Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Riches to Rags to Riches Again, The Bowflex Inventor Story


In a San Francisco cottage 23 years ago T. Dosho Shifferaw, an Ethiopian immigrant and inventor, struggled to design the perfect chair. Stuck and frustrated, he bent a spare metal rod across his shoulders and in that moment stumbled upon the key to transforming America's home gym workouts.

After discovering that the resistance of the rod created a smooth, muscle-building workout, Shifferaw created the "Bowflex," one of the nation's best-known infomercial products.

Shifferaw - who arrived in the United States with just $500 - a multimillionaire. For years, investors refused to back the Bowflex, saying it looked like an octopus or a spider -- not like an exercise machine.

"When I initially designed and tried to market it to companies, no one would
take it. It was such a different looking product. Some said it looked like a
spider, others an octopus. They demanded I make it look like an exercise
machine," recalls Tessema D. Shifferaw, founder, CEO and creative mind behind
Dosho Design, Inc.

Instead, the Bowflex went on to become the fastest-selling piece of exercise equipment in the United States with sales pole-vaulting from $10 million in 1995 to $585 million in 2002, nearly doubling each year.

Shifferaw's most recent inventions include the Windjector, a unique "wind-resistance trainer" and the DoshBell, a Pac-Man-like dumbbell design that clamps on barbells, allowing weights to be adjusted to fro five to 55 pounds, depending on how much effort one wants to put into a workout.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"...They demanded I make it look like an exercise

Who is they?

Who designed it?