How Tensing and Hillary might have felt when they conquered Mt. Everest first, Sir James Dyson
might have felt the same after he successfully sold his revolutionary bagless vacuum cleaner. He is a billionaire now but it wasn’t easy for him to get there.
It started in 1978, he got vexed with his vacuum cleaner breaking repeatedly, so he created the first bagless vacuum cleaner with just cardboard, kitchen scissors and a duct tape and it worked. Sir James Dyson, who was recently knighted by the queen recalls that special day in a Readers Digest interview
"I was the only man in the world with a bagless vacuum cleaner!"
But to market that original bagless vacuum cleaner was not so easy. He had to create 5,127 prototypes, face 14 years of debt and multiple lawsuits to prove that his product is original. All those efforts paid off in the end -- his vacuum cleaner is the top-selling upright vacuum cleaner in the United States.
Dyson, 61, got his training at the Royal College of Art in London. There he found passion for industrial design and started to create new products. He created “Sea Truck”, an indestructible boat to haul loads between islands.
In his first company that he started, he created “Ballbarrow” which uses balls for wheel barrows instead of wheels. But because of a dispute within the company, he had to give up the invention to the company. Even though he created it, the invention was in the company’s name.
Then he started to work on the now famous “bagless vacuum
”, but was stifled by existing companies who were hesitant to believe in his new technology.
He licensed his product to a Japanese company in 1986 for millions of dollars but only got a fraction from them. He then started to talk to Amway and others, but none took him seriously. Despite the setbacks, his customers loved it because the vacuum cleaner was able to filter the air with allergens, which was a boon for allergy sufferers and pet owners.
Thanks to his persistence and patience, by 2005 his vacuum cleaners have become popular in both Europe and in the U.S. His company’s revenues were $1 billion in 2008.
He told Reader’s Digest:
It is the fear of failure that makes me keep working at success...Having an idea for doing something better and making it happen-even though it appears impossible—those are still my dreams.