He’s a Connecticut inventor who is hoping to hit it big with a little kick-start from the community.
His name is Ryan Rist and he’s the brain behind “Rist Custom Coasters”. He’s also an 18-year-old senior at Brookfield High School.
“They can choose anything from their high school logo to pictures from their vacation, pictures from their wedding,” says Rist, promoting his products.
He launched the coasters June 1 on Kickstarter.com – a site where users post a video of their project idea, prototypes, and then seek crowd-sourced funding. Those who donate are rewarded with an early sample or discounted product.
They also might just feel good about helping a starting entrepreneur.
“I’m hoping it takes off.. the goal right now is only $500 – that’s the minimum I need to really start making them for people,” says Rist.
But Rist has already come a long way since December, when he began designing the custom coasters with his dad.
They used high-tech machines and relatively basic materials to put a fun and functional spin on traditional beverage coasters.
“With computer-aided drafting we drew it and then we used a 3D printer at my school to make some prototypes and pick the actual design,” says Rist.
Not only are the coasters completely customizable with personal images, but they’re also water absorbent. While Rist hopes it becomes a full-fledged business, it all started with a project at this high school.
“He’s really worked hard and I believe that the lessons he’s learned throughout this process are going to serve him well,” says Brookfield High School Principal Joe Palumbo.
Palumbo says Ryan’s Kickstarter is just one of 130 Capstone projects by Brookfield seniors, but it may be the only one, with a chance for success as a “startup” business.
But it hasn’t come without trial and error as some early product samples show via their twisted corners.
With a final product in hand, Rist had a professional video created that sums up his product to strangers who could become investors.
It’s not his first foray into inventing though.
A 9-year-old Rist created a dual-sided bowl that keeps cereal crunchy as you eat. That idea wasn’t for sale.
But this time around, Rist is looking to turn a profit, and at least hoping to get an “A” on that senior project.
“I don’t really know what’s in store for me, but I’m optimistic about my future.”