactured for a reasonable price. We initially manufactured in our garaged but quickly learned we needed to find a manufacturer to work with. After working with 2 different manufacturers we were introduced to a Springfield MO based company named Custom Metalcraft in the summer of 2008. We have been working with them every since. It has been more of a partnership where they have helped us work thru several improvements including the powder coat finish, machining changes and engraving our logo on the face. It truly was a work in progress for the first couple of years.

Have you sold any? (or is the product currently for sale somewhere

To date we have sold approximately 5000 units. Most of our sales are in the US but we have shipped StepNpulls to Canada, Mexico, UK, Australia, Ireland, France, South Korea, Brazil, Panama, Spain as well as other countries. We work or have worked with at least 20 US distributors including Lowe’s (online item), Grainger and Newton distributing. We also have distributors in Canada, Australia, Spain and Panama.

Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

I think the best advice I can give is be prepared for the long haul and never give up. It sounds cliché but it is so true. We, like most entrepreneurs, expected an unrealistic growth curve. The reality is that even the best ideas and the best products take time to succeed, especially a product like StepNpull that is truly revolutionary. Today we are more excited than ever about the future of StepNpull. Every day it seems we forge a new relationship or we receive great feedback from our customers or we embark on a new distribution opportunity. Success is possible but it must be earned.

Their Get on the Shelf link is:

Their video is below.

StepNpull Promo Video from Authentic Studios on Vimeo.

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