Before he was an inventor, Tom Medwin Jr. spent 10+ years as a youth and worship pastor who later started Church on the Beach on the beautiful Atlantic coast of central Florida. As Tom’s family grew so did the challenge of providing for them on a miniscule income. Something had to change.
Like many of you Tom is an avid fan of the hit TV show “Shark Tank.” During years of watching a desire stirred to invent and create something exciting. But what? While many people claim to have a “light bulb” moment where an invention idea hits them, Tom went about his days “looking” for a problem to solve or a way to make life better and more interesting for people.
Starting with his morning routine, Tom realized that rarely if ever did he finish a warm cup of coffee. Sometimes it’s helping to get kids ready for school in the morning, other times it’s getting lost in an email, and every time it’s the fact that coffee loses it’s warmth rapidly. He tried using a travel mug, however drinking from plastic at home or in the office isn’t great, especially compared to the warmth and comfort of ceramic. When thinking about the ceramic mug Tom realized that there’s been no real improvement to it’s utility or function in a long time (it turns out 600 AD was the last significant innovation with the invention of ceramic in China).
Tom played with a few designs for a built-in lid and that’s when the light bulb moment happened. This will make the lid warm and it would be a perfect mini warming plate for donuts! And so the Best. Morning. Ever. Mug was born. It met the requirements Tom was looking for. Mass market potential? Check. Solves a problem? Check. Would make people smile when they see it? Check. A little piece of Tom’s personality and quirkiness? Check. Money to manufacture it and start a business? UNcheck! Lack of funds had been the ongoing challenge that led to this point to begin with, so how in the world do you move forward from here? Where there’s a will there’s a way!
Tom made some crude photoshop designs and even cruder rough prototypes. It was enough, though, to show a ceramic factory the idea. They liked it and sent him some samples. After a few rounds of prototyping Tom had a finished product that worked! This was enough to take some pictures, shoot a video, and put a Kickstarter project together. The rest as they say is history!
The Kickstarter meant to serve as a true market test of whether people would buy the mug. After 24 hours the project received the coveted “Staff Pick” award from Kickstarter. Tom soon got word that his mug was going viral on the Mental Floss Facebook page with nearly 7,000 shares! Other sites like Geekologie and even Inc. helped to fuel the campaign which raised over $15,000 and met 300+% of Tom’s goal! As fate would have it, Tom got a call from Good Morning America who invited him to appear live on the show on the very same morning that his Kickstarter ended. Where there’s a will there’s a way!
Tom jumped all in to start his business full-time and continues to lead his beloved Church on the Beach. Tom is married to his amazing wife Alicia and has three children Noah, Kylie, and Sadie. He loves surfing, the great outdoors, encouraging others to experience life, and… well coffee and donuts of course!
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