I’ll admit that while I enjoy watching football, I don’t know a lot about it. In fact, when I first started on this journey to interview Tennessee Titan Bernard Pollard, I had to look up what exactly a safety was and did because I didn’t want my questions to seem too out there to him.
Mr. Pollard is a pretty amazing guy, from the fact that he is so devoted to his family to his brilliant invention that he’ll talk about in this interview. He is the type of visionary you would be more likely to find in a science lab or a board room, but he just happens to be one of the best football players out there as well.
When I first heard about Bernard Pollard’s product, the Smart Tray®, I wondered what inspired him to create a product that was used for personal care products. However, after hearing what the product does, I understood how this ties perfectly into his role of safeguarding others, whether it is his team or his family or the rest of us.
Exclusive Interview with Bernard Pollard
Hello Mr. Pollard. Thank you for agreeing to talk to Rat Race Mutiny about your entrepreneurial product today.
When people think about Bernard Pollard, they think about football, defense, the Super Bowl… they probably don’t think about solutions to annoying daily limitations. I think it is fascinating that you’ve invented this neat gadget that makes it easier for people to have enough space to get ready in the morning.
What made you think about this gadget?
Pollard: I created the product after I consistently saw the need to create space in my own bathroom at home and while traveling with my family. My wife would have all of her hair care products and make-up products, which dominated the bathroom counter and the sink. Of course, I didn’t have space to use any of my items so I thought of a way that we both can use the space safely and in an organized manner.
You have a wife and children. How much product testing did they help you do on the Smart Tray?
Pollard: We have a Smart Tray in every bathroom in our home, and we don’t leave home without them. The Smart Tray has made getting the kids ready simpler and more efficient, and that gives us time to work on ourselves.
I have two daughters (17 and 20), and I think this device is absolutely brilliant. No more fighting for sink space in their shared bathroom! What kind of feedback are you getting from consumers?
Pollard: According to our users, the Smart Tray is a peacemaker. A Smart Tray user responded to us using Twitter and said that she and her roommate felt empowered because they didn’t have to battle or argue for space in the bathroom. A lot of the Smart Tray users are really happy about how their time in the bathroom is used much more effectively and efficiently, and how it eliminates clutter and safety hazards, like leaving a blow dryer in the sink.
Not only do you play safety for the Tennessee Titans, where you have to think defensively and about the safety and available scoring opportunities for your team, but this tray offers a different type of safety for users. How can this tray prevent accidents?
Pollard: One of the most important things about the Smart Tray is that it’s heat resistant. So curling irons won’t leave burn marks in or around the sink. A major hazard is leaving electrical items in the sink because of water, but the Smart Tray eliminates this. Even when you use the Smart Tray, it allows for water to flow. And the Smart Tray saves you money because it prevents your appliances from falling to the floor.
You’re starting an entire brand around personal care and safety. Tell us a little more about your vision for Style Pro 31, and where you see it in five to ten years…
Pollard: Considering the response from users, I hope the Smart Tray will become a household product. Given that it can be used in apartments, dorm rooms, hospitals, assisted living facilities, hotels and cruise ships, I know that the Smart Tray will be used everywhere and everyone will have the opportunity to experience how much their bathroom routine will change, and how much more efficient their usable bathroom space can be.
It’s never easy to develop and launch a new product. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Pollard: I think the challenges have been trumped by the user response. When I get an email or a response on Twitter, I get excited because I know that I’ve improved someone’s day. The Smart Tray is a simple and easy-to-use product, and it makes such an improved difference in a person’s day-to-day life.
What is harder? Making it to the Super Bowl or developing an idea for a new product?
Pollard: Well in both areas I think I manage to make good decisions at crunch time. On the field there is a battle, and in the bathroom there is a battle for space, but I know I have mastered how to eliminate the latter.
Football players have a much younger retirement age than most other professions. How does Style Pro 31 tie into your plans for life after football one day?
Pollard: The Smart Tray started as a simple solution to my problem, but me being an inventor and entrepreneur will continue. As I find problems I will continue to solve them by creating a solution.
What advice would you give to a young entrepreneur who wants to develop products?
Pollard: I would say: Think it through and keep in mind the problem you intend to solve. That’s the best way you can develop the best product, and get help from those who know more than you. Ask questions and continue to be curious.
How long did it take you to develop the Smart Tray from the initial idea to producing it?
Pollard: I had the vision for the Smart Tray, and as I worked with engineers and designers for years to make sure my vision worked.
What mistakes did you make that others can learn from?
Pollard: Not inventing the Smart Tray sooner! I could have avoided so many headaches and saved so much time and money.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks to Mr. Pollard
I want to thank Bernard Pollard for taking the time to chat about his company and the Smart Tray®. If you have a vision for a product or service, Mr. Pollard serves as a good example of how hard work and perseverance can pay off in a product that people will love.
*I did not receive any money or product in exchange for conducting this interview. I am a neutral, third party questioner in this scenario.