Post Register – Idaho Falls, ID
November 10, 2008
Victor resident Kip Blair thinks he’s struck gold. He invented a contraption called MixKwik that can mix aerosol cans to perfection, minus the workout. It works in any standard reciprocating saw, and it takes seconds to properly mix the contents of any aerosol can. That means the product works as it’s designed, Blair said, and there’s very little waste. A builder by trade and an inventor by blood (his dad was always tinkering), Blair came up with the idea one day while mixing paint for a job. “I didn’t waste any time,” said Blair, a Wyoming native who’s lived in Victor for 22 years. “In a matter of hours. I was on the phone looking for a patent attorney.” He’s sold quite a few of the gadgets since, mainly through word-of-mouth. The product is getting ready to get a lot more attention soon, though, as at least one Idaho Falls retailer plans to stock it. We sat down with Blair on Wednesday to ask him about his invention, for which a patent is pending.
PR: What benefits does a MixKwik provide?
Blair: When you handshake a can, it just doesn’t get the product mixed well enough, so what you find is anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of product waste due to improper mixing. When you use this, it’s dry, it’s empty, and it comes out perfect. … What’s huge is the utility locators. One (Montana construction company) marks 15,000 job sites a day, going through two cans of paint on each site. If they reduced their waste by 10 percent, they’d save $9,000.
PR: How’s it going?
Blair: Creating awareness has been the biggest challenge; it’s so new to people. (So far, he said he’s sold several on his Web site and through word-of-mouth. At least one Idaho Falls retailer plans to stock the product, however, and a friend of Blair’s is taking it to a trade show in Las Vegas.) People have responded well to it. We’ve gotten good feedback. … One guy called from Alabama.
PR: How long does it take to work?
Blair: It takes five seconds to 10 seconds to completely mix a can, even if it’s been on the shelf for two years or left out in the cold.
PR: Tell us about the process of inventing this device.
Blair: (The prototype) was round. Now it’s V-shaped, to accommodate varying can diameters. (He also played with several fastening methods, settling on a snowboard binding.) It’s really been an educational thing. I played with it until I was satisfied it would do the trick. You have to be patient to be an inventor.
PR: What’s your goal for this product?
Blair: You just plant as many seeds as you possibly can and just see which ones grow, which ones blossom. I have people all over the country that, in some capacity or another, are researching marketing options.
PR: Anyone help you out with MixKwik’s development?
Blair: My friend and technical adviser Jerry Linn. He and I have been working together on multiple projects for 22 years.
PR: What other inventions have you come up with?
Blair: If you tell anyone about an idea you have, that’s considered publishing it. So even though I have a lot more tricks up my sleeve, I can’t really tell you what they are.
PR: What advice would you offer would-be inventors?
Blair: My best advice is, everyone has had good ideas, maybe even great ideas. My advice is to follow up on it and see it through. See where it can take you. Don’t be afraid, just do it.