The inventions started accumulating in Briggs’ mind---every time he saw a problem in a shop, he immediately started looking for solutions.
"With every repair, techs are taking nuts and bolts off the vehicles and throwing them on a work table," he said. "So, I started working on a magnet that you can clip onto your pocket that would hold nuts and bolts [in order] to cut down on walking back and forth from the table to set them down or drop them on the floor, because it's a waste of motion."
Briggs didn't realize at the time that he was developing The Tape Thing Caddy, even before he invented The Tape Thing. One day, he saw a technician doing a dance with a roll of tape.
"He was using it, and then putting it under his armpit," he said. "Then, he would use it a little more and then stick it under his other armpit and then his mouth! I realized he didn't want to set it down because it would get dirty. At one point, he dropped the roll and it ran across the floor and fell into a puddle of water. I thought, ‘There has to be a better way of holding on to that tape.’"
So the next day, Briggs found himself in the plumbing department of Home Depot with a roll of tape and purchased more than $150 worth of magnets, PVC fittings, epoxy and furniture skid pads. After tweaking the design and coming up with a way for the tape to spin in the user's hand without burning it, Briggs knew he was on to something that might be big. He eventually ordered 2,500 units from a manufacturer in China, with most of the final assembly taking place in his living room, and sold them all.
Briggs is a consummate tinkerer and isn't happy until he gets his inventions right, so he has now redesigned The Tape Thing three times. However, he is finally delighted with the finished product.
“We improved the magnet strength and mounting, and made every change the voice of the customer’s request,” said Briggs.
Briggs loved his final product and sold thousands more quickly, but all he could think about was the original idea that started him down this path. Enter, The Tape Thing Caddy.
"It holds everything you need to prep a vehicle, including the razor blades, safely along with rags, scuff pads and sandpaper,” he said. “The goal is that when using The Tape Thing Caddy, preparers don't ever have to set anything down, bend over to pick anything up, or walk away to find supplies."
Three years ago, Briggs and his wife took their inventions to their first SEMA Show to unveil the Tape Thing to the collision industry.
"We met some cool people," he said. "Tim Gerhard from TG Products let us put our products in his booth alongside his new product, The Rail Saver. We took 500 or so of The Tape Things with us to Las Vegas that first year and sold out. We threw estimating kits in the box and were surprised to see that they sold equally well.”
Yes, Collision Edge has done very well, but it does not mean that Briggs is going to quit his day job or think about early retirement.
“We were devastated by the 2008 downturn,” he said. “Our kids’ college funds didn’t amount to much and wasn’t going to get them far. After a lot of prayers, we swallowed hard and pulled the trigger sourcing molds and buying inventory to go to work on our American Dream. Our kids work in the business, attending all the trade shows they can, packing orders and assembling product. This is the legacy I leave to them. The lessons this business has taught them and me are irreplaceable. I tell everyone that I have a full-time day job and I don't draw a salary from Collision Edge--zero. Every dime Collision Edge makes is either put back in the business, given to charity or poured into our kids’ futures. We're going to keep solving problems as long as our customers reward our efforts with their continued business and moral support. I love the body shop industry; it’s such a great community.”