We've selected Sand Baggage as our second runner-up for the 2023 RISE Challenge, receiving a free patentability search and analysis. Sand Baggage founder Michael Wahlstrom designed a neoprene bag with a clever locking mechanism that uses beach sand for securing valuables while at the beach.
Michael's inventor story is an inspiring one about the power of self-bootstrapping when leveraging your own expertise. His company is 100% bootstrapped with zero debt, and he possesses all the core competencies required to take his product to market without the need to outsource a single function. Michael is a professional with over 20 years of experience in the apparel and accessories industry. He runs a creative design, cut, and sew consumer product studio specializing in handbags, leather goods, pet accessories, private label fashion apparel, and merchandising brand strategy. His background spans the entire product lifecycle starting with retail management, merchandising, wholesale, buying, product development, technical design, sourcing, manufacturing, construction, and finishing.
Michael Wahlstrom, Founder of Sand Baggage
Our thought bubble. Michael's invention is a very practical solution to a real world problem – and a great example of the kinds of solutions that can be informed by experiences in our wonderful Northern Michigan backyard. We’re beach dwellers in our spare time and have very much felt the insecurity that comes with leaving valuables behind on the beach while swimming or doing other water sports that require leaving high dollar items behind and untethered. Beyond that, we love gritty entrepreneurs who roll up their sleeves and find ways to innovate – and really appreciate how Michael is self-bootstrapping and leveraging his own talent stack to bring this product to market. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of his innovation journey!
Winning the RISE Award and working with the team at Aurora has been the greatest gift for my startup. As a finalist in various business pitch competitions, they have helped structure an invention protection strategy that has allowed me to focus on other facets of my business.