My name is Derek Richmond. I went to college for engineering, focusing on fluid mechanics and thermodynamics. After college, I went to law school and practiced patent law for twenty years. During my time practicing patent law, I spent hours upon hours working with inventors, entrepreneurs and established businesses to define the novelty in products that are being introduced to the world.
The problem was that I could not escape the creative itch. I felt like I was witnessing work that would make someone’s life better, more enjoyable, more efficient or just downright different. During my second decade of practice, I kept having the nagging thought that “I don’t create anything.” My personality would not allow me to be a spectator of innovation; I wanted to be an initiator of it.
I always thought that I would eventually start and run a consumer business but that I would do it “when the time is right.” Then, right around 2017, a number of life events happened. My dad (my hero) was hit with a debilitating illness; some very close family members died; and I found out that some old friends from my youth died. I realized there was no point in waiting until “the time is right” to build something – tomorrow is today and the time will never be ”right.”
I looked at a couple of different ideas for building a product that would either help people or make their lives more enjoyable. I eventually gave up “looking” and waited for the product to find me.
One day on my way to work, it hit me that I do not have the right coffee mug that will allow me to drink coffee the way I like to drink it. I involve my sense of smell when I drink my coffee (when I drink my wine too, but that’s a story for another day). The problem is that travel mugs block the sense of smell from the coffee drinking experience. So I skipped the travel mug altogether and just took a ceramic mug with me on the way to work. Of course, this was not a long term solution. It took quite a few iterations, but I developed a product that I would use and be happy with. So I wrote up a patent application and started to design the prototype. My work results in the DEEL and the LEED.