We’ve all heard that necessity is the mother of invention, but Shaker Heights resident Tyler Lacor took that to heart. The innovator with a creative mind decided to start up his own operation – Cha-O-Ha Design Co. – where he bring his unique ideas to fruition.
A few years ago, the Chicago native Kickstarted his way to birthing the pocket, all-in-one, 30-plus function tool EDC Card. Now he’s back with the Cyclist Card, which is currently the focus of a crowdfunding effort with Lacor hoping to go to market later next month.
CoolCleveland reconnected with Lacor, who makes all of his inventions in a Canton shop, about his cool inventions: EDC Card and Cyclist Card.
The last time we talked was regarding your EDC Card: the Ultimate Everyday Carry Pocket Multi-Tool, which could do literally everything — metric ruler, closed hex drivers, phillips screwdriver, lanyard hole, beveled edge, flathead screwdriver. How did that invention lead you to the Cyclist Card?
The last one was kind of just like brain idea. I was just making high-quality bracelets and didn’t really have a big product. It just made sense for me. I’ve always built things with my hands. I didn’t even know the concept existed for the card tool. I know I wanted to make it really high-quality, so I just put $1,000 I had in savings to make 50 of them and people liked it. Immediately after that, I was just going with that same brain wave, and I had the idea for this product a few years ago. It just took a long time to get a prototype because I was having some manufacturing issues. It’s like three years of just like prototyping it to fruition. That’s kind of the trail of that.
What’s the sales pitch behind the Cyclist Card?
It’s the same concept as the EDC Card, but with bikes. The thing with bikes, you have to have specialized equipment. You usually buy an Allen key set or Torx key set for modern bikes. This has like 43 functions on it. It’s like a whole modular compact system. Instead of carrying a big Allen multi-tool set with 20 different Allens, each bike has only two or three different ones that you need. So you take out what you need and the Card has these O-rings that you just slot it into and it stays secure. Also, this tool needs extra leverage so it’s a two-part tool. There’s the handle for it that you can stick in your bag. It’s totally innocuous and just like there if you need it. And the card part you can stick in your wallet.
What was the impetus for the Cyclist Card?
It wasn’t like a eureka moment. It was more like before cellphones, all I did was ride bikes everywhere. I ended up learning a lot about bikes. My dad would go for these bike rides and come back eight hours later and say he biked 100 miles that day. I just got hooked on learning about bikes, and I think it’s a great thing for humanity in general to ride bikes more. People who are serious about bikes would have all of this crazy gear, but if you’re a serious bike rider, you don’t want to carry a lot. That’s why I like the whole concept of limiting your kit but giving you more and making it compact and lightweight. If you’re going to invest in an expensive bike, you’ll probably be OK getting a $90 tool that will last your whole life. So it’s for serious bike enthusiasts or someone who likes the idea.
In terms of being an inventor, how did your experience with the EDC Card inform the Cyclist Card project?
I learned a lot about how to design and manufacture things correctly. It’s just been really good experience to go from like having no idea what I was doing to like learning everything about what it takes to get it made. It put me on a path I hope to be on for a long time.
So what’s next for Cha-O-Ha Design Co.?
I have three or four prototypes. The last couple of years my whole life has been very ridiculous. I haven’t had a chance to work on them. So my next project will be a unique knife design. After that, I’m either going to self-fund or do a small Kickstarter for a survival-outdoor kind of piece of gear. And then I’ll do a keychain version of this little thing.
Considering you’re an inventor, do you see yourself as more of a Ben Franklin or Thomas Edison?
I’d say Ben Franklin because Thomas Edison tried to take credit for everybody’s ideas that he hired. I’m a more Ben guy, I think.