Halloween Peelz for the OmniPod, PDM, and Dexcom (Glow in the Dark too!!)

Are you looking to customize and decorate your Insulin Pump for Halloween? Over here at Pump Peelz we have taken some time and thought to make this Halloween especially fun.

Follow our journey here on Facebook: www.facebook.com/podskinz/

Want to decorate your Pod is Frankenstein? Yep we can do that!1380479_411609002295290_100261367_n

How about decorating your pod as a cute Candy Corn?

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But lastly, how cool would it be to have your diabetic products glowing at night?

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Check out www.pumppeelz.com and be sure to place your order before we sell out!

 

 

Happy Halloween:-)

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Pump Peelz Accessories for OmniPod, Dexcom, and VerioIQ

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It’s been an unbelievable journey since we launched back in August! We’ve had so much help and support from the D Community and I really can’t thank you all enough:-) I have to especially thank Sarah Kaye (check out her blog here) for helping us develop these new products!

The All New Pump Peelz!!     531034_320634468059411_604033445_n

It’s official, we’re back up and running after taking a little hiatus after the holidays to develop some new products. You might notice that we are now working on products for the Dexcom G4VerioIQ, and the 2nd Gen OmniPod. We also have some great new products in the works – but that’s for a later blog!

Thanks to our Facebook friends we were able to learn about the types of designs and products that they cared most about. And of course, we are constantly learning so please give us your feedback – share your stories – and let us know what you think in the comments section below!

So what’s new in the world of Pump Peelz?

Lots of things are new here! But I should start off by thanking by beautiful bride-to-be, Emily, for her love and support through this! She’s the inspiration behind all of these great products and has been a huge help in getting this off the ground! Emily was diagnosed a few years ago and has since created a thriving photography business! Check out her work here: www.emilyhixon.com

As for the products, we’ve teamed up with Dexcom to provide really great new products for Dexcom G4 users! Check out this spring design:

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We also developed an all new website! We’re now officially Shopify users to help speed up our ordering process! What do you think of the new site?  www.pumppeelz.com

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The new 2nd Gen Pod has proved to be rather tricky to work with! The steep curves created some challenges but we mustered through them to offer a really cool new design! To get the patterns – we used the very scientific method of trial and error with yellow tablet paper!

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And then we had to create some cool renderings to show off the designs!!

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Now that we’re off to a new year and a new look, we hope that you enjoy the new products! We’ll be launching new designs every week so keep checking back!

Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook, twitter (@pumppeelz), and check out the new site (www.pumppeelz.com)

Send us your photos and let us know what you think of the new products!

Pump Peelz for OmniPod Users (formerly OmniSkinz!)

It has been almost 6 months since I created my first blog post about my OmniSkinz venture. Because I am just now ready to launch a slightly modified version of the product, I thought I would take a few minutes to write down a little about how this all got started and where we are going with Pump Peelz!

The whole idea behind this product came when I was sitting on the steps of my home, Emily was wearing her OmniPod and I just sort of said “You know, it would be great if we could customize the Pod.” I can’t recall who said it, but my Mom or Dad said something like “Well, why don’t you?” It was a pretty simple statement but it made a big impact!

Initially, I created a few plastic prototypes after contacting the engineering department at California University of Pennsylvania. I then sent the prototypes to OmniPod and was very politely told that they weren’t ready to let me license the idea to them.

That brings me to my initial blog post! I was pretty bummed out that I was turned down for what I thought was a pretty great idea. So about a week later I decided to put out every piece of information and design I had so that I could get feedback from the pumping community. It was sort of a last ditch effort to see if it was an idea worth pursuing. I also decided to post Insulet’s email address so that fans of the product would be able to email the company and ask them to reconsider.

I think I released the OmniSkinz blog on a Wednesday night at about 8pm EST. I couldn’t believe the feedback I got! Literally hundreds of views from all over the world, dozens of comments, emails, blogs, it was unbelievable!

Within a day of releasing my blog I received a call from Insulet’s marketing director explaining that they may consider the idea in the future. It was quite a change of heart!

Not long after I posted the blog, I took my prototypes to a vacuum forming factory outside of Pittsburgh. This is when I learned how much it costs to manufacture plastic pieces! There are lots of set-up fees, mold charges, CAD engineering… it’s an intense process!

After considering the initial investment, I figured I’d better not quite my day job. So the brainstorming began on how to  create another version of the same product. It wasn’t until a few weeks later when I sat down for a radio interview with the CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council on Tech Vibe Radio that I started to think back to my original designs.

Listen to the radio interview here!

When I filed a provisional patent, I also submitted a design for a “sticker.” It was a design that I created by making small slices in a piece of paper until I could wrap the pump up without creating wrinkles along the curves. Pretty scientific huh? A few tweaks in photoshop and we were good to go!

Me and Emily spent the next few weeks tweaking designs and creating buzz about the store! While brainstorming in New York City, we decided that we would launch the product as soon as we got back to Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, after stopping to get new tires outside of the city I received a phone call from Insulet about changing out name to not include the words Omni or Pod! …Back to the drawing board we went! We polled Facebook, we asked friends, we almost settled a few times until we realized a lot of the names were already trademarked!

Finally, on the way back to my house on a Saturday night I figured out the name… Pump Peelz. When you search for it, nothing comes up! When you type it into google there isn’t inappropriate material (unlike if you type in “skinz”). We were set!

The store opened on a Wednesday in the morning, and we sold several hundred different Pump Peelz in the first 12 hours!

We hope to raise money to create a hardshell case in the future, but for right now we are working like crazy to get Pump Peelz off the ground! Keep posted as I’m sure there will be more to this story!

Thanks for all the help, support, insights, surveys, and everything else! If you did any of these, just know that I couldn’t give up on you guys no matter how many times I got turned down! If it makes diabetes even a little more fun I did my job.

I am probably the only business owner that hopes to go out of business soon. Ultimately, I don’t want to create Pump Peelz… I’d rather Emily and the rest of the diabetic community have a cure. So with each sale of Pump Peelz, we will donate a percentage to JDRF.

And when there is a cure, I’ll be out of business and one happy camper… but don’t worry, I’ll find other trouble to get into.

To check out the store go to: www.pumppeelz.com

OmniSkinz for OmniPod Users: Putting Color in Diabetics Lives

Team Type 1

UPDATE! We haven’t given up on OmniSkinz. But we have created a new product called Pump Peelz. Go to www.pumppeelz.com for more info!

What a journey it has been since I originally posted the OmniSkinz Concept on my blog! I’ve met some incredible people and have learned so much from the comments and feedback I’ve received!

I would like to seriously thank everyone for taking the time to take my survey! I also appreciate anyone that emailed OmniPod. They certainly know who we are now!

I’d like to answer some of the most popular questions and I thought the I would share some of the feedback that I received and also put my two cents in as well!

Join our OmniSkinz Facebook Community at www.facebook.com/omniskinz

Ugh, why are you taking so long to get this to the market?

No one actually asked me this. You all are so nice that I’m the one asking myself why I can’t get this out to you faster!

I have spent the last few months pursuing industry contacts, networking, and meeting with companies that could help me get this manufactured. As it turns out, it costs tens of thousands of dollars to make a mold and start production. At least, that was what one company told me.

In the past month, I have been working with a young entrepreneur that has some incredible contacts that wants to push this as much as I do. We have the right connections, the right advisors, now we just need to get some prototypes out for you guys to try out!

Soon. Very soon.

Will the OmniSkinz product be heavy?

This a huge concern! We certainly don’t want to add any extra weight as the pump is already bogged down, especially when you just filled the reservoir.

The prototypes I created use very light plastic. It adds no noticeable weight to the pod!

Will it be customizable?

That is the eventual goal. Right now, we are going to start with basic colors but would like to branch out and start getting custom printed ones.

Perhaps we can get create an app for that?

Is it made of rubber? Or plastic like a turtle shell.

Turtle. Turtle.

Plastic, unless we find something better.

Do you know that there is a new pump coming out? 

You bet! My whole intention was to design this for the Gen 2 OmniPod.

Finally, in my survey I had a place for you to write comments. I thought I would share some with you. After all, your stories are the ones that keep me going and make me realize that this can really make a difference.

Comments

I am 25 and working in a professional office atmosphere. I choose not to wear the pods on my arms because I know it would draw attention. If I could use a flesh colored skin on my pod I could finally try out an arm site without worrying that the bright white color will distract everyone. I fully support this idea and would love for OmniPod to pick it up.

My daughter uses a different insulin pump…one that has “skins” available for it already. One of the reasons that she did not want the OmniPod was due to it’s “boring” look. A reusable OmniSkinz might just change her mind.

And finally, this last story is the reason I am pushing to pursue this idea.

I am actually the parent of an 8 year old little girl who has had Type 1 since she was three. She is now getting to the stage where she is conscious about how she looks, what she wears and how her pump looks on her. She gets very embarassed if she thinks people can see her pod. I’ve told her that her Diabetes is part of her, it’s part of who she is and if people see her pod, it’s a great thing. I’ve had people see her pump on her arm or in the summer, under her bathing suit, and ask about it. Every single person is impressed by the design and wireless concept. Even the principal at her school, who is also type 1 has switched from the Minimed to the pod after being educated on it and seeing it in action on my daughter! If this product became available in cute, kid friendly colors she would be less upset that it were visible. Above that, if it attracted the attention of a few more diabetics, it could certainly change lives. I know that this pump changed our lives. I will forever be grateful to the man who told us about this pump. A cute skin for the pod would just take it to the next level of amazing. Thank you so much for your innovation and efforts to develop this idea. Something seemingly so small really does make a world of difference.

Feel free to ask me any questions or leave a comment and I’ll get back to you!

“Switch it Up” OmniSkinz for OmniPod Users (now Pump Peelz)

 

I can finally say that together we made this happen! We haven’t forgotten about the hardshell cases, but we were able to develop Pump Peelz to help decorate the OmniPod.


Go to www.pumppeelz.com to learn more!

Or visit us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/podskinz

Also, if you want to help support finding a cure for diabetes, visit www.jdrf.org. On a side note, if you go to Moe’s Southwest Grill and “make it a meal” they donate a portion of the sale to the JDRF. Great cause and great food.

OmniSkinz is a plastic case designed to fit over the OmniPod. I developed OmniSkinz to help type 1 diabetics using the OmniPod express themselves by customizing their pods. A 12 year old boy could have a basketball themed pod for his games, a 16 year old girl could have her pod match her bathing suit at the beach, a 30 year old mom could have a “skin colored” case to help hide her pump. The possibilities are endless.

***OmniPod is a trademark of the Insulet Corp. I will not be manufacturing any skinz with their logo without permission. The “OmniPod” logo on the red pod is just for demonstration purpose only***

I never really considered being a product developer, innovator, or inventor. After all I went to school for music technology! But two years ago when my fiancée, Emily, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, everything changed. Our lives became consumed with glucose test strips, lancets, ketone strips, Apidra bottles, and sharps containers (most of which she can hide in a purse the size of my iPhone). I had a lot of learning to do!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with type 1 diabetes, let me fill you in! If you already know all about this stuff scroll down to the OmniSkinz Story in bold.

Type 1 diabetes… the “Reader’s Digest” version.

First off, it’s not the same as your grandma’s diabetes… that is called type 2. This form of diabetes is called type 1 (aka juvenile diabetes). It’s an autoimmune disease and not a lifestyle disease. You can be a young Olympic athlete, a toddler, a teen etc. and still be diagnosed. Essentially, type 1 diabetes is a pain and an inconsiderate jerk.

The other main point that differentiates type 1 diabetes is that it is “insulin dependent.” What this means is that your body attacks the beta cells in your pancreas and renders it relatively useless. The only way to manage this form of diabetes is with insulin therapy via injections or insulin pumps.

The OmniSkinz Story

A few months after Emily was diagnosed she decided to go with the OmniPod Insulin Management System. It’s a revolutionary little pump that uses no tubing and sort of looks like a white travel sized computer mouse. You can stick it to just about any part of your body and it doses the proper amount of insulin. The little pump really makes it much easier to live a normal life. I highly recommend checking out the product on their website if you are considering getting an insulin pump.

Not too long after Emily went on the OmniPod, I started to think about the possibility of making a case for the pump.  We live in a world of products that are personalized. Cell phones have millions of different cases and colors to choose from… diabetics on the OmniPod have one color – white.

I obviously wasn’t the first person to think that the OmniPod was bland. A quick google image search will show hundreds of teens and kids putting stickers on their pump. I even saw one image of a Christmas Tree decorated with OmniPod ornaments.

And so it began…

Designing and Prototyping

Omniskinz by Scott Imblum

After some brainstorming, I created a rough sketch to show the dimensions and features of the OmniSkinz case (see above). I also tried to design a very rough sample of what I envisioned being designed on the cases. I don’t think anyone is giving me an award for my floral pattern.

Once I had the design I started researching how to get a plastic prototype made. After a few phone calls and emails I found that my school, California University of Pennsylvania, has an industrial tech program along with a plastic prototyping machine. Bingo!

I talked with a professor and was able to propose my idea to one of the classes. One student in particular thought the idea was worth pursuing. The original prototype was created for less than a hundred bucks and a few hours of work.

The Very First OmniSkinz Prototype

Alright, so the first prototype really wasn’t the greatest. It was a bit bulky and still had that medical white look to it. On the bright side, it was definitely a start.

Fast forward a few months and I receive a phone call from the same student. “I’ve got it” he said, “let’s try colored plastic vacuum forming instead.” Problem solved. It was cheaper, quicker, and looked way better.

The final OmniSkinz prototypes were born in less than ten minutes.

The Final OmniSkinz Protype

“Pimp Your Pod”

Fun. Funky. Fresh. That was the look that I was going for when I developed the look of the first advertisement for the brand. The “Pimp Your Pod” slogan was born. I designed this the same week that Steve Jobs passed away. I have always been inspired by Apple and decided to make the pods look like icons on the “dock” of a Mac.

I should also point out that I’m not a designer or a Photoshop expert. I found everything that I needed to know about the Adobe Creative Suite on YouTube or www.lynda.com.

The design above was inspired by the old colored Apple iMac advertising campaigns. I called this one “Jazz it up.” Emily later came up with the “Switch it Up” concept which I used for the final foam board presentation.

The “Rosa Pod” above was inspired by the Fiat company. I test drove a new Fiat 500 in Washington D.C. and loved the marketing material I was given after the drive. The one pamphlet I was given had each of the colors that the car came in… listed in Italian! Rossa, giallo, nero, grigio etc. I loved the idea. It sounded artsy and sophisticated.

And finally, the actual prototypes ready to be sent to Insulet Corp with the “Switch it Up” slogan created by Emily.

Two weeks later I had a really nice phone conversation with the director of marketing. He loved the idea and explained that the company may consider the concept in the future.

Final Thoughts

I spent about a year working on this project and I loved every minute. It was an awesome learning experience and I have nothing to regret. I learned a ton about licensing, design, manufacturing and marketing through this project and I’d be happy to share some insights with you if you have questions. On a side note, if you have ideas or want to help send me an email at omniskinz@gmail.com

My final thought with the OmniSkinz product is to have OmniPod users take the survey so that I can collect the data to show the Insulet Corp that OmniSkinz is a marketable product.

With your help I can show that a small idea can have a big impact.


Take the OmniSkinz Survey Here!

Email the Insulet Corporation about OmniSkinz Here!

Re: “Just Ask.” Advice copied from my inbox.

Curious how to license a product?

…email a product developer who is successful.

Want to know how a world tour works?

…email Katy Perry‘s guitarist.

Really, what’s the worst that can happen? Consider this, most of the time the “worst case scenario” is either not that bad or easily reversible. So the next time you want to gain some industry insights, track down a professional (usually through blogs, Twitter, or Facebook) and send out a short email with a thought provoking question.

(For the nerds out there: plotting out the ‘worst case scenario’ can also be referred to as practical pessimism)

Here is some advice I’ve gotten just by simply asking…

Audio Post Production Engineer on the Music Industry:

The music industry is increasingly the land of self-starters and entrepreneurs. As traditional recording studios disappear, the industry is more and more in need of professionals who can fill a variety of roles, from musician to engineer to accountant. My advice is to get a solid backing in business and marketing (both general and industry-specific), and get a solid technical foundation with an emphasis in self-education (as the required skill set in the music industry changes nearly every day)

Lawyer and Former Teacher on Life:

The other thing to consider is the fact that you may be competing for jobs during a troubling economic time. Anything you can do to make yourself more marketable (like a double major, or useful employment experience/internships) will help set you apart from other applicants.

One last thing…trust yourself. Listen to your instincts and you will find your way.

Executive Engineering GM on Management:

“…most people misunderstand what management is about. They think management is all about power and control.

My philosophy is to be the person who sets the vision, walks the talk, and really gets to know their people’s talents and skills. Getting the most out of people is something I enjoy, and take seriously. I also hold them accountable and would expect them to hold me accountable as well. Power comes from the ability to influence. If you can generate credibility and an open and safe to make mistake environment, then you will gain the power to lead. People will follow you, even if you have to be hard on someone because they are stepping out of line.

Screaming and yelling is not power, it is destruction. I have an open door policy and I am very approachable any where in the building and to anyone. I never turn down conversations in the hall even if it is about something outside of work. I really live to this value and it works very well. I work for the people and I never make people feel that they work for me. I love that openness and it really creates a great environment. I walk the halls all day long, and will talk to everyone. I even skip meetings if I am having a conversation.

Remember this, the people are the assets and they are the most important thing to a company…I am a nobody!

Entrepreneur on how to License a Product:

First of all I don’t call to “sell a product”, I call to license an idea for a product…I’ll give you an actual call example from yesterday:

  • working prototype ready
  • sell sheet ready
  • list of companies to contact ready

I called the first on the list (the one I thought was 1st choice) I called main corporate number and said; “Hi, my name is **** and I am a product developer. I have a product idea I would like to submit to your company and I need your help. Who in your company handles new product submissions? Receptionist replied; “That would be John So&So head of new product development.” I said; “Great, can you connect me?” She said; “Sorry, he is out of office today traveling.” I said; “Can you give me his email and direct number so I can call back later?” She did! She also said he was good about checking his emails while traveling and that I should try that. I did!

In this case I did email my brief pitch. (Normally not the favored approach) Happily, by this morning I received his reply requesting to see the sell sheet and also providing an NDA too sign.

This is how it works for me with trying to license ideas. This is the long answer to your question of “who do you ask to talk to”. The short answer is “just ask“.

And expect occasionally to get this:

Internet Entrepreneur on Opportunities

There are no opportunities available, I cannot offer any advice and I have no books to recommend.

 

Have any thoughts on networking or advice received through emails? Leave a comment!
See last week’s blog here.


Music Lessons to Networking Guru.

I am simply a part time guitar teacher. Nothing glamorous. I have taught children, five years old and up, how to pluck on some strings and learn a little music in the process since I was in high school.

You might say “great, teaching lessons to a twelve year old isn’t exactly being a networking guru.”

Alright, you might have a point there… but what do private music instructors, tutors, personal trainers, photographers etc. etc. etc. have in common?  All of us have insider access to some of the most successful families in the region without the need for a prestigious country club membership. Not only that, but we are being paid to network with these incredible individuals!

Here is a condensed list of professional contacts I’ve gained while holding a guitar: doctors, plastic surgeons, entrepreneurs, accountants, media directors, authors, lawyers, journalists, CEO’s, VP’s, engineers, executives, corporate buyers, real estate investors, restauranteurs, and franchise owners… just to name a few.

Just by teaching a few guitar chords, staying on task, and making sure that parents are seeing worth-while results, I automatically have more professional leverage than any career placement program at a university.

So how does this apply to me and what can I learn from this?

For us Generation Y’ers, we all have to remember that personal connections build lasting relationships. Do a little bit of research on the successful people around you. After all, you have to have a shared interest in order to network. Ask a few engaging questions to show your interest, then ask if you can meet up to talk more over a cup of coffee or (insert favorite beverage here).

Since I have been teaching, I have had the opportunity to learn about real estate, politics, investments, publishing, copyrights, business plans, and innovation… outside of the classroom and without joining any professional organization.

Just remember to have a genuine interest, be a good listener, and follow up with a thank-you email with a few insightful thoughts to keep the connection going.

What are some of your favorite networking tricks?

Who have you had the opportunity to network with?

What kind of advice do you have for Generation Y?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions.