R h o n a E a s t m a n J a c k
U D a z z l e F a s h i o n S e w i n g R u l e r
Hello Rhona! What inspired you to become an inventor?
Invention is a solution to a problem. It was in 2006, while attending sewing class, that long sewing rulers posed problems when transporting them, hence the reason I decided to invent a folding sewing ruler which comprises all the main sewing rulers. My inspiration came from my father's folding carpentry ruler.
What island are you from?
I am from the beautiful island of Tobago in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
Can you tell us more about the U Dazzle Fashion Sewing Ruler?
Can you imagine the feeling of excitement after drawing and folding the ruler exactly how I envisioned it? I quickly took it to a draftsman. He said it was a great invention, but please don't show it to anyone, and that I should patent it. I had no clue what a patent was, and how much it would cost. I took it home and placed it in a drawer. That drawing stayed in the drawer for nine long years.
In 2014, at age 49, I wanted more for my life than just being a stay-at-home mom. and seamstress. I was eager to learn and teach sewing in the community. I heard about the Women to Women program, which was geared to help entrepreneurs with training. As I entered the program, I heard about the Trinidad and Tobago Prime Ministry invention competition. I was excited to know that my dream was about to be realized. I entered and won a special prize.
Over the last eight years, I have filed different types of intellectual property rights for my product. The truth was I had no money to manufacture it. Based on my research, the best option was to license the product. I have now signed a licensing deal with a company in Denmark giving them the rights to manufacture and sell across Europe. I would like to find a company that is willing to take the U Dazzle Fashion Ruler around the world. I know that this ruler is perfect, especially for those students in the garment construction industry.
What are some benefits of the Dazzle Fashion Sewing Ruler?
The U Dazzle Fashion Ruler is a multipurpose, collapsible sewing ruler, which has the potential to revolutionize the drafting process of garment construction.
This ruler comprises three * L-square- A two-piece ruler arranged in an L-square.
*. Hip Curve- There is an inner and outer hip curve that is used for creating curves for the hip line.
*. French Curve- Used for drawing necklines, armholes, sleeve caps, and more.
* Calculator- Used for simple calculation when drafting. main rulers and a calculator.
The ruler has double-jointed hinges, which enable each section to rotate 360 degrees allowing it to fold down to one-fourth of its actual length. It comes complete with a customized carrying case for ease of transport and storage. Designers simply have to place the ruler into the desired configuration and trace its lines and curves.
Are there any challenges you've had to overcome as an inventor?
First, I am dyslexic. What comes naturally academically to others is a constant challenge for me. When I started I did not know how to use the computer. Soon I learned that the computer was my new tool. I had to learn how to navigate it fast. Many days I was so overwhelmed by my inability to use the computer.
Finances were one of my biggest challenges. I truly had to trust God to take me through this process. While building this U Dazzle Brand, I went through a lot of pain and frustration in my personal life. Eventually, I decided to dry the tears and use that as my driver focus to bring my products to fruition. There were a lot of negative people, but I was determined to prove them wrong.
"While building this U Dazzle Brand, I went through a lot of pain and frustration in my personal life. Eventually, I decided to dry the tears and use that as my driver focus to bring my products to fruition".
When did you begin sewing?
I started sewing at the tender age of six years old while watching and helping my mother. At ten years old I won a special prize for needlework in a national primary school competition. From there, it became my passion for life. At the age of seventeen, I entered Salley's fashion school. Over the past 39 years as a seamstress, I have designed and outfitted many female brides, bridesmaids, and office workers.
What are some words of advice you can give to future inventors who want to create a prototype?
If you have an idea:
*Be careful who you trust with the idea.
*Do research using keywords.
*Make sure the search shows that there is nothing exactly like it out there.
*Visit your local intellectual property office for them to help you.
* File intellectual property rights for your invention.
* Create a prototype.
*Then decide either to sell, manufacture, or license.
Outside of your business, what are some other hobbies that you enjoy?
Spending time with family, being a part of the welfare department, and motivational speeches. In everything, I give God thanks. I would like to say thanks to the Almighty God for taking me through this challenging journey. This experience has birthed a new calling upon my life. I am now a motivational speaker. I encourage others to follow their dreams, and file for intellectual property rights for their creation. After the competition, I learned that only 16.5% of inventors are women. I reach out to different Madia houses to air my story. I have them follow me along my journey. For the last eight years, I have filed different types of Patents and trademarks here and abroad. I signed a licensing deal with a company in Denmark. The ruler is now sold across Europe and Trinidad and Tobago. This is my favorite quote, “Many days I felt overwhelmed with self-doubt coupled with fear. I want to give up, but I convince myself that giving up was not an option”.
What are some honors, recognitions, and awards you have received?
* Today I am the first person from the Cariri IAS program to sign a licensing deal in Denmark.
*The first from Trinidad and Tobago to fill a PCT under Chille.
* In 2018, I received the TICN Media award.
*I was featured on World Intellectual Property Day 2018. Powering change in innovation and creativity.
*In 2020, I was featured in a video Repect for Ip with WIPO and music TT.
* The first individual from Trinidad and Tobago to file the Madrid Protocol.
* I was honored by Cariri on International Women's Day 2022.
*Thanks be to God that I was inducted into the Trinidad and Tobago Hall of Fame on March 10, 2022.
* I received the Medal of Honor Gold from the Dr. Eric Williams Foundation on Independence Day 2022.
* I am featured in a YouTube video titled “Conversation in IP: IPO Tobago”.
* This year WIPO celebrates women and IP accelerating innovation and creativity. I was one of the nominees.
*I accompany WIPO to Jamaica for world intellectual property day 2023 to speak to 32 women entrepreneurs.
*Online WIPO had me on two platforms across Africa to speak to female entrepreneurs in 2023.
*WIPO has now finished a case study on me. Tailoring is made easy with the U Dazzle Fashion Sewing Ruler.
God, Family and friends, NIHERST, CARIRI, Erik Struve |Meida|Garnga'rden, Trinidad and Tobago Intellectual Property, Fakoory’s and Andrew Ramroop of Savile Row Academy, and World Intellectual Property organization.
Makeup Artist: Deneisia Jack
Stylist: Rhona Eastman Jack