In most instances it would not be out of the ordinary to say “This was a long-time coming,” getting this part from my brain to being ready for production. But here we are, ready to take orders on our covers for the rear seat floor latches. This whole process came about very quickly...and I’m really glad it happened the way it did. I hope those that buy them for their Elements will find them useful for a long time. I post this not to brag but to share in the experience for those interested in the process. There’s a reason “Shark Tank” and “Dragon’s Den” have big audiences.
First prototype was ready for application testing Jan 20. I believe there were six or seven revisions due to the original design being too flimsy; it would bend too easily just trying to unfasten it from the seat latch rods mounted to the floor on our ‘04 Element. First versions were 18ga. steel. We bumped up to 16ga., the thickest stock that could still be formed and keep the fastening system from being too thick to act as fasteners. The manufacturing team did a great job in getting the changes implemented, especially from my shoddy welded visual experiments.
On Friday, Feb 5, I picked up the latest prototype set, knowing that we were close on the previous version. They fit far better than I initially anticipated when coming up with this idea. I was so excited that I threw some hammered-finish flat-black paint on a pair of the plates and put them in the Element while still a little tacky to the touch. I posted the pics on Facebook and things blew up from there. I had initially planned on ordering 10 sets to see if other E owners would be interested in ‘em. Yeah, there’s interest!
I hadn’t seen any other versions on the market, only heard about them. Luckily I was able to compare my prototypes to versions from 2018, thanks to E-owner Scott. Although the execution is similar the products are a bit different. I was adamant that ours needed to be one piece of steel for strength and no additional fasteners that could break off or slow down production, and to keep cost to a minimum—although the cost of steel has increased significantly.
From that Friday-night post, there were over 200 E owners interested in these covers within 24 hours. You guys are nuts! And I’m glad you are. Late Friday night I came up with the plan to launch this as a new product, based solely on the overwhelming positive comments from Facebook E Owners, and also Lovers. I’m not sure how I got everything done to get ready for launch in five days. Coffee anyone?
I can’t tell the people reading this enough of how wonderful it was getting to see the enthusiasm from FB group members. It was also nice to see pictures of the people as I built the “want”/“need” list from all the messages. Something I won’t get to do as I automate order taking, but maybe down the road ElementDriven can sponsor an Element cruise-in/rally and we can see each other in real life. Who’s in?
Welcome to ElementDriven Lunch Launch day as I’m very excited to let Element owners see more info, pricing and place pre-orders starting at Noon (PST).
Look for the latest updates and E news right here every Tuesday.
Thanks, and take it E-zee, gang.