Pasco woman invents device to help
By B.C. Manion
If you’ve ever had trouble opening a bottle, you can relate to Linda Appleby.
She was at a baby christening party in New Jersey when she just couldn’t get a good grip on the plastic cap on a water bottle.
She turned to her daughter, Emma Faassee, for help.
“Can you open this bottle for me?” Appleby asked her daughter.
But Faassee told her, “No. I can’t do it.”
The two women looked at each other, and an idea was born.
Faassee, who is an architect, got to work designing a simple device to help twist off bottle caps.
She drew the plans and Appleby found a plastic company in Clearwater to make the device.
The mother-daughter duo created a company, filed a patent and are now taking their product to market.
They call their gadget CapTwist, a simple name to convey what it does, said Appleby.
CapTwist is a tear-shaped plastic device that fits snugly over a bottle cap, and with an easy turn, the cap comes off.
It can be used to twist the caps off of water, soda bottles and beer bottles. It can even provide leverage to help get the lids off of prescription bottles — depending on its size.
She and her daughter are searching out markets in Florida and New Jersey, but they also think the product will have national and international appeal because it can make life easier for anyone.
It’s for anybody who has trouble twisting off bottle caps, Appleby said. It may be especially appealing to elderly people, women, children and people with arthritis or muscular dystrophy.
Flight attendants may find the tool useful, too, as they twist the lids off miniature liquor or plastic water bottles.
Appleby said she wants to sell her product at liquor stores, at bars and in convenience stores. She also thinks they’d be a great novelty item for companies to give away.
The inventors have already patented a larger version of their product to open beverages in big-mouth bottles, such as sports drinks.
The product typically comes in a package of two for $5. However, the company is looking to offer singles in some locations, such as bars or convenience stores, said Appleby, who lives in Trinity.
Appleby, who is a former saleswoman for The Tampa Tribune, and her daughter are doing their best to get the word out about CapTwist.
The women even pitched their product at a live casting call in Orlando for “Shark Tank,” the ABC reality television show on which startup or established entrepreneurs make a pitch to a panel of investors to try to get financial backing and marketing help.
The women were among a crowd of about 500 entrepreneurs making pitches to be on the show.
So far, they’ve invested about $20,000 to patent the item, manufacture it and market it.
Appleby said she doesn’t know if the product will catch on, but she hopes it will. Her goal is to make enough money so her husband can retire.
Regardless of what happens, she’s been having a splendid time learning the ins and outs of being an inventor.
And, she encourages other would-be inventors to try bringing their ideas to life.
“If people find that there’s a problem and they come up with a solution, that’s when you need to do an invention,” Appleby said. She added, “Don’t be intimidated. How many times have you thought of something, and then a year later it’s out there?”
But it will require work, Appleby said. And, quick success is unlikely, she added.
One book that Appleby found particularly helpful was One Simple Idea by Stephen Key.
“These ideas don’t evolve overnight. You have to do your research. You have to do your design. It takes a lot of time,” Appleby said.
To find out more about CapTwist, visit Indiegogo.com/captwist.