Snaps Blades Fast!

NGPP Newsletter

The Beginning of BLADEater®


By Mary Kay Hansen, DesignOvations, Inc. 


Hi, I’m Mary Kay Hansen, president of DesignOvations, Inc. and inventor of the BLADEater® holster.  I am an associate member of the Cincinnati Chapter of the NGPP. We have a great group of members here in Cincinnati.  I am also former owner of Lamb’s Covering Wallpaper and Painting service.


I’m discovering that a lot people have at least one great idea, if not many.  It’s just human nature to be inventive and creative. Necessity is the mother of invention, and the busier a person is, the more ideas they usually come up with. Wallpaper hangers are definitely “busy” people.


If you have a great invention, I want to encourage you to bring it to the market.  But, I would also like to warn you of the obstacles that may be involved along the way.  I used to think that if I could only get a patent, I would be on easy street. Listen to my story and see how speculation is not wise (I’m forever learning this), and find out how steady plodding is the key to success.


Over 4-1/2 years ago, while hanging wallpaper on a huge commercial job, and going through a ton of blades (40-50 snap-offs in a day), I decided to start working on a better way to snap off utility knife blades safer and quicker.


As you may know, knife directions tell you to either use the end cap of the knife, or pliers to break off blade segments.  I didn’t like to use these methods because they were too dangerous and time consuming. 


I would find myself snapping blades in my tool belt.  No one I knew used the methods suggested on the knife directions.  Many people told me they would use the floor, wall, or whatever they could find, to quickly snap off the blade.  So in light of this, I thought I would try to come up with a better and safer way to snap off utility knife blades.  I was on a mission!


I worked day and night and then BINGO, I won!  I was in heaven!  This was one of the most exciting things I had accomplished in my life!  I could hardly contain the excitement!  I invented a revolutionary new product!


Now, what’s my next step? First, I got a book about patents from the local library entitled “Patent It Yourself.”  I then did a patent search myself, and paid to have a patent firm do a formal search.  Nothing showed up that was anything like my idea.  So far, so good!


The next thing was to get a model maker to make my first prototype.  Then, I hired a reputable patent firm to write my first patent. I continued to work on improvements, and filed for improvement patents.  I then made an updated version out of clay.


I thought that life on easy street was surely just around the corner.  I could just see myself by my swimming pool, sipping a cool glass of pink lemonade.  I had visions of corporate executives kissing my feet, and blessing the day I was born!  But, they would have to wait until I unveiled the amazing invention...WRONG!


After contacting the leading knife companies, whom I had eyed for months, I soon realized that they were not as eager about my new revolutionary invention as I was.  They thought my idea was great, but it was just not appealing enough in its generic form for anyone to actually come to the table with a licensing proposal. They all politely thanked me and wished me the best. This is when I learned the hard lesson...the idea is the easy part!


I wasn’t about to let my “invention” die.  I had birthed it, nurtured it, and loved it.  I had lofty thoughts of everyone loving it.  But, obviously it was still underdeveloped and needed a lot more work. So I was forced to keep going.  I would have to hire a plastic surgeon for my “clay baby.” 


After locating a mold maker, I spent relentless hours, tweaking the molds until everything fit and worked right.  Next, I would need the packaging designed.  I received a price quote from a company for over $14,000 to design one package.  I needed three different packages designed.  Once again, out of desperation, I would have to get creative, so I design my own.  I put a pair of blue jeans with a belt through them on my computer scanner and took it from there.


Next, I needed to obtain bank financing to get the capital needed to launch our product into the marketplace. Thanks to the Clermont County Chamber of Commerce who advised my husband and I how to write a business plan, we acquired the capital needed to launch our product into the marketplace.


The bank told us that if we hadn’t had our product developed to the extent it was, they would not have given us a business loan.  Small businesses are risky, and most banks are not willing to give you a loan on just a “great idea.”


The BLADEater® is a clip-on holster, which has a disposable blade well cartridge with an onboard blade storage compartment.  The blade well/10 blade unit fastens down inside the holster cavity. After the 10 blades have been snapped off into the blade well, the disposable unit may then be removed by the finger-loop, properly disposed of, and replaced with a new refill cartridge.


The BLADEater® side slot is designed to keep sharp blade segments away from the user’s eyes and fingers.  The knife guide located at the top of the side slot allows the scored knife blade to align with the snap off slot at the correct angle.  It also serves as a shield for the users eyes, while the finger grip located on the holster protects the index finger and provides extra leverage while snapping off blade segments.


A second top slot is revealed when the blade storage compartment door is opened to obtain a fresh new blade.  This top slot is designed to manually dispose of the larger end piece of the used blade. The sharp end of the blade can slide down against the sidewall, and the back wall easily guides the blade down into the blade well disposal slot.


Additionally, the knife clip-mount, located on the back of the holster, helps keep the utility knife secured while not in use.  The blades and holster fit various sizes and styles of knives. However, the holster comes with a quality BLADEater

utility knife.


As you can see, I have a revolutionary new product that is making life easier for so many people. I receive incredible testimonies from people who use it every day.  Wallpaper hangers, who have been wallpapering for 15-20 years, love how much safer and quicker it is.  The BLADEater® is a viable working product.Many employers are buying multiple units for their employees, knowing that saving time will save them money.


I’ve even been invited to go on QVC.  And, now many of the companies that rejected my idea in the beginning, are now inquiring about licensing rights.  Yes, it’s an incredible product; I knew it all along.  However, nothing really happened until I developed and packaged the product myself.


Of course, if you have a great idea, you should first try to license it, before you spend a fortune. However, based on my experience, you may have to raise the “baby” yourself.


And, if you do present your idea to a company, you need to make sure your rights are protected.  A really good book to read is “The Invention Bible”; which is available on  This will guide you through the process and protect you from companies stealing your idea, or from invention scam companies, who prey on the enthusiasm of inventors.


For further information on me, or the BLADEater®, visit us on the web at, or feel free to call us with any questions or comments you may have.  I can be reached at 513-460-6081, or via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..