Jason Couvillion didn't set out to be an inventor.
He just wanted a new skateboard after his was stolen. "My dad said I couldn't have another one unless I had a place to keep it," Jason said.So, he bent plastic from an old basketball backboard into some prongs and mounted the contraption on his bedroom door.
"I wasn't really looking for an invention. I just made it because I wanted a new skateboard and then my dad started making a whole bunch of them," he said.
That was two years ago. And while Jason and his father, Wil, have sold only 250 Skate Racks, the invention was so novel that Jason was featured in the October edition of Entrepreneur magazine as one of the nation's top 40 entrepreneurs under the age of 40. At 13, he was the youngest inventor featured.
Jason, an eighth-grader at Bennion Junior High School, said the Skate Rack sold in area skateboard shops and toy stores, scarcely resembles the prototype he fashioned two years ago.
The product is made of unbreakable plastic and is silk screened with the company logo in bright pinks, blues and yellows. Jason's father said each skateboard rack is die-cut from sheets of flexible plastic and silk screened.
Wil and Jason finish the product at home, heating the plastic enough to mold the prongs from which the skate board rests. The rack also features a small lower shelf where users can store "stuff," Jason said.
The first Skate Racks were manufactured of rigid Plexiglas, but the Couvillions found it was too brittle to withstand shipping or the rigors of use.
So the Couvillions experimented with unbreakable, flexible plastic sheeting, a material lighter in weight and more child-proof.
Wil Couvillion said the company, WIL-SON Co., (named after Wil and his son) has yet to break even for their original investment. The product retails for $15.95 to $21, but Wil Couvillion said the Skate Rack needs to sell nationally before the company will realize a profit.
WIL-SON Co. would ultimately like to be the national supplier of skateboard racks, Wil Couvillion said.
They're in the market for investors who can help them market and distribute the product nationwide. After all, there is a market. Wil Couvillion says there are 19 million skateboarders in the United States alone.
When Jason considers the possibilities, he seems a little overwhelmed. "I thought I was just going to make one and put it in my room and put my skateboard on it."