The MagEyes Story -
How an ordinary trip to the dentist turned into a successful business!
Mary Frances Sherlock, in 1992, her invention of a hands free, head mounted,
dual lens magnifier seemed just a prayer and a dream; but by 1997 MagEyes
had sold by the thousands and was a 1995 product finalist for the Product
Excellence Award sponsored by PJS Publications and Craft Trends magazine.
MagEyes has become a successful product in the $11 billion
craft and hobby business because of it s unique head mounted magnifier
design which gives vision enhancement to all types of people doing close
precision work, or just simply reading. And to think it all began with
a trip to her dentist ( he was using an expensive medical magnifier which
he gave to her to use) and Mary Frances being a keen observer of anything
that could help those with visual acuity limitations or hand-related disabilities
saw this was a product anyone could use. As I was sitting and smocking
in the beauty shop in Houston wearing this expensive magnifier, all these
ladies asked, Where did you get that! I immediately saw a
need for it and finally decided on New Years in 1992: This
is it ! I was going to do it or quit thinking about it.
Because the dentist gave her his magnifier, she later decided to invent
her own to make it easier to use and more cost friendly for
the average person.
Then she met with a patent lawyer in Houston along with a design engineer to begin the long process of designing the MagEyes for submission to the U.S. patent office. MagEyess first patent was issued in May of 1995 and two subsequent patents were issued in the next several years. Some of the MagEyes uses and applications are: hand sewing, fly tying, manicures, model building, needlepoint, quilting, miniature painting, coin/stamp collecting, jewelry making, inspection, rework, antique collecting/inspection. The vision enhancement also helps in reading the stock market, maps, directories, medicine bottle labels, schematics, contract fine print, and the Bible.
Finding a manufacturer proved easier than first thought. When Mary Frances' husband, Edward, retired from the insurance business they moved to retire in Kerrville, TX. There they found Acrotech Southwest which was able to do the manufacturing of the unit. The lenses are manufactured by a high, quality control lens manufacturer in America and then they are shipped to Acrotech so they complete the product including packaging and some palletized shipping nationwide and around the world.
Mary Frances began marketing the MagEyes in consumer and trade shows; as well as advertising regularly in hobby, craft and sewing magazines. At the trade shows she would introduce this revolutionary product to anyone who would listen. People were amazed at the comfort, ease of use, and quality of the MagEyes.
Stores and catalog companies quickly began buying the MagEyes; they realized their overall sales would increase if people could work on their hobbies/crafts with less eye strain or fatigue, by wearing the MagEyes to enhance their vision.
Soon MagEyes, Inc. outgrew their office space.
In the course of four years, MagEyes, Inc. had to move four times to
expand to larger office space. The number of stores carrying the MagEyes
grew to be more
than the office staff could handle. So, MagEyes, Inc. then pursued distributors
to sell to the stores. This allowed the office staff to handle the
in larger quantities and to less areas. Soon, all the existing stores
bought the MagEyes through a distributor. Catalog and distributor
steadily increased. Mary Frances has always been a forward thinker in
advertising and marketing the MagEyes. She knows to keep the product
the public. There are still millions of people who would benefit by using
this magnifier. Still, many have never heard of MagEyes. So Mary Frances
is now marketing the MagEyes on T.V.
In 1997, MagEyes introduced an ESD (antistatic) unit for companies manufacturing live computer boards or any assembly requiring a Static Free environment. This black, with copper flecks, unit is a static dissipater and can be used in any clean room environment where any bit of static charge could result in millions of lost dollars in product.