In a world where markets are flooded with inventors and businesses, one might wonder how exactly do they get their starts? Is it because they know someone in a particular industry?
One thing every inventor and entrepreneur will tell you is that perseverance is key and to find motivation to keep going. That holds true in the case of E. Patricia Debrick.
Debrick was born May 13, 1947, in Hampton, Va. She has achieved many accolades, winning Miss Howard High in 1964. She was a member of Junior Achievement and Junior NAACP. She earning her bachelor’s degree in health and physical education from Delaware State University in 1972, in addition to two degrees from the University of the District of Columbia (an associate in computer accounting and master’s degree in business administration). Debrick worked for the District of Columbia for 22 years—14 years in education and eight years at Public Safety and Justice Cluster. Debrick is a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
One winter morning, Debrick arrived at work freezing cold after taking public transportation and walking. Debrick was unhappy about how her scarfs and garments would fall loose and expose her skin to the cold air. An assistant manager overheard her voicing her displeasure and told her, “Stop fussing and make something.”
At that moment, Debrick knew her next move. Accompanied by a co-worker Debrick went to a fabric store and purchased some fabric, from which she created Breeze-Wind.
Breeze Wind is a winter scarf that wraps around the neck, unfolds to a three-quarter wrap temple to temple with a U-shaped opening for viewing, covering the face up to the user’s eyes. The target market for the Breeze Wind scarf consists of working-class commuters using public transportation, outdoor workers such as school guards, telephone and electrical repair people and people who attend winter sports events.
Debrick began testing the market for her product by having samples made in a New York workshop and sold tat Pennsylvania, District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia flea markets. All the samples were purchased. Debrick was motivated to submit her product for the “QVC Oprah’s Next Big Idea” show in March 2005. Although he product was not selected, Debrick was grateful for the exposure.
Debrick also has an interest in modular homes. She split her time between the modular homes business in the summer and Breeze-Wind in the winter. Unfortunately, the modular home business didn’t work out, and Debrick gave her full attention to Breeze-Wind. In the summer of 2005, she applied for a patent with an attachment for overseas licensing.
When things began to look up for Debrick adversity struck. In 2007, she was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer, and her doctor recommended a year of treatment. Because cancer was hereditary on both sides of her family and she is the oldest in her family, she was placed on a five-year cancer treatment plan. In 2009 she was informed by a patent agent that she had to show that the design of her scarf was different from the designs for which two other patents had been applied.
Debrick visited the Patent Library in Alexandria, Va., where she learned how to write her patent arguments. She wrote them for a year and half, but the arguments were rejected. After hiring a patent lawyer in 2010 to argue on her behalf, Debrick she received her patent in 2012.
After receiving her patent, Debrick audition for the show “Shark Tank” in 2013, where she was rejected once again. This rejection prompted Debrick to see if there were any improvements she could make to her product. She determined that Breeze-Wind could be improved. She bought a sewing machine and made the improvements herself.
After she revamped the Breeze-Wind scarf, Debrick attended a free Google web seminar where she set up her new website. She hired a photographer and friends to model Breeze-Wind in its six adjustments. In September 2015, Debrick launched her new website, www.breeze-wind.com. In November 2016, after contacting 72 companies Debrick found a company in China that agreed to her pricing and placed an order.
Debrick now is working on increasing traffic to her website, and selling at the local holiday events proved to be successful. Debrick’s charity work extends to the street newspapers for the homeless. She has provided 55 Breeze-Wind scarfs to street newspaper distributor to keep them warm. She has also made donations to the Mary House organization that provides housing for homeless adults.
For more information on Debrick and her Breeze-Wind product, please visit www.breeze-wind.com.