[quote style=”boxed”]Enjoy life, it is short.[/quote]
Bob Deerin is the president and CEO of Prime Life Fibers, which he founded in 2002. Bob started his career at Fisher Scientific in various marketing positions after graduating from Fairfield University. Other positions were with Gretag AG, a Swiss company running sales and marketing for the US. Kodak was the next challenge as director of the one hour photo program for the US. He left large corporate America to start Prime Life Fibers.
What are you working on right now?
Prime Life Fibers has developed this innovative three-layer absorbent fabric that works so well and so unlike other things on the market. We currently produce it as undergarments for active adults who live with urinary incontinence, and we continue our philosophy of innovation with the ongoing development of new products that address common health and wellness concerns with practical and stylish solutions. There are so many other potential applications and we’re working on other products for babies, for new mothers, and for athletes.
Where did the idea for Prime Life Fibers come from?
The Prime Life Fibers company officially began in 2002. Its history, however, started about 10 years earlier when I first started research and development to create a reusable incontinence undergarment that would provide a better solution for Americans facing various health issues resulting in incontinence. There was a similar product available in Europe but there was nothing in the United States. We researched and then perfected our own fabric design for the U.S. market.
What does your typical day look like?
Typically when I am not traveling, I am up early reading the Wall Street Journal and taking a nice two mile walk with my Golden Doodle Bailey. Then I’m in the office for the remainder of the day, handling all the facets of running a small business. After work I go home to cook a good meal with a glass of wine.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Ideas come from our customers. They can be larger wholesale customers, mail order catalog companies, our vendors and or our great employees. We have a lot of experience in the group looking at a product to see if it provides a solution to daily living issues. From there, we have factories in Honduras, Puerto Rico, China, India and North Carolina that can bring these products to life.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Ecommerce and mobile technology are awesome and really exciting right now. Serving the senior population and their caregivers, it’s wonderful to see how these technologies have made their life easier to find and purchase great products like Wearever.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
During my summer breaks from college, I worked at night in a bakery from midnight to 9 a.m. I learned that teamwork is needed to produce an excellent product in time for a 7 a.m. opening, seven days a week.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Find a way to spend more time with my family.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Enjoy life, it is short.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Underestimated the capital needed to run a business for the long term.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
With all of the environmental issues we face more products need to be reusable.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I would want cooperation, understanding and civility among our politicians.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
Banking sites are my favorite tool right now because they make running a business much more efficient.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Outliers by Malcom Gladwell
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
Yesterday, a truck in Durham ran into a train trestle taking the top of the truck off. It was clearly marked with the maximum height, lights flashed when the truck was close indicating it would not fit under the trestle. I was speaking to the policeman who asked the driver, “Were you paying attention? “ The driver’s response with his head in his hands, “Almost.”
Who are your heroes?
My children are my heroes.
Have you ever done enough to train your staff and successors to grow the business and give themselves a great life and opportunity?
It is like raising children, you will always worry about them and never feel you did enough.
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.