Founder Stacy Stubbs is on a mission to get rid of sticker burr plants so no one has to experience the pain of stepping on one when barefoot.
Five years ago, Stubbs moved into a house that had a yard filled with the noxious plants, and he, his wife and five stepchildren tracked them into the house, forcing someone to vacuum the carpets every day.
“My feet were unappreciative — especially when waking up at 3 a.m. to use the restroom,” he says. “I finally got fed up with not doing anything about it and went to work on how to resolve the issue.”
Stubbs created the Sticker Burr Roller, which is equipped with a firm foam roller designed to attach to the burr or any stickers as the glide screen moves them into the catch basket for easy disposal.
At first, he made them by hand before finding a manufacturer that could make them out of metal and powder coat them. He started making 40 of the devices and marketing them on Facebook. He sold out of them in a month.
Then, Stubbs’ manufacturing partner told him about a trade show in Las Vegas. Stubbs knew he had to attend, but he didn’t have a website, printed brochures or even business cards. Time was of the essence — the show was just four weeks away — so had materials created that he picked up on his way out of town.
The show was a success — the sticker burr roller was selected as a show favorite.
When Stubbs returned to Utah, he created a video that he posted on TikTok. It took off — he had 10 million views in 48 hours. Then he started getting orders through his website, which forced him to find employees to handle production himself.
“I shipped 1,800 before I had any angry customers,” Stubbs says. “It took five or six months to catch up, but I was committed to making sure I got good reviews.”
Challenges: Stubbs struggles to find the right employees to handle the company’s social media and customer support. He’s also finding it challenging to get the units into stores.
Opportunities: It’s not just the pain of getting pricked by stickers. They’re also bad for some wildlife. In Naples, Florida, for example, a group of biologists is using the device to clear beaches of sand spurs that get caught in the feathers of baby birds who then can’t withstand the Gulf of Mexico when they enter it for the first time. Many pet owners also are happy customers now that they can let their dogs play in their yards without getting stickers in their feet.
Stubbs also is working on a campaign to travel around the country donating his time to remove sticker burr plants from playgrounds. It’s a better solution, he says, than spraying chemicals on them. “We need to get these seeds picked up so they don’t keep replanting themselves,” he says. “It’s been getting out of hand.”
Needs: Stubbs wants to get the Sticker Burr Roller on store shelves where potential customers can see them. “The biggest issue is labeling the boxes with pictures on them,” he says.
The company has applied to be on Shark Tank in hopes of raising enough money to get onto retailers’ shelves. “If I have to produce 10,000 or 20,000 units to get them in the stories, I’ll need $5 million to have that kind of inventory,” says Stubbs.