TAPECUTTER TAKES OFF
Local invention catches painters’ attention
Lee Mallahan III, founder/chief executive officer of Tadpole Tapecutter, created a product that has been found to be incredibly useful and successful almost overnight, according to its developer and recent success on home shopping channels.
“I invented the Tadpole for painting, and now it is for just about every tape on the planet,” Mallahan said.
The Tadpole Tapecutter, which is fully patented, is desirable in that it gives a clean-cut edge, is 32 times lighter than tape guns and transfers to another roll of tape in seconds (with the use of a bungee cord). Also, it isn’t disposable.
“It’s great for anyone painting, packaging and into DIY or arts and crafts,” Mallahan said.
The Tadpole Tapecutter was invented out of necessity. “I had to paint my front doors and spent entirely too much time trying to tape up all the windows,” Mallahan said. “I’m not a good painter, so masking is a must and doesn’t get that clean, straight cut for the corners.”
In frustration, Mallahan stopped what he was doing to go buy something to make the job quicker, and realized it didn’t exist.
When he went back home, he grabbed a steak knife, put it on blue painter’s tape and “RIP.” “I had a clean cut for corners,” Mallahan said. “The job went from one hour to 15 minutes.”
The Tadpole Tapecutter competed in the Louisiana Startup Prize competition, whose mission is to connect entrepreneurs with mentors and experts that can help grow a business from a mere idea to a business. The Tadpole Tapecutter made it to the finals.
Mallahan has been very pleased with the success the product has had. “We won the highest Inventors Award at the Las Vegas Hardware Show, which is second largest show in the world,” he said.
They also went on Home Shopping Network (HSN) and sold 1,900 Tapecutters (three-pack combos) in a matter of minutes.
“I was told that HSN expected to do half of that.” Mallahan said. “They just placed a larger order, five pallets, and we are invited back for another show.”
Tadpole Tapecutter was also featured on the DIY Network. “We are shipping to Wal-Mart, approximately 1,500 stores, starting end of August,” Mallahan said.
But that’s not all. “Ace has committed to taking on Tadpole on a National Roll Out, and Sherwin Williams is doing a test nationwide,” Mallahan said. “Also, Houzz, Rockler, Duluth Trading Co., Kelly Moore Paint, CNRG and The Grommet and several smaller hardware stores from Monroe to Dallas have the product and are putting in purchase orders.”
Mallahan and his team have also been in talks with four of the largest tape manufacturers in America. “We have distribution set up in Canada and Mexico with other countries already having the product to move forward,” Mallahan said. “We have international protection in 175 countries. All of this has transpired since the Vegas Show in May earlier this year.”
Tadpole Tapecutter is also proud to have the Louisiana Association for the Blind doing all of their assembly and packaging. “They are a very fine group of hard working people,” Mallahan said. “We’re 100 percent made in America and made right here at home.”
Mallahan is working on some new product ideas regarding safety and protection for future products he hopes to put into motion soon. He respects other entrepreneurs in the area and hopes to give back via opportunities through CoHab.
Cohab, a local nonprofit hub providing entrepreneurs at all levels the traction to achieve success, is located at 500 Clyde Fant Pkwy., Suite 200 in Shreveport.
“Tadpole is full-time and fun,” Mallahan said. “I would very much like to give back and help new inventors through CoHab in the future.”
Jessica Schiele, interim executive director at CoHab, loves her job and the success she gets to see on a daily business from local hardworking individuals.
“CoHab is a place for entrepreneurs in our community to come together, learn about building stronger businesses and support each other,” Schiele said. “I believe every entrepreneur at any stage can benefit from having other entrepreneurs and mentors to lean on and learn from.”
Mallahan believes CoHab is incredibly important to new businesses and ideas in the community. “CoHab is just as important to them as GPS is to anyone needing directions,” Mallahan said. “The team at CoHab not only wants to help individuals succeed, but they have the knowledge, environment and connections to do just that.”
Schiele couldn’t agree more.
“Shreveport-Bossier is an amazing place, and our entrepreneurs and small business owners work hard every day – not just to find success for themselves and their families but also to share that success with their neighbors and to be able to give back to their community,” Schiele said.
– Betsy St. Amant
For more information on Cohab, visit: http:// www.cohab.org/.
For more information on the Tadpole Tapecutter, visit http://www.tadpoletapecutter. com/.