Learning to overcome your fears is an essential step for entrepreneurs, but this entrepreneur used her fears to find a solution and innovate a product that can help save lives at home and in schools across the country. Today’s guest, Anna Reger, Founder and CEO of FlipLok.com, shares with us how she found purpose in her business journey by developing a product that not only protects her family but can also change how active threat protocols are established on a federal level.
In today’s episode of the Harvest Growth Podcast, we’ll cover:
Using past business learning to keep costs low, prices low, and go direct to consumer
Finding your path and purpose through entrepreneurship
Finding success through failures and continuing to persevere
Using your product to create change on a bigger scale
And so much more!
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Or, click to watch the full video interview here!
Visit FlipLok.com to learn more about this essential safety lock. You can also keep up with FlipLok and Anna Reger on the following channels:
Do you have a brand that you’d like to launch or grow? Do you want help from a partner that has successfully launched hundreds of brands that now total over $2 billion in revenues? Set up a free consultation with us today!
Prefer reading instead of listening? Read the full transcript here!
Jon LaClare: Today's guest has launched and managed several very successful businesses along with her husband. She compiled the learnings from those ventures in the launch of her latest product. Listen to this interview to hear some of these valuable insights.
Male Speaker: Are you looking for new ways to make your sales grow? You've tried other podcasts, but they don't seem to know. Harvest the growth potential of your product or service as we share stories and strategies that'll make your competitors nervous. Now, here's the host of The Harvest Growth Podcast; Jon LaClare.
Jon: So excited to have Anna Reger on the show today. She's the founder and CEO of FlipLok.com. It's F-L-I-P-L-O-K.com. This is again, of course, as always in the show notes to get the exact spelling. I do encourage everyone to check out the website for sure to learn more. First, I want to dive in with an introduction to Anna, hear more about her product, her business, and the great success we expect for this really cool product. Anna, first of all, welcome to the show.
Anna Roger: Thanks for having me.
Jon: Absolutely. Can you tell us about Flip Lok? What is the product? How'd you come up with the idea?
Anna: Originally, the idea was because I have a daughter in school, and I was concerned about her safety when they had these active-threat lockdown situations and her not being able to know 100% sure whether the door was locked during these drills. That's how the original Flip Lok was created, or actually envisioned. I got with my husband, we talked about it, he's an inventor, and we came up with the prototypes.
We have six children, so we went into, "What about the kid that's in an apartment?" and, "What about the kids--" Then we have the home version, which took us into the son that's in a college, living in an apartment with four other roommates and us worrying about whether or not his roommates gave a key to somebody and him being able to lock his door while he's sleeping at night in his bedroom.
We have the daughter in the apartment, the son, and then we have grandma, who's 80 years old, doesn't like to lock her door. That's the Flip Lok home version where she has arthritis, it's really hard for her to use the lock. She won't lock it. This is just something that was more functional for people like my mother-in-law. We have little nieces and nephews that come over. We have a pool outside, so you put it up high, and then the kids can't get outside. It's just all these safety reasons really is what it was. "How can we keep our kids and our family safe when they're not with us?"
Jon: Yes, absolutely. Let's talk about the product itself for those that are yet familiar with Flip Lok. Can you describe what it is and how it works to help lock a door better than old-fashioned locks?
Anna: Yes. It's a device that attaches to the frame of the door. It has four screws and it goes into the frame, 4-inch screws. Then all you have to do is close your door and flip it and it drops and it locks and secures the door. It's 10 times stronger than a deadbolt.
Jon: Why is it so strong compared to a deadbolt? People obviously are very familiar with deadbolts, most doors, certainly, external doors have them, but the Flip Lok does have that added strength that gives you so much more security, again, we'll dive into the uses, whether it's in a school or at home, but what is it about the design that makes it so strong compared to the old-fashioned deadbolts?
Anna: Well, because it attaches to the frame of the door and it doesn't have that piece where it can just be easily kicked open. It's easier to kick open a door with just the little thing holding it closed versus having something that's as strong as-- it's on the frame, so you'd have to take the frame off to get in there. You don't kick open a door on the side where the hinges are. This is basically a hinge for the other side of the door.
Jon: Yes. Again, I encourage everyone to check out the website to really understand what it looks like, how it works, et cetera. A big difference that I see versus a regular deadbolt, that you've got that small 0.5-inch, let's say, whatever the size of a traditional deadbolt is, going into the frame, as opposed to Flip Lok that's several inches tall gives you so much more added strength, goes deeper into the actual frame, as well as compared to a traditional deadbolt. It functionally is significantly stronger.
I think the other thing to mention too, is how easy it is to install. For me, thinking about trying to install a deadbolt into a door that hasn't been drilled out, that's beyond my expertise and most people's. Flip Lok can be much easier to install. If you can use a drill and a screwdriver, that's really all you need. There's no expertise that is needed to perfectly line up holes from a door in a frame. It's significantly easier, and really, almost anybody could do this again, if you just got simple tools in your home.
I see you pulled out, for those that are watching via video can see this. Obviously, a lot of our people are still listening to the audio, so please describe it, but there it is. You can see how it literally just flips open.
Anna: The door shuts.
Jon: Open the door.
Anna: It flips and it draws it locked. That's what's patented, that technology that we have because this makes it so simple, and the ease of use, it's innate. You walk in your house, you flip the lock and it's so simple. When you have family members or kids or anybody you always want-- "Is the door locked?" You don't really know if you look, even if you have a deadbolt, "Hey, is it locked, or is it not locked?" This, you know for sure it's locked.
Jon: Yes, we've got a little kind of a second-story bridge or whatever, walking across our hallway in front of our front door at night, and every night I look down there trying to see, before Flip Lok if it was locked, is it turned, I can't quite tell. I walk downstairs or whatever, or if you've got an apartment or whatever it is, the nice thing, as Anna just mentioned with Flip Lok, you can tell at a distance, instantaneously, "Is it locked? Is it not?" It makes it really easy to see.
In other words, are you safe in your home or in school, or in your work, or wherever you might use the Flip Lok?
Jon: You talked, Anna, about how you came up with really, I guess, the need. You've got several kids at various stages of life, some at home, some that are out of the home, you talked about safety that they need, and in-laws as well. Let's talk about how you actually came up with a concept. You have the need, you know they need to be safe, how'd you come up with the actual design to make this work so well?
Anna: That was where my husband he's the inventor. He helped me bring something into the world that would actually do exactly what I wanted. I wanted it to be easy. I wanted it to be simple to install. I wanted it to be something a five-year-old could use. I wanted it to be something grandma could use. We went through many, like 80-something prototypes [chuckles] with this, the home version, and it was a lot of redrawing and thinking and redesigning and redesigning to make sure that it worked and did exactly what it said it was going to do.
How can you find something that's simple to use? How can you find something that's super strong, stronger than what we have now? How can we find something that a five-year-old can use also? That's where that came from, he helped me design that and we went together back and forth of, "Well, this one is for home and you really want to--" Then you got to go into colors. That's a whole nother deal, right? Got to think about silver and bronze. We went silver and bronze right now. Then for the school, what can you do there?
That's a whole nother thing because it needs to be red for emergency-use device. The kids need to know what it is. All these nuances that go into making one particular-- just the one home lock was, oh my gosh, a long time, and then deciding, "Okay, this is it. We're going to go into patents, go to trademarks." It just takes a lot of belief and a lot of understanding of what will work, a lot of creativity coming from my husband and his innovative mind, thank God because I'm not that brain. I just know what I didn't like and every time we had, something I was like, "No, I don't like that." Or, "Yes," and so you have to go back and forth so much.
Jon: Absolutely. You and John have quite a background in marketing other products and building other businesses as well. Can you talk to us about your past experience leading up to Flip Lok and with the other businesses you and John have launched and run together, how has that helped you to prepare for this particular launch?
Anna: Oh my gosh, we've learned so much, and some of our businesses, some of them were in real estate and development and things like that. The one business that really taught us quite a bit was a business we have, and it's still in business, Rockstar Wigs. We took that one. We have that one in over 2,000 retail stores now, currently, of course, with COVID everything-- With wigs, it's hard to have parties and that's a whole nother world.
However, I learned so much going into this business of what I don't want to do and what I do want to do, what's reasonable and feasible and how can I keep costs down so that I can go direct to consumer, and that's really, I think what we're aiming for at this point, at this juncture, only because we want to give them the best price, the best product, the best of everything, and how can we do that and keep it cost-effective.
That's where all that experience comes in, because it lets you know, "Okay, I may want to do that later, but right now this is what path we need to take," because we have that experience with those other businesses, as far as what direction you want to go into. It's easy to go, "Oh, I want to go in 2,000 stores," but then you don't realize, "Wow, I got to pack all these 2,000 orders, or more than that, maybe 20,000 pieces for 1 store and then you got to have a shipping department and you got-- it's so many nuances that go in that. Not only that, there's a lot of overhead when you start thinking about those things that when you're excited to get that first deal, you didn't really think about.
There was a lot of learning in this growth and development, John and I have done for many years together. He has a business he started when he was 18. We have many locations now, about seven, and those are the businesses that we've learned so much through. With this business, it's different because, for me, it feels like it's my mission. My mission is to keep my children safe and in that, keeping everyone's children safe. My mission is to save lives and now I have this product, this business that's going to go out there and can do it.
I just feel like this is where I'm supposed to be and what I'm supposed to be doing on my platform with my expertise, with my experience, with my network, that I really need to go out and make change. That's why I'm pushing and I'm out marketing and talking to anybody I can about Flip Lok because I know it can, and it will save lives, especially in schools.
I'm even taking it a step further by going to the legislature and asking them, "Hey, we need to do better. We need to change legislature. We need to standardize active-threat drills in our schools." For me, it's very personal, this product, because I know it can and will keep everyone safe. That, as a mom, as a parent, I'm sure anybody that's a parent can relate, you have a child it's like, your heart is running around outside of your body and you can't protect it.
How can I feel safe with my kids at school? Or even when the kids are home? They come home from school and we can't always be there when they get home and they have this, "Did you lock the door? Are you sure? Is the Flip Lok there?" "Yes." "Okay." Because, if we don't know if the deadbolt's locked, they surely don't know if the deadbolt's locked. This is something you can make sure that they're trained and when you train your children to do that safety, they will absolutely do it.
Jon: Yes, so very true. I love how you talked about the purpose of this business around safety and really in benefiting so many people, Rockstar Wigs, very successful business, a lot of fun. Again, I encourage people to check out that business as well but if you're different direction, it's almost like the fun versus impacting and helping people's lives.
With the Flip Lok business as we've talked about, there's two different versions, you essentially have your business-to-business or your school version. Then you've also got the home version that we've talked about a little bit. Let's discuss quickly and you're bringing that to those that are listening, the visual of the school version, you can see it's bigger, brighter, has the branding logo on it. As you flip it, shut on the backside, what does it say on the back?
Jon: It's, "Call 911." You can definitely see that it's locked.
Anna: It says, "Call 911." I had to close it because it was open. You can see that it's locked but when you flip it says, "Call 911," or it reminds the children what the next step is in that emergency situation because most adults don't think, they just get scared and they freeze, but it reminds them, "Hey, you need to get help." That was just something as a parent you want to help get your kids to that next step to be able to protect themselves.
Jon: Let's talk about the school version quickly. Where is that meant to go in schools?
Anna: It's meant to go on every door in every classroom so that the children they're now talking about secondary locks, this would absolutely be the secondary lock that's necessary because it gives the kids a sense of empowerment. If they're in a classroom and they see that big red Flip Lok there and their teacher goes to the restroom, guess what? They're not worried. They're still focused on their schoolwork because they know that they can go into action to protect themselves.
When their teachers leave the room, they should not be scared. The teachers, the administrators should not be the only ones that can lock the classroom. It's just not realistic. There's 15, 20, 25 kids per teacher and these children are very smart nowadays, if you give them the tools, they will absolutely go into action.
Jon: Yes, absolutely. With, unfortunately, as many incidents we've had across our country with school shootings and other dangerous elements coming to schools, whatever it might be at whatever level, keeping that out of the classroom, as you said, can be put in the kids' hands or in the teacher's hands in an easy and simple way, but also a strong way that's going to keep threats away from the kids, keep that classroom as a truly safe environment.
Now, in the home version, you and I have talked about different places. It can be put in the obvious, of course, is the external door. Adding that strength, 10 times as strong as a deadbolt and potentially even stronger than some of these apartments that may not even have them, right?
Jon: Or, if they do they're really weak or really old or whatever it might be, so getting that added strength on external doors is fantastic. I love that you come up with some other uses. Where else in the home can the Flip Lok be used?
Anna: Since you mentioned the apartments, I have to say this, when we have people in an apartment, anybody in an apartment knows the people that own the apartment, the maintenance people, everybody has a key. When you have a young daughter like I do in an apartment, you absolutely worry about somebody being able to come in on her while she's not prepared for somebody to come in because they have access.
This is that extra protection to know like, "Hey, she can go to bed, nobody can get in." Also, she can put it in her bedroom. Any room in your home can become a safe room with Flip Lok because we've made it that way. We have an adapter plate, you can change it out. You can put it in any bedroom, any room in your house and you can make it a safe room so that everybody feels secure when they go to bed, your husband's out of town. Most women-- like I have one on my bedroom because you want to feel secure when you're sleeping, that's part of it.
Like I said earlier, you could put it out, like if there's a pool and you don't want the kids to go out, you could put it at any height. There is no restriction on where the height is. You could put it up really high. If you have little kids and you're worried about them using it or not using it, you can put it up high and avoid those situations. It's something that's functional on every level.
Jon: I love it; love it. I love that phrase, how, "It turns any room into a safe room," and it really helps you to feel safe, whether it's yourself or you've got six kids, I've got four and we worry about our kids. They're not all at home with us and even when they are, we may not be in the home with them at the same time or in the same room and be giving them the chance to keep themselves safe, very easily in a way that they understand and is addressable by really any age is a phenomenal thing.
Anna: Yes, it is.
Jon: Anna, are there any resources that you have found over the years that have been helpful to you and your career and preparing for the launch of this business that you'd like to recommend to our audience?
Anna: I have to say my biggest mentor and person in my life is actually my husband and he has a book out Don't Talk For Free. It's a sales book and he's really well versed in business and sales. I would highly recommend that to anyone. I've read a couple of other books but I think that book is a good start for people that really want to go and get into sales or learn some more about being business or just following your dreams is really what that book is about.
It's very inspirational and he has many years of successes. With successes, if you don't try and if you don't fail, because there's a lot of failures. When you go out and you are an entrepreneur, people don't realize they say, "Oh, this, that, and the other," but hey, we put all our money into this deal, we put all our time, all of our heart, our blood, and our sweat and our tears, and nobody compensates you when it doesn't go the way you thought. We have those things too, but we learned a lot along the way. We also learned that if you just persevere and you never give up, then you will make it happen.
Jon: Great book. I'll add my recommendation to read it as well, and good friends with both Anna and John, know them both very well. I want to add something to what you said. I love how you talked about John being your mentor. I'm sure he would say the same thing about you.
I think for those that are business owners, product marketers, when you're in a relationship if you are married, it's so important to have that support of your spouse. They don't need to be-- in your case, John's a great inventor and designer and directly helped your business. Even without that, the importance of having support in a relationship, just being there for each other is so important, it's a hard road to do alone. When you are in a relationship or have a spouse to have them to help out with your business, I can't echo that sentiment any more than you've already done as well. Well, Anna, is there anything I didn't ask that you think would be helpful for our audience?
Anna: No, I just think that I would like to tell the audience if you have something that you truly believe in, don't let anybody talk you out of it. Don't let anybody make you stray or question yourself because people will, there will always be naysayers, follow your dreams and just go for it because it's your life and you only get one and if you don't go for it, then you just really let yourself down. You always have to think about that. If you try and you fail, hey, you did your best and you can get up and go do something different. I really just would like to say, follow your dreams and keep doing what you think is best for you.
Jon: That's great advice. Again, knowing Anna and John personally, they've been very successful with several other businesses as well in addition to Flip Lok, and in part, because of that great advice you've got to take the leap forward, believe in yourself. It's never going to be an easy road. There's always trials, struggles, at least work along the way, but keep pushing forward. I agree with you and really couldn't agree with you more. It's a great piece of advice for our audience.
I will say for our audience, please go to FlipLok.com to learn more about Anna and her business. It's a great product. You can see it. If you're listening to the audio, make sure you go check out to see the video of how it works, what it does, a great product. If you are involved in a school or know people that are, please make the recommendations to get these into the schools. You can reach out to Anna and her team with the contact form on the bottom of their website. Or if you're interested in the residential version, you can purchase right from the website as well.
Also, be sure to check out harvestgrowth.com to see other podcasts that we've recorded. If you like this episode, you want to learn more about how you can profitably grow your consumer product business, please subscribe to our show and be sure to leave a review. Anna, thanks again so much. I really appreciate the time.
Anna: Hey, thank you, Jon. By the way, I just have to say Harvest Growth has been amazing to work with, and I highly recommend them. If you get a chance and you've got a product, I absolutely recommend working with Jon and his team, super amazing people. I hope that you all do. I wish you all a lot of success.
Jon: Thank you, Anna, so kind of you to say. I really appreciate it. Thank you.
Anna: You're welcome.
[00:21:24] [END OF AUDIO]