Invention Addresses Pocket Clutter

December 31, 2003
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GRAND RAPIDS — Bill Brock says he knows what an uphill battle it can be trying to re-invent the wheel, but the Grand Rapids-based businessman has designed something new with an eye toward some things many business people have in common.

Brock owns the Wonderland Group, which is a printing solutions company, but his passion for wallets has led to the invention of the Brockfolio, a sleek and slim pocket organizer.

The Brockfolio combines four pocket accessories into one small package. It includes a quick-access pen, front pocket wallet, card case and memo pad.

“It’s for people on the go,” Brock said. “What makes it innovative is the fact that most people in the professional world have lots of tools we can use to organize our lives. This one is simple, elegant and convenient to use wherever you go.”

A big selling point of the Brockfolio is its small size, according to Brock.

The leather wallet measures 3 inches by 4 inches, and fits into the palm of a hand.

“What I discovered a few years ago was the idea that I don’t like pocket clutter, and others don’t either,” Brock said. “It struck me from a networking standpoint after hours, during events or conferences.

“When you meet someone very important and you may not have a card or pen to communicate or take notes, people too often end up scratching something down on a napkin or something. We’ve always found a way to adapt, but I found that what was once a fluid experience could become very chaotic.

“It was an irritant to me, and I felt that it might be an irritant to other people, as well. So I began working on developing the Brockfolio.

“Secondly, how many times — if you are an idea person or like to take notes about little things for later transfer — have you had an idea or something come to you and you wish you had something to jot it down on?

“The idea was to re-invent the wallet and streamline it to give it compactness along with the essential compartments to carry the essential things you need.”

Brock said that his new product was not designed to compete with Franklin Planners, cell phones, PDAs or laptop computers. Its value, he claims, is in its portability and availability.

“Most people still carry a wallet and those who don’t carry a slim wallet or money clip,” he said. “But one thing is that they like them small for portability and comfort.

“We wanted to address those little things which are so big for a lot of people at a subconscious level, and that is basically what Brockfolio does.”

The Brockfolio integrates a pen holster and pen that was profiled for quick accessibility and comfort-ability, according to Brock. A credit card or business card holder, as well as a note holder completes the package.

“You can do all this on the fly with no interruption using a good old-fashioned pen and paper, which we, as a company, believe will live on forever,” Brock said. “People always have ideas and need to jot things down, and technology can never replace that for a large number of people in the world.

“There are better portable PDA-type devices, and they will get better. But there is just something magical about getting a piece of paper and jotting it down, getting a phone number and getting it quickly.”

Brock, who was born in Los Angeles, has lived in West Michigan for 14 years. After working in the insurance business, he went to work for Wonderland Business Forms Inc., before purchasing the company from Betty Burton. He renamed the company the Wonderland Group.

The Brockfolio retails for $39 for the base model. With the addition of a larger, Elite pen, the price is $49. Notecards are available for $5 for a pack of 50.

“We’re bringing the wallet, pen and paper together in one compact unit for people on the go who want to connect with people, and be able to do that more efficiently,” Brock said. “We explored all potential markets for the product.

“With wallets, finding a way to re-invent them has been a love affair for me for a long time. My goal is to make Brock products synonymous with Coach and those great companies that have gained reputations as quality producers of wallets and accessories, and we feel we need to be at more of a high end of the market to achieve that.”

A pair of launch parties in May introduced the new pocket organizer to West Michigan, and a Web site (www.brockfolio.com) has been created.

“I shook a lot of people’s hands and we sold a lot of products,” Brock said. “It was absolutely phenomenal.”

Brock said that demographic research revealed that virtually anyone from a CEO, to a person interested in networking, to an ideas person, to a player, can benefit from the Brockfolio.

“We define a person who would use a Brockfolio as a person who is on the go, who is a networker or socializer and one who has a lot of outgoing qualities,” Brock said. “There is no particular sex or age market to that, but within it are segments of people who could benefit from it, such as the professional networking market, business people, college educated, who can have a wallet and can take that wallet and have all the tools they need to react to life on the go, 24 hours a day.

“Then there is the younger market of college-age people to 27 or 28 years old who are single and want a younger man’s wallet. That is another hot market. They are people who may not necessarily be business professionals, but are doing their thing.”

Brock said his company out-sources for the different components for the Brockfolio — including leather for the wallet case, pens and paper — and assembles the product in Grand Rapids.

“One of our goals is to create jobs on the manufacturing level, as well as the promoting side as we continue to gain success,” he said.

Brock said he also may consider listening to offers for the patent rights to the Brockfolio by a larger, brand name company.

“It’s amazing how tightly we’re tied to branding in conceptual value,” Brock said. “We may sell our rights to patent to a company like that as long as we can produce the product for that company.

“Our team knew we developed something very special. So far, people have responded with great vigor to the product.”           

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