Dean Cravens had been suffering severe pain in his knee since a high school football injury in 1978. He took a helmet to the left knee, which left severe cartilage damage.
For over 30 years, the pain intensified and when he could not find relief, Cravens took matters into his own hands and invented a device that would straighten his bowing leg and relieve his pain.
The Belleville resident recently began production and talked to business writer Will Buss about his invention, KAD, or Knee Adjustment Device, and his company, Simp-Stainable LLC:
How did you come up with this idea?
“I was beginning to feel burning on the outside of my knee and I went to back to my orthopedic surgeon and asked if there was anything that he could do. He said that at this point in time there was nothing he could do and it needed to be replaced. I was pretty dejected because I liked working out and staying active.”
What did you do?
“I went home and started experimenting with various ways to relieve my pain. I tried some different things with weights and ropes and wood and screws. I went to Chelar Tool & Die in Belleville and had them build a prototype out of steel. Once I got the sturdier prototype built, I was able to use it more often and with better precision and the pain began to go away. I begun jogging with my daughters for the first time ever and ran in a couple 5K races.
“The burning, inflammation and osteoarthritis had receded and my pain had gone away in all parts of my knee. That’s when I knew that I had something. I went to see my surgeon and he took some x-rays, and he said, ‘You have a winner.’ It has really opened up your knee and the inflammation and the osteoarthritis has disipated.”
How did you start your business?
“I made a mock up of the KAD out of Legos and took it along with the prototype made by Chelar Tool & Die to Total Titanium, a precision engineering company in Red Bud, and contracted with them to design the Knee Adjustment Device. They simplified the design and built one that was sturdy, lightweight and easy to use. Total Titanium manufactures and ships the KAD out of Red Bud. I have a patent pending for the KAD and established Simp-Stainable LLC in Wyoming to sell the product on the Web under the company name.”
Why in Wyoming?
“An LLC costs a lot more in Illinois than in Wyoming, it is much easier to start there, and you get better business coverage. Since I only sell over the Internet and don’t have a brick-and-mortar storefront, it only made sense”
How do you reach customers?
“I sell it through the website, www.simp-stainable.com. The website has just fully come together now. It was the first website I have ever built. It’s been a long process. I filed the patent in August and completed everything with Total Titanium in September and have been building the site. We are up and running now. It’s taken about two years to come up with the right design and company format.”