The Alimond Show

Robyn James - Golf Instructor & Owner of InfusenClip

March 28, 2024 Alimond Studio
The Alimond Show
Robyn James - Golf Instructor & Owner of InfusenClip
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Have you ever thought a simple act of kindness could lead to a groundbreaking invention? Our latest guest, a golf instructor turned innovator, shares the journey from gifting a rhinestone bumblebee ball marker to a young student, to patenting a bug-repelling hat clip that's taking the golf world by storm. Mark your calendars and listen in as we traverse the path of creativity and determination, uncovering how a childhood filled with tinkering led to problem-solving on the greens, and how the quest for organic solutions is striking a chord in today's eco-conscious marketplace.

This week, we're peeling back the curtain on the life of a modern-day inventor whose weekend golf anecdotes are as engaging as their professional pursuits. Discover how our guest's innovative spirit is shaking up the golf community, from 3D printed ball markers to a top-secret project that promises to enhance your outdoor experience. They reveal the marketing wisdom behind successful product launches, navigating the challenges presented by FDA regulations, and the importance of fostering a network that supports word-of-mouth buzz—a true testament to the power of community in the entrepreneurial journey.

Wrapping up our conversation, we embark on a reflective note, emphasizing the significance of asking "why" in everything we do. Our guest's narrative is a poignant reminder of the endless possibilities that arise from a curious mind, whether you're a novice tying your golf shoes or a seasoned player pondering the pace of play. Tune in for an inspiring session that not only promises innovative golf accessory insights but also reignites the spark of curiosity within us all, proving that simple questions can indeed lead to extraordinary inventions.

Speaker 1:

In terms of like fusion clip, I like the shoes are nice and leg, it's quite totally leg.

Speaker 2:

Where did this idea come from. So it came from actually, I'm a golf instructor as well as an inventor and it came from introducing a little girl to the game of golf years and years ago before as an instructor. So what happened is I showed her how to hit a golf ball. Just, you know, this little girl on the range with her dad and I showed her how to hit a golf ball for the first time. When she got it up in the air, she was ecstatic. And so what I did is I took a rhinestone bumblebee ball marker off my hat and I gave it to her and I said I don't know where you'll go in this game, but you'll always need to remember where you've been.

Speaker 2:

And a ball marker is how you mark where you are on the course. So I explained all of that to her, gave her the bumblebee, thought that was the end of it. Well, years later she found me on Facebook and she wrote me this beautiful message saying that she just, you know, loved the time that I spent with her and she continued with golf because of that day and just thank you. So then I'm looking through her page and there she is, all grown up and on her hat was the bumblebee that I gave her.

Speaker 1:

That's the best.

Speaker 2:

So then I started, and now I set them over there. But then I started in my own life, becoming a golf instructor, and so I wanted women and girls to have their own little special marker. That meant something to them, and people couldn't find exactly what they wanted, so I started 3D printing and hand painting little designs for them. Well, the little designs that I would make. They weren't staying on the traditional metal clip that goes on your hat.

Speaker 2:

So I needed something with a little more friction, and so I developed this rubberized one, which is and the rubber smelled really bad, and so I added a scent to them to make it not smell so bad. And then when I gave it to my golf students, they were like oh, it's keeping the bugs away. So they were like go talk to a patent attorney. And sure enough we couldn't find anything like it and filed for a patent.

Speaker 1:

Wow.

Speaker 2:

And yeah, so you just clip it to your hat and the scent keeps the bugs away and allows you to yes and then decorate it however you like.

Speaker 1:

I love that. Now was this like it's all essential oils, so it's not anything that's like Correct Gonna give you like anything crazy, and so is this where most people will use it. Clip it to their hat.

Speaker 2:

That's how most people Well, some people now you know you have one intention for it and then you get feedback on how others use it. So a lot of people have been clipping it right here to their shirt collar, or you know the part of their shirt. And yeah, it works just as well, because the whole point of it, what I found in the research of this is gnats, mosquitoes, noceums, flies. They find you by the CO2 that you emit and, of course, you emit the most CO2 by your breath.

Speaker 2:

So if you keep it close to your face, you don't have to worry as much about it.

Speaker 1:

Wow, and how often do you have?

Speaker 2:

to replace it. So those you put them back in the pouch and they last about three months.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So yeah, I love this Now in terms of you said that you're also an inventor. Yes, like what made you? Have you done this before?

Speaker 2:

as a kid. Well, I've just always been a tinkerer. You know, one of those kids that like breaks everything. Like, for example, I had a Simon when I was little. You know the little game where you follow the lights. Well, I wanted to play it all night but my mom was like it's beeping all night, so I took it apart and disconnected the sound so I could play it all night. So stuff like that I've always kind of done, you find solutions yes. You're a solution finder.

Speaker 2:

So this was just an extension of finding a solution, and hopefully there's more in my head to come. So yeah, wow.

Speaker 1:

Now, I know you gave me one little brief story, but who were you as a little kid?

Speaker 2:

Oh my gosh, I was the kid that wanted to be like everything Every week. I think I wanted to be something different. Everything from an astronaut to. You know, my dad was in the army At one point. I wanted to be a soldier, and, you know, a doctor and just everything. Whatever kind of caught my attention, so yeah.

Speaker 1:

So you just would fall in love with like, different professions for different reasons.

Speaker 2:

Yes, and then I'd fall out of love with them.

Speaker 1:

So Get distracted by the next thing.

Speaker 2:

Yes, yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 1:

I know, when you walked in I was like oh my gosh, I love your frames, oh, and I love your shoes, oh, and I.

Speaker 2:

All that personality. I think I've gotten more eccentric as I've grown older, but yeah, I love it.

Speaker 1:

I was just talking to another guest and she was saying I feel like once you hit the age 40, you just stop caring about like so true what other people think. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, that is a big part of it. You just kind of you're like I don't have time for all of the rest of this, I'm just going to do whatever hair color I want, whatever moment I want right now.

Speaker 1:

So yeah, what are some things in whether it's the golf world or within the innovation world, like, what are some trends or some things that you're seeing?

Speaker 2:

Definitely more organic stuff. People are definitely reading labels and saying, ok, what does this do long term, whether it is what you're eating in the grocery store, what you're wearing, what you spray on your skin. If you read and I won't name any specific brands, but there are certain products out there of bug spray that you read the warning label and it's like, hey, don't spray this near cars because it'll melt the paint. And then you're like I just liberally sprayed this on my head. Yeah, so people are looking for what does it do long term?

Speaker 1:

I certainly. Is that legal? Yes, yeah. What's the criteria that companies like that have to go through?

Speaker 2:

So there's this whole FDA, all of that just because it's written on the label doesn't mean it's good for you and there's this whole, you know, long-term policies of what is acceptable risk. And yeah, and you make the decision so double-edged sword.

Speaker 1:

So basically, as long as they put it on the packaging, in some cases, yeah. So I don't know anything about that, I know.

Speaker 2:

And it's complicated right, like what may be bad one day is not necessarily bad the next day, like they'll do more research and find something else, like some of the food does what was fine before. People are like oh no, not so, not so good.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, basically, if you can't pronounce it, if it doesn't come from the earth? More than likely. It's probably not. Yeah, good, what's your next project? Oh, so Are you allowed to share?

Speaker 2:

The next project is in the same vein, but it has not gone through all of the the patent process yet, so you got to keep that one under your eyes. But it'll be in the same vein of, you know, enjoying the outdoor experience more, whether it is walking through the woods, playing golf or just sitting on, you know, out on the lawn enjoying the concert. So all sorts of stuff.

Speaker 1:

Once that gets, yeah, once you're able to share, you're not sure enough to see.

Speaker 2:

How do you?

Speaker 1:

market these products.

Speaker 2:

By just word of mouth right now. So I've been fortunate in having the support of Loudoun County in winning the Loudoun Innovation Challenge, also with the golf world as an LPGA golf professional, there's a huge network of women across the country and around the world that I reach out to and they're like oh yeah, this makes sense and so it's kind of mushrooming kind of organically from that.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, so nothing in terms of paid ads or A little bit of Facebook advertising, a little bit of Google ads, but kind of drop in the bucket. But yeah, word of mouth, that has been the biggest one. Amazon, not yet. So Amazon is an interesting beast, I've heard. So Amazon, some of the algorithms bring the cheapest product to the forefront and then, once it gets popular, you see a lot of knockoffs. That's going to say so. Until I get a little bigger, with name recognition and being able to go after companies that infringe on patents and trademarks, I'm going to wait on the Amazon part.

Speaker 1:

So yeah, Sounds like you've got a strategy, though.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

There's a reason for everything. What is the price point of?

Speaker 2:

one of our packages, so $10.99 for one and it lasts for three months.

Speaker 1:

I feel like I even after it lasts, so you could literally use it for how strong this magnet is. Yes, four, but one of these pretty the movies on it and you can use it on it.

Speaker 2:

Yes, exactly, even though it's called, I still need to come up with a better name than Ballmarkers, because people just use it as decoration, so yeah, that's fun.

Speaker 1:

What do you do on the weekends besides play golf and do instruction for golf?

Speaker 2:

Oh gosh, golf, golf and more golf. So not only do I teach golf, I love playing golf. Sometimes I'll bake and do a little bit of that, but usually I'm like at the golf course. I know right now kind of winter is kind of downtime, but it's a lot of planning, it's a lot of, you know, getting ready for the next year. So yeah, and then plants. I guess that's my other one is I enjoy.

Speaker 1:

You like crazy plant lady or are you like kind of pretty close to plant lady? You know?

Speaker 2:

I used to have a dog and you know with how much I'm on the go I don't have a dog anymore. So kind of plants have taken over and I've learned that you can take African violets and take a cutting from an African violet and grow more. So I probably have close to 30 African violets now in my home.

Speaker 1:

So it's probably very healthy, though, because you've got all that fresh. I've got a couple that I've been able to keep alive in the house. My stepmom she's crazy plant lady where it's all around the house in the house. I love it, though, because you know it's a lot of fun yeah. Looking into the future in terms of like building a business here in Loudoun County. What do you see?

Speaker 2:

Oh gosh, it's just such a great community here in Loudoun County so I want to eventually have another golf instructor, because in the rounds with Robin and the Birdie Bleef project, I work on welcoming brand new women and girl golfers into the game. Everything from like this is the difference between a putter and a pitching wedge to this is the areas of the course. You know all of that to just understand the whole game, but there's only one of me, so I hope to have another instructor that I work with to welcome more women to the game and do that right here in Loudoun County. And then just more inventions.

Speaker 1:

So yeah, that's beautiful. Why is it important for you to be working with women or girls in golf?

Speaker 2:

Just from my own experience in coming into the game of golf. You know a lot of people say golf is the closest game you'll ever get to the game of life. Like you're sitting there, you're overcoming stuff, you're hitting over water, you're getting out of a sand trap, you're trying for your own personal best when you get out there and I mean it's just amazing Like you get to practice this slaying your own dragons every time you go out on the golf course. And I think it's just so important for women and girls to get that practice in kind of a safe space of where you can do that. There's no downside to learning how to play golf. It's not like you're gonna. You know the horse that you can get is like bitten by a bug or snakes Well, unless you have an infusion clip on right. But it's great to get out there and practice overcoming stuff and I think it's just so important for women and girls to practice that skill.

Speaker 1:

I will say the worst thing that happened to me when I tried golf is the people behind me.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yes, there is a commercial before talking about what they call pace of play. It's how fast you navigate through the golf course, like you can't be out there forever. This is not a Sunday walk in the park, so that's one of the things that we go over. Is that that pace of play? But in this commercial, different famous golfers would say well, while play, while we're young. So the whole tagline was while we're young. And yeah, you do have to move along, but we go over that in the instruction of how fast do you have to play so that the people behind you aren't you know, or if they are and they're being rude, you're like no, I had a certain amount of time to play this whole year. You'll just have to wait.

Speaker 1:

I love that. What questions do you wish people would ask that don't ask when it comes to golf.

Speaker 2:

Oh gosh, what questions. I think just the asking questions, right, like so often, we're taught that we're the only ones who didn't understand something that you know we should have got it, or I'll find I call it the puppy dog. Look like you'll say something about golf and people will do this number and they usually have a question, but they feel like they can't ask that question because, well, everybody else knows it and if you've never been there before, how are you supposed to know it? And even if you have been there before I ask the question, it's not as crazy as you think. Like, for example, in golf, you have a par three course, which is usually deemed a practice course, where people are just going out. You have a executive course, which is a mix of par threes and par fours, and then you have a regulation course, which is par threes, par fours and par fives.

Speaker 2:

So I'm explaining to this woman that there's different types of courses. I said there's a par three course and there's, you know, there's. You know we're at a public course. And she goes Well, when do we get to the par four course? And I was like a par four course, what do you mean? And she was like well, don't worry, it's okay. And I was like no, like you have a question, you're asking about a par four course. I'm not quite understanding what you're saying. And she was like no, no, I don't, it's fine, just move on. I was like oh, like, let's dive into this.

Speaker 2:

Well, as a brand new golfer, she thought the courses were set up by how far each hole was. So she thought that there were courses that were all par threes, which she had been to when we were standing at, and she thought that there were courses that were all 18 holes were par fours, and then courses that all 18 holes were par fives. And she was like I don't get it. And I was like oh, no, like I see where you're going with that, but they don't do that. So all of those questions, right, if she had never asked, I would have the same question. I get pretty common. And afterwards I said to her I was like thank you for asking that question and being willing to dive deeper into it, because it does make sense. Like we were just at a par three course and I talked about it like everything's a par three. So the next logical conclusion is everything's a par four, which makes sense, but you don't often stop to think about it, so just the art of asking questions is so important.

Speaker 1:

Do you have like a video channel, YouTube channel or?

Speaker 2:

No, I don't. It's so funny, my golf students. They're like you need to have a YouTube or a video because they call them Robinisms, so I'll say different things on the course, that it's kind of our own language, and they're like you need a Robinism channel and talking about all those things.

Speaker 1:

You do because there are. It's nice to have good representation. Yes, on who can play golf yes, growing up in high school, still in my real experience with golf players, there was a certain look that all of the female and the male golf players adhered to. Oh yeah. And then you show up with your hair and your glasses and it would be wonderful to start having more conversations about that More conversations to show up and be seen.

Speaker 2:

The hair kind of came out of that concept and then I was like I really like this, so I'm going with it. So what happens is you get to a golf course, you park in the parking lot, right, and then you try and find where the golf professional is. And we don't stay put, we're not just standing in one place, I'm all over the place. So when you leave the parking lot, normally when you go to a new place, what do you do? You find the biggest door right. The biggest door is usually the best entrance to start. Well, in a golf course, the biggest door is usually the event or the restaurant space. So you walk in and you see all these people eating and you're like, well, this is not where I'm supposed to be. So then you wander around and you find what's called the pro shop and you're like, okay, the pro shop, maybe the golf professional is here, but no, it's just where you can buy stuff and check in for your round of golf. And there's everyone's milling around checking in. You finally get to the front. The kid at the front is answering the phones and checking people in and doing all sorts of things. So you say to him hey, I'm looking for Robin for my golf lesson and he goes oh, she's at the driving range and he goes back to answering the phones and doing whatever.

Speaker 2:

Like the driving range. What's a driving range Like? This makes no sense. I parked in the parking lot but now I have to find the driving range. Like what's the driving range? And the driving range is the field that you hit balls into and sometimes you're hitting a driver into this range. But it doesn't really. If you're brand new to golf, it doesn't really make sense. So I tell women, look for the woman with the pink hair. There we go, and so they wander out. They don't want to now ask this kid again where the driving range is. So they wander out and they start looking around and they can see me a mile away with pink hair and they're like, oh, that must be the driving range.

Speaker 2:

That's how it started, and then I was like oh wait, I like this.

Speaker 1:

Do you have sunglasses of that match? Yes, I was gonna say you need to have sunglasses. That match.

Speaker 2:

I have a few pairs, some are transition lenses.

Speaker 1:

There we go, so yeah.

Speaker 2:

Perfect.

Speaker 1:

That's awesome. Now, just to kind of wrap things up, what is one message that you would like to share with the world?

Speaker 2:

Oh man, One message, there can only be one. But don't accept status quo Like ask yourself why you do certain things. Why do you spray yourself with bug spray? Why do you tie your shoes this way? Why do you do all of the things that you do? And you might just find an alternate way of doing things and it could be the next invention out there. So yeah, ask yourself why.

Speaker 1:

And if you don't like the answer, find a different way.

Speaker 2:

Yes, yes exactly.

Speaker 1:

I love that. Thank you so much for coming today and sharing your story. And these are fun just to play with. Just that's fine I know right.

Speaker 2:

I found out that they're also good for finding studs on the walls.

Speaker 1:

Mm-hmm, that's smart. Look at you with all these other ways of using your products. Yes, thank you for being here. Thank you.

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