The best innovations are always the ones that solve a problem. Justin Jolls invented the paint tray saver while he was doing some painting at his parents’ house. The paint tray saver is a new painting accessory on the market called the paint tray saver, a vacuum sealable paint tray liner that fits any size paint tray. He says one of the tricks they always used was a grocery bag flipped inside out and line the paint tray with that. The issue with it is it slides around on the paint tray and when the paint gets low enough, the roller sticks to it and you end up making more of a mess than anything. At that time, space bags were becoming popular and a light bulb went off in his head. Why not combine the two? Justin says you’ll find your special sauce when you come along and show people a better way to do things.
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Solving Your Painting Problem The Paint Tray Saver Way with Justin Jolls
We’ve got a special guest with us, Justin Jolls of PaintTraySaver.com. Justin, thanks so much for joining us.
It’s a pleasure to be here, Seth. Thanks for having me.
For those of our folks who don’t know, what his Paint Tray Saver?
Paint Tray Saver is the new painting accessory on the market. We just launched it. I’m the inventor of it. It’s a vacuum sealable paint tray liner. It fits any size paint tray. Instead of having to go into a store and guess what size paint tray that you have at home and hope that the liner fits it when you get home, you can use our product. It fits any size paint tray. When you get home, it makes cleaning up after you’re done painting a breeze, you just unseal it, roll it inside out and you don’t have to worry about ever cleaning a paint tray again.
How did this come about? How did you invent this?
I was doing some painting at my parents’ house. They are getting ready to list their house and one of the tricks that we had used was we always used to use a grocery bag. We flip it inside out and line the paint tray with that. The issue with it is it slides around on the paint tray and when the paint gets low enough, the roller sticks to it and you end up making more of a mess than anything. At that time, space bags were becoming popular and a light bulb went off in my head, why not combine the two? My first initial thought was someone must have thought of this already. We did some research into it and some patent research and no one had. We went ahead and filed a provisional patent and away we went.
If I heard what you said correctly, it soundslike there are other competing paint tray liners on the market, but the fundamental flaw there is they’re all different sizes and none of them are vacuum sealed. Is that what makes yours unique is the vacuum seal? It custom shrinks to whatever you’ve got?
Yes. Each one of the formed liners is manufacturer and model-specific. You may be able to guess the manufacture, but there are standard and deep well paint trays. If you buy a standard liner and you have a deep well, they’re not going to fit properly. I have an example of a paint tray that you normally can buy and a liner. Here’s a dirty paint tray and you have a liner here. As you can see, it’s oversized, it doesn’t fit into it. When you get home that’s another trip back to the hardware store or just being frustrated.
That’s a hard-plastic liner. Are there any other plastic bag liners people can buy on the market and what are the issues with those?
We’re the only plastic bag liner out there. There are other ones that cover the paint tray to preserve the paint that’s in it, but we’re the only liner that protects the paint from coming into contact with the paint tray.
You had a problem, you look for a way to solve it. There wasn’t one, you invented your own and now you’ve got something brand new that doesn’t exist in the marketplace before you.
We’re very excited about it.
What was your background before this? Were you a painter? Were you what?
How this came into being, my full-time job was in the healthcare industry but my dad had owned a lumber yard for a long time. By being his son, I learned the trade of construction and painting. I have always been into home improvement and doing little odd jobs around the house. I went to school for entrepreneurship and management. Through that we learned about the ideation process, how to come up with ideas and build them into full business plans, business models, and things like that. All that culminated into this. I left my full-time job to follow this full-time and go after it.
That’s an incredible journey. Where are you in the Paint Tray Saver process? You’ve got your patent. You’ve got a physical product. Where are you in terms of retail distribution, in terms of sales? How is that going? Have you started that yet?
We kicked off sales. We’re located down in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Basically, we launched with the Chattanooga Home Show. We figured that will be our prime demographic to do some proof of concept testing and determine is this going to fly? Is it worth going after? The feedback that we got from there was phenomenal. We ended up pushing out over 100 units for a small home show, which we were impressed with. More than anything, it was the demographic research and also the feedback from people. We only had two folks out of probably a thousand people that we talked to and pitched that had negative feedback on it.
That’s a pretty good ratio.
We were excited about that.
That’s awesome that you went and talked directly to your target market and found out what they thought. Obviously, positive validation is great. Sales or even better, you’ve got both. You did well at the Chattanooga Home Show. What comes next?
We’re lining up other home shows and we’re also working on retail distribution. We have a couple of demo days planned with some local hardware storeswhere we’re going to be onsite demoing the product, talking to people about it. The one thing that we’ve found is it’s a demonstrable product. When people see it, they get it automatically and it makes sense. When we try to write audio copy or anythinglike that, it’s difficult to make that pitch that way.
It’s a marketing play. It’s a visual sale. They either need to see it in person. Your packaging needs to have the visual demonstration of that or online, it’s a pure viral video play. You could make something funny where you’ve got someone doing the old way, making a giant mess, and someone coming along and showing them the better way and run that in front of everybody. Every homeowner, every person following HGTV and all of the flip this house shows. What about the B2B component? What about selling this directly to contractors like painters?
We’ve had quite a bit of success with that. It’s a niche within the contractor market though. The bigger contractors, they’re going to be shooting paint through spray guns or they’re going to have five-gallon buckets which the product doesn’t necessarily work for. Where we found our special sauce is with the handymen who do odd jobs. They’re doing paint jobs, whatever works that needs to be done around houses, and they’ll be using regular sized paint tray. We’ve had a lot of great feedback from them because the value proposition to them is they don’t have to go to the homeowner and ask, “Can I wash out the paint tray in your sink?” and stain your countertops. They just roll it inside out when they’re done with their job. They walk out with it and it makes it a very easy sell for them.
You’re working on obviously getting the physical product, getting into physical stores. What about online? What about selling direct to consumer online?
We’ve launched online. We created a little a how-to video. We’re also working on a similar to what you were saying about the viral video. We’re working on a little bit of an infomercial to launch the show. How this makes your life easier? Most people that we’ve talked to, they hate painting, they love the results of it but the process is a pain for them. It’s hitting those pain points in a visual manner and getting that video out to them.
What about social media? Do you guys have a social media presence yet? How’s that going?
We do. Most of the social media has been to support our retail endeavors. We’re starting to kick off our online presence but we see social media as a huge benefactor for supporting both the retail sales. Once we get the product on the shelves, we have to move them that they don’t sell them back to us. We want to use that to make sure that we’re supporting our partners that are willing to take a chance on this product and put us in their stores. We’re saying online sales and driving that as well.
Do you have the product?
Here’s our primary packaging. It gives a little depiction of it. Some quick instructions on the side here and then a little bit more about the product. Each carton comes with five liners and then also a handheld vacuum pump. If you are outdoors staining a deck or painting somewhere where there isn’t electricity, we have you covered with the handheld pump. Each bag has a little vacuum valve on it and Ziploc seal. You would put the paint tray inside of it. What you get here is you get an airtight seal on your paint tray and you still get to use all the ribs to distribute the paint evenly on your roller. What’s nice about it and from our customers, what we found out that they love is when you’re done, when you roll it inside out, you have all the paint trapped inside of here. It also is a nice little trash bag for any used painter’s tape or if you have a used brush or roller cover, you can throw everything in here. You don’t have to worry about getting your hands dirty or anything like that and you’re good to go.
You’ve really created a way to improve a dirty situation and eliminated it. Obviously, you’re going to get Paint Tray to market, ultimately look for national retail distribution, ultimately look to be on every Home Depot, every Lowe’s, every hardware store and conquer the paint tray markets. Since you came up with that idea, have you ever invented anything before it?
No. This was the first invention.
At the moment, you’re a one skew company, correct?
Yes, we are.
Any thoughts about developing other related paint products to broaden the line?
In the short time that we’ve had and going through this process, once we’ve built the channels and everything like that, we want to be able to have several products and have a product line that we can create a mess-free painting a system that we can sell to folks and make their life easier and take a pain point away from them.
You could own the paint tray. For folks in our audience who are interested in getting their hands on a Paint Tray, obviously we’re not in Home Depot yet, so they can’t necessarily go to their local hardware store and say, “You should carry this,” which would be helpful. In the meantime, they can order them directly from you. Is PaintTraySaver.com the best place to send them?
Yes, that’s the best place.
Anything else you want to share about this awesome product?
No. We love the support that we’ve gotten from you and I can’t wait to see where this goes.
Thanks everybody in our audience. This has been Seth Greene on SharkPreneur with Justin Jolls of PaintTraySaver.com. Go get your Paint Tray Saver now.