Early Days: The Roads Most Traveled
Dear Fellow Traveler,
The MouseStrap is a product of frustration – frustration with the conventional shoulder strap that I’ve had on every briefcase I’ve owned. And I’ve had four or five over the past 40+ years.
In any form of travel, a bag with a shoulder strap is a great friend. It carries your stuff while leaving your hands free. Whether it’s a briefcase, equipment bag, satchel, laptop case, camera bag, gym bag, diaper bag – you name it – if you’re willing to carry it, the easy-on, easy-off convenience of a shoulder strap is a great thing.
Until you don’t need it.
Case in point: I drive somewhere almost every day, and I usually take my briefcase along. When I reach my destination, I park the car, open my door, and climb out, reaching behind me to pull the briefcase out as I go.
As I pull the bag out of the car, the shoulder strap — of course — is dragging behind the bag. And what happens? About half the time, the strap gets snagged on the hand brake or the gearshift lever, both of which reside on the center console of my car.
The other half of the time, I’m vaguely wondering if the strap is GOING to snag and, when it doesn’t happen, I feel that I’ve gotten away with something. So, either way, in a sense, I lose. Whether the strap snags or not, I’m thinking about it.
Granted, this isn’t earth-shattering stuff, by any means. As nuisances go, I would put it in the same category with breaking a shoestring when you’re trying to dress in a hurry. But there’s never a good time for that to happen, is there?
The combination of car snags, indoor events (where the strap gets underfoot after you’ve set your bag down), and subway, bus, and airplane issues (where the strap gets under other people’s feet after you’ve set your bag down), led me to a realization in early 2016.
That’s when I decided it couldn’t be that hard to come up with a universally-attachable, retractable strap that I could snap onto my bag. Boy, was I wrong. Admittedly, the concept isn’t rocket science. But getting from concept to reality took a lot more hoop-jumping than I expected.
First, I confirmed that such a thing wasn’t already patented or on the market. Then I sketched out my idea, talked to some product-development engineering types, got their blessing, had real drawings made, found a patent attorney, and was granted both utility and design patents, with additional patents pending for multiple variations.
During development, I also wondered about what to call this device. The size and shape of the retractor housing reminded me of a computer mouse. With that realization, the name was born. “MouseStrap” is now a trademarked brand.
I had conceived of this thing because I wanted one for my own use. And, I figured, other people would probably find it useful, too.
Now, years later, I think we’re there — for the first iteration, anyway. I hope you like the way the MouseStrap turned out as much as I do. I’m beyond pleased, just to have the thing on my bag.
Because it works. It is exactly what I designed it to be: it’s a sturdy strap that’s right there when I need it, and out of the way when I don’t need it. I don’t snag it on things in my car anymore. It doesn’t get underfoot in restaurants, airports, offices, on planes, or anywhere else. It just works.
Which helps ME to work — and travel — without being distracted by one of life’s little nuisances. The MouseStrap® can do the same for you.
Founder & CEO