North Routt resident hopes his business idea catches on, but ‘doesn’t stick’
Like many of his neighbors living on Willow Creek Pass, Cody Lynn has spent a lot of time with a shovel in his hand this winter clearing his driveways, walkway and roof.
“This was probably the deepest winter that I have ever seen in my life,” said Lynn, whose dog greets visitors on a perch high on a snow pile that lines his driveway. “I, like everyone else, spent a lot of time throwing a ton of snow, and I hurt my back throwing snow after having it stick to the shovel.”
Lynn could have complained about the aches and pain in his back, but instead he used the falling snow as inspiration for a new business idea: Shovelwax.
Shovelwax is an environmentally conscious product created from natural soy, candelilla, carnauba and bees wax, as well as graphite. The mixture helps prevent snow from sticking to the shovel in all kinds of conditions.
“I was reminded that you can lubricate your shovel, and it kind of took me back to my childhood,” Lynn said. “We used to lube up our sleds with Pam (nonstick cooking spray), WD-40 and bacon grease so we could go a bit faster.”
Now, he is hoping to apply that same concept to his idea to keep the snow from sticking to his snow shovel, but with a more environmentally friendly approach.
“I’ve been shoveling snow up here for 4 years now, and I had never heard of anything like it. I went home and I did some quick Googling and went on GoDaddy, and I ended up buying ShovelWax.com,” Lynn said. “All I could find were Teflon and non-natural solutions to stop snow from sticking onto shovels and articles about different hacks you can do to keep the snow from sticking to the shovel — but there were no official products.”
The good news is that unlike Teflon sprays, WD-40 and many of the waxes used on skis that contain polyfluoroalkyl substances that may be harmful, Shovelwax is created from natural waxes. In March the Deseret News reported that the Park City officials had enacted a drinking water regulation that prohibits using or selling waxes that contained the “forever chemical” they believe is causing contamination of groundwater wells and an aquifer.
“That’s why there has been increased interest in all natural ski waxes, and they’re starting to get better over the years,” Lynn said. “As a designer, I only want to make things that are better green and healthy. … With this, if it ever breaks apart and you lose it in your front yard, it’s not toxic; it’s just a clump of wax.”
With a background in industrial design and engineering, along with a little bit of material science, Lynn said he is always looking for something he can create. A few years back, he joined his dad, to create Paladin Shaving, a high-end shaving brush.
“When I thought of shovel wax, I was like, ‘Holy cow, that’s something I can do,'” Lynn said. “This is the best winter probably in my lifetime. I’ll have to make something like this work.”
In January, he created molds with the 3D printer in his home office and began making the wax bars that are Shovelwax. Then he fine-tuned the product and process before introducing it to his North Routt neighbors and friends across the county.
The idea was to test Shovelwax and how it performed in different conditions and temperatures. He worked with a friend to come up with a shape that works on every shovel and to create the labels.
Lynn said he has been involved in all aspects of creating Shovelwax, designing the mold with a friend, printing the mold on a 3D printer and casting the actual bars in his home office. He even creates the labels for the packaging, which has seeds inside, allowing people to plant it.
“It’s pretty cool to be able to plant the paper that should grow into wildflowers,” Lynn said. “As an industrial designer and engineer, I really don’t like the idea of producing a million pieces of waste. I want to make something cool that helps people, but I also don’t want to make something that has a destiny in a landfill.”
The packaging lays out two basic steps for using the product. The first step is to rub the wax on the front and back of the shovel’s blade, and step two is to throw snow like never before.
“I shoveled my entire roof off and did stuff in the backyard, and I still don’t need to apply more. I was chopping through hard ice and snow and really putting it through some abuse,” Lynn said. “It’s extremely durable and application does go a very long way.”
He is hoping to find local support with his Kickstarter page and encourages folks to check out his product at ShovelWax.com.
“I’ve been using it for the last three months, and I haven’t had snow sticking to my shovel since I’ve started using Shovelwax,” Lynn said. “There’s no break from the wicked weather up here when snow gets going, but I’m hoping this product can make it a little easier next time.”
John F. Russell is the business reporter at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach him, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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