Jackie Harden at (909) 984-5619

Fax  (909) 983-2756

Ontario, CA 91762
 

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"Invention Game " paying off
Remote carriers protect pricey accessory


When Jackie Harden was younger, she and her late brother Jim used to play a game.

They called it the Invention Game, figuring that if they could invent something people needed, they could become rich.

A few years ago, Harden thought she had found her niche.
"I was at a swap meet," she said. "And I kept seeing babies dropping their bottles onto the ground. I figured I could invent a leash to keep the bottle from falling."

Excited, she went home and told her stepmother about it.
"I still remember her response," Harden said. "She said, 'I hate to burst your bubble, but ...'"
But someone already had come up with the idea.

She started two businesses while living in Northern California - one a janitorial service and the other an espresso truck - but soon realized they were too labor-intensive for her ever really to make much money.

"The espresso was actually very successful," she said. "I did it with my ex-husband, though, and when we got divorced, I gave it up and moved down here."

Harden, who now lives on Ontario remarried, had a baby and was a stay-at-home mother for six years. Her husband. Dan, is a millwright, installing custom conveyors in factories.

"We were living off his income," she said. "I wanted to make some money, but with my lack of education, I knew I was going to have to work for myself."

She got her inspiration -and finally the invention she had been seeking - when her husband's remote controls for his car alarm both broke.

"He went to the dealer and they wanted $93 to replace one," she said. "He asked me if I could drill a hole or something so it would stay on his key ring."

It was the "or something-" she came up with that might make her a fortune. Harden sewed a leather pouch with a grommet at one end to hold the remote.

"Dan told me I should market it," she said. "I told him it was dumb, that there must already be something like that."

There wasn't, and Harden's "Remote Totes" are now on sale at car dealers all across California and four other states. She estimates that she has sold about 38,000 of them at a profit of between $1 and $2 each, although nearly all of the money has been poured back into expanding. She started selling them at swap meets and then on a Web site — www.remotetotes.com.

Her customers love the product, which not only keeps their remotes on key rings, it also protects them from getting wet or broken.

"What a great invention," said Mark Stillwater of Oceanside. "I show mine off at work all the time."

Mario Aguilar of Brownsville, Texas, said the totes had saved him from embarrassment.
"I had a broken remote for a long time," he said. "I had to use a ladies' coin purse to carry it in. Talk about feeling silly."

At present, Harden has two employees - her stepdaughter and her neighbor - making the totes. It costs her more to have her production in California, but she doesn't want to have her product made offshore.

She's still working to grow her business, but not as much as she would have 10 years ago.

'Back then, I would have put 24 hours a day into this," she said. "But now my little boy -he's 51/2 - is my No. 1 priority."

By MICHAEL RAPPAPORT
STAFF WRITER

About Remote Totes

Welcome to the Remote Totes website. I want to keep you interested in our story, so I will keep it short and sweet and hopefully you will share it with your friends and family.

Back in 1802, no wait it was 1804, okay just kidding we’re keeping this short and sweet, that’s right! In 1999, my husband fell victim of “remotas detaches “.

His car alarm remote had fallen off his key ring and broke off the plastic loop that lets you connect your remote to your key chain.

So like we all do, he started using his spare remote. Months later he found himself a victim of “remotas detaches” once again.

But this time he started drilling holes to reattach his remote back onto his keychain. (Thank you to the Daily Bulletin for running a story about the “Remote Tote”.)

But for the record my husband did not ask me to drill a hole for him, as stated in the article. He is quite capable of drilling a hole by himself. Having said that, let’s just say drilling a hole in his remote was a “short-lived quick fix”.

After returning home from the dealership, who by the way wanted $98.00 for a new a remote and $30.00 to program the new remote, when the old one worked just fine, my husband asked me to“ sew him up a little pouch” to help reattach his remote back onto his key chain.

This was when the idea of the “Remote Tote” was born.

While my husband was showing off his new baby the “Remote Tote”, we found out that he was not the only victim, as several of his friends had discovered the same problem with their remotes.

In fact they all thought the “Remote Tote” was a great idea and thought that we should market the idea.

I personally thought that they were abusing their remotes, as men often do.

It wasn’t until my lovely son at age 18 months, now 11 and insisting I put his name in this story, James Lee Harden, now a baseball player, while we were at the grocery store one day damaged my remote.

I gave him my keys at the end of the trip to keep him quiet, (okay to shut him up) not thinking about the car alarm remote.

Yes, you’re right he sucked on it. But, it still worked, that is until two weeks later, and then the corrosion set in (that would be the rusty stuff), and my remote would no longer work.

I had an older alarm that did not have a by pass, so I was stranded. I know too long of a story, but a nice man helped me out that day.

Truly I think back and it was about two or three months later that my spare broke off my key ring and guess what happened next? Yes, your right we started marketing the “Remote Tote“.

We first started by promoting the “Remote Totes” at the Orange County Swap meet. And, at this time realized how many people were looking for a product like this.

They not only wanted our product to reattach their remotes, but the majority wanted to prevent the problem from ever occurring.

Eventually, we were able to get the totes into the new car dealerships and other retail locations throughout the United States.

At this time I would like to give special thanks to Dean D'alesio and Sharon  D'alesio of dalesiogrp.com.

Not only did they help me with manufacturing the totes, but when the demand began to grow they provided me with all the knowledge and equipment needed to manufacture the totes on my own.

We are very proud to be making our product in the United States of America.

In closing we would also like to thank all of our devoted customers who have purchased our product throughout the years.

Thank you for your interest in our product and our story.

 

 


Note to the consumer:

"Regardless of where you purchase your remote tote, we will stand behind our product 100%. In the unlikely event that you find defects in workmanship or are not pleased with the product, please contact us directly, and we will be happy to rectify the situation. We want all of our customers to be 100% satisfied with our product."