South Fulton Inventor Wants You to “Think of Your Teeth”
Q: How did you think of the TOYT dispenser and its catchy name? Give a history of the product and your business.
A: One day I was in the dental office for a routine check-up and my dentist made the common remark, “Remember to floss every day.” I knew the only way I would remember was if I placed the floss somewhere that I would see it every day. Logically, it made sense to place the floss in the corner on the mirror next to my toothbrush. I did not want something too big, but yet I wanted it to be visible. I also wanted a product that was easy to use, no fuss, no looking for the floss…just pull and go. At the same time, I wanted a reminder that looks cool and unique. Finally, I wanted to make sure it was refillable and thus eco-friendly. To that end, I created premium floss refills for the TOYT dispenser.
I believe that when a new product is introduced into the marketplace, it is important to evaluate its impact on the environment. Does the product help to sustain the environment, while adding value for the customer? Creating products that have less impact on the environment and add value are important. The TOYT dispenser fits this bill, while encouraging and promoting good oral hygiene.
The process of inventing a product has been rewarding. It has been a learning curve, but I have embraced it every step of the way. It also takes friends, like Tom Brown and Jay Pilgrim, who help reinforce your focus and strengthen your resolve when you start to slow. I considered selling the idea to a buyer in the beginning. However, I believed the processes of inventing, patenting, manufacturing, packaging and merchandising a product would be good knowledge that I could pass on one day.
Q: Can you offer any advice to budding entrepreneurs?
A: My advice to budding entrepreneurs is to remain focused on what you are trying to accomplish. It must be a burning desire that fuels you. Oftentimes the difference between those who succeed and those who do not is the level of focus and drive. Keep a small group of positive people (energy) in your circle. Set daily goals and be willing to make sacrifices to reach those goals. Whether you write them down or not, set the goals and work hard to achieve them. One of my goals is to do at least one thing daily to advance my product and efforts. If I do three or four, that’s even better.
Q: Do you have anything else in the works?
A: I have other products in the works. However, right now, this is the flagship product and will continue to be for the next few years.
Q: What’s next for John Stephens?
A: Pursuing mutually beneficial relationships with large and small businesses to merchandise the TOYT dispenser.
Q: Would you share a little about your family and ties to South Fulton?
A: I am originally from Savannah, Georgia. South Fulton has become my home where my wife and I are raising our two kids. I have been blessed to live in a community where like-minded people live, work and socialize. I am always reminded how special and unique South Fulton is when I travel to other places.