Home Business NewsBusiness Shed Simove: How I created the key to happiness – no, seriously!

Shed Simove: How I created the key to happiness – no, seriously!

21st May 12 1:11 pm

Entrepreneur, “Ideas Man” and author Shed reveals one of life’s great secrets, via private parts, beer bottle tops and China

Here’s a morbid (but hopefully, still very engaging) thought. Terminally ill patients often express regrets about their life, ranging from “I wish I’d worked less” to “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends”.

For all of us still fortunate to be alive, these death-bed epiphanies provide important pointers for you and me about how to live a full and happy life. Now, it might seem a bit odd for a business article to cover the deep topic of “What’s it all about?”, and especially one from me, but rest assured, I’ll get back to being incredibly shallow in a couple of paragraphs. Glad we’ve cleared that up.

One factor I’ve discovered that has a huge effect on living a happy existence is the regular, but random, presence of seemingly minor surprises in life.  Once such unexpected episode recently happened to me – and it not only brought a smile to my face (and I hope that it’ll bring one to yours too), it also reminds us that when you use your brain to start to make something happen, you’re pretty much guaranteed to go on a fulfilling, exciting and unforeseen journey.

It began one day as I was driving up the M1 to give a speech on innovation to an audience of bright young students from ‘The Hive’, a groundbreaking department of Nottingham Trent University which encourages young people to explore their huge entrepreneurial potential.

As I motored along, I heard someone on the radio utter a famous phrase, and the words smashed into my consciousness: “Well…of course…money can’t buy happiness…” the voice said.

Boom! My brain exploded.

I immediately started to wonder whether I could actually make a product called ‘HAPPINESS and then sell it, thus turning the famous phrase on its head – and creating a fun new gift in the process.

I immediately did something I don’t usually do. When I arrived at the venue for my speech, I told this new idea to Phil and Chris, the brilliant and inspiring Educators who run The Hive.

Now, an idea is always the most fragile when it’s only in your brain, because it can be easily killed off by the comments of others. Fortunately, Phil and Chris loved the thought of a novelty product called ‘Happiness’, and even encouraged me to tell their students about it. Two of the students listening, Liyang and Kovina, were studying product design and asked if they could help me bring my new idea to life. Wow! This was hugely exciting.

A week later, they’d created a fabulous prototype – the word ‘Happiness’ carved in acrylic plastic. The idea was alive…

I then used this prototype to pitch the idea to Paladone, one of the impressive companies I work with in the gift industry. I pitched the idea as a key-ring – or paperweight – that simply spelt ‘happiness’. The fantastic team at Paladone saw the potential right away and signed the idea on the spot.

The 'Key To Happiness' key-ring, created by Shed Simove

Over the next few months, they developed the concept and suggested we make a metal keyring shaped into the word ‘happiness’ and design it so that it also doubled as a bottle opener. This would then cleverly extend the ‘joke’ of where happiness can come from. They sent me the artwork for the packet containing the keyring and once we were all delighted, the final designs were sent to China to be made into shiny new gifts.

A few short months later, I received the first batch of key-rings. And boy, was I pleased. I hurriedly opened one of the packs. Paladone had done a fantastic job as ever, and the key-ring looked magnificent resting in my hand.

Then, my eye caught sight of the packaging I’d discarded onto my desk. I did a double take. I picked up the plastic insert that held the key-ring in place at the back of the packet, and what I saw astonished me. There was no doubt that the plastic insert, whilst completely faithfully following the shape of the key-ring, also resembled something totally unrelated and far, far ruder.

I hurriedly snapped some pictures of this curiously shaped packaging insert and sent them to both my family and the team at Paladone, asking them if they could see what I was seeing.

Naughty-looking packaging of the 'Key to Happiness' key-ring, designed by Shed Simove

The next day my dad called me up, extremely excited. “Shed, Shed, I’ve been thinking about the packaging you showed us,” he blurted. He then paused for dramatic effect, clearly hugely proud of himself. “Perhaps it’s the Ha-Penis,” he said delightedly.

Just brilliant.

My dad was on the phone, making a ‘knob gag’, something I’d never heard him do before. Quite a moment in my life.

Now, the idea that the ‘Key To Happiness’ could in any way be ‘Ha-Penis’ really amused me.

An email soon arrived from Paladone which said, “Shed, you’re the first person to notice this.” That made me chuckle too, because it suggested I’d seen something perverse and disgraceful in the packaging where nothing was actually there, much like a serial killer looking at an innocuous ink blot and seeing a dismembered body.

I’m fully prepared to admit that I have a left-field mind (very proud of it too), but in this case, I firmly believe that if you showed anyone over the age of eighteen the plastic insert and said, “What does that look like?”, you’d only get one answer – and it wouldn’t be the correct one, which is: “The outline of a high quality novelty metal key-ring that spells the word ‘Happiness’.”

The 'Key to Happiness' key-ring with packaging - can you see what Shed sees?!

I adore the thought that the minds of everyone at Paladone and the factory in China are entirely pure and unsullied, and that it took a disgraceful deviant like myself to point out the elephant (or rather, snake) in the room.

And it also proves quite neatly that happiness really can come from the very unexpected, very wonderful, little things in life, especially when you make the exciting leap to start turning your ideas into reality.

Find out more about Shed at www.ShedSimove.com and add him on Twitter and LinkedIn. Shed’s new book, ‘Success – Or Your Money Back’ published by Hay House, is out October 2012.

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