When Nicole Thomas had a problem with a flip-flop falling apart, it sparked the idea for an invention.
A few years later, the Evans woman has developed Fix A Flop, which is being sold on AsSeenOnTV.com. She applied for a patent in 2010 and said her product was first offered on the site in April.
“Being on AsSeenOnTv is an awesome thing,” Thomas said. Her product offers “a convenient way to fix your flip-flops when they bust out from the sole.”
The Fix A Flop patch is made from a durable rubber and foam material and comes in a variety of colors. It has adhesive on one side to stick to the bottom of the shoe. The patch is shaped like the sole of a flip-flop. A key-ring carrying pouch is included.
“It’s hard to find colored rubber, so that’s why we had to blend it with the foam to get the color,” Thomas said. “In the long run, I want to have a manufacturing company.”
Fix A Flop is made in Arizona because Thomas lacks the machinery, but she makes smaller orders by hand at home. She buys her materials from a Filipino family that operates a company in China because she couldn’t find what she was looking for in the U.S., she said.
After conceiving the idea, Thomas said, she did research online and completed her patent application herself, complete with drawings and descriptions, in nine months.
“The main thing in your patent is your claim. What are you claiming that your product can do?” she said.
Thomas studied business administration and marketing at Augusta State University, and she said several of her female professors encouraged her entrepreneurial spirit. She’s been an entrepreneur since childhood, selling candy to other kids, and said she has ideas for future patents. She would also like Fix A Flop to be carried in stores.
“So many people wear flip-flops. If flip-flops are a household name, Fix A Flop can be. Getting it in front of people’s eyes is the goal right now,” Thomas said.
She said she still has a lot of work to promote the product and wants to build a brand that includes flip-flops, beach bags and beach-related products.
A portion of the proceeds benefits St. Jude’s Partners in Hope in the name of her company, Sage Wage Inc.
Thomas has applied to appear on Shark Tank, an ABC show in which entrepreneurs pitch their products in hopes of making a business deal.