Andrew DARLOW: Inventor of the GalleryPouch™

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  • Tell us something about yourself, your background:

I’ve been a photographer for many years, first as an enthusiast from about age 12-20, and then as a professional photographer for about the last 30 years. I also love traveling, and was fortunate to have had a number of opportunities to live and study in Asia and Europe. One experience was as an exchange student to Japan right after high school, and another was a study abroad program in Europe which I attended for four months after completing my undergraduate degree in finance and international business.

My love of photography and the opportunity to join a family business in New York City led me to help build a new photo studio and start a career doing still-life and portraiture work for magazines, catalogs and advertisements. I then began making large-scale prints at photo labs and on high-end inkjet printers. That led to exhibiting my work, teaching workshops, and doing consulting. I also started doing a lot of writing for books and magazines, and to date, I’ve had four award-winning books published (all related to photography).

I currently live in New Jersey with my wife and son, and I’m now more focused than ever on generating new ideas to present to potential licensees in a number of different industries.

•    Tell us about the product you invented with a brief explanation

GalleryPouch™ is a premium, reusable, rigid double-laminated protective bubble bag designed for protecting artwork as well as other items. GalleryPouch™ bubble bags are made from transparent, heavyweight laminated 3/16 inch polyethylene bubble. Unlike other rolled bubble products, there are no exposed bubbles, which protects the bubble by making it difficult to pop. Both sides of the product are smooth, making it easy to slip in artwork and pack it for shipping or other transport. GalleryPouch™ is available with or without a Velcro® brand closure. The Velcro® brand closure allows the height of the bag to be custom-tailored. Customers simply remove the adhesive backing from the Velcro® brand strip after placing artwork or other items in the bag, and then adhere the Velcro® to the front of the bag.

•    How/Why did you start inventing. What set you off?

After having my work exhibited in a few group and solo exhibitions, I learned “the hard way” how easy it was for artwork to get damaged if care was not taken every step of the way. During delivery and initial hanging of my work, I had protected my frames with Kraft paper and typical bubble material from a roll, which I secured with tape to keep it in place. But after unwrapping everything, I was left with a mangled mess of bubble and tape that could not be used again without a lot of headaches. After seeing my frames damaged when I came to pick them up from the venue (it does not take much to damage framed prints, especially if they have wire hangers attached), I was very determined to find a better way.

•    How did you get from idea to finished product?

In early 2009, I contacted Mark Rogers, president of Frame Destination, a Dallas, TX and internet-based supplier of fine-art photography picture frames and framing supplies. I asked Mark if he could make custom bubble bags for my art if I told him the dimensions I needed. He said he would give it a try. And I’m very happy and grateful he did! A few days later, I was pleased to receive some large custom bags made from lightweight bubble and sealed on the equipment he used for other heat-sealing applications.

I was impressed with the results, but not with the quality of the bubble or the edge seals, so after working out some initial terms of a licensing agreement, Mark and I started searching for a heavyweight bubble material that was heavyweight, had no exposed bubbles, and had bubbles that did not pop easily. The hook-and-loop closure was another area in which we tested numerous options, and for a number or reasons, we decided to use Velcro® brand closures for one of the two bag options. That led to the purchase of a special machine that allowed the company to use the heavyweight material and make very strong, even seams. And with that (and some brainstorming about the product name), the GalleryPouch™ was born! Mark then worked with his developers to build a calculator for his company’s website to help people find the right size bags for their specific artworks (or other items). I also created a video to help describe the benefits of the bags, which was posted on YouTube and embedded in the company’s website (it is still used on the product page to this day!).

Since then, FrameDestination.com has made thousands of GalleryPouch™ art bubble bags by hand, in sizes up to 52×156 inches, and in quantities as few as one. I’m especially proud when I read the many positive reviews for the bags from artists who rely on them to protect their work. And knowing that the bags are being reused over and over instead of going to landfills in the form of used piles of bubble and tape is especially gratifying.

•    Let us know of useful resources that helped you i.e. Books, websites, software etc

I credit many different online resources, books, podcasts, friends and family members (especially my dad), who have inspired me over the years to go after my dreams. Regarding inventing and licensing, at the top of my list are Stephen Key and Andrew Krauss (co-founders of inventRight®), for teaching me through example after example about successful licensing strategies on webinars and other media over the last 15 years. Most importantly, they helped give me the confidence I needed to present my ideas to FrameDestination.com. I also have to give credit to Ronald Louis Docie through his book, The Inventor’s Bible, for guiding me early on in many ways.

Since licensing the GalleryPouch™ to Frame Destination, I’ve continued to learn so much from Stephen, Andrew, and the InventRight YouTube channel, as well as from Stephen Key and his colleagues’ books, including: One Simple Idea, One Simple Idea for Startups and Entrepreneurs and Licensing Ideas using LinkedIn®. And because I want to do a lot more licensing, I became a student in the inventRight Academy, which is a very hands-on, comprehensive six month program primarily designed to help inventors license products.

•    Where are you with your product?

Every GalleryPouch™ bag is assembled by hand and sold exclusively at FrameDestination.com. I should also note that like all of the items sold by them, the product is currently available for shipment only to addresses in the USA.

--End of Interview--
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