Meet Teka Thomas
One of the rites of passage in becoming an adult is being burdened with the basic necessities you should never leave home without-keys, wallet, I.D. and more. This can be annoying when you’re doing something that you should have your hands free for sports, daily runs, or just fun events like festivals and amusement parks. When Teka Thomas went out for his morning run he realized he didn’t have a bag that could carry what he needed and give him maximum mobility. “My name-brand backpack was just a little too cumbersome,” he said “And like most guys, I didn’t like to wear fanny packs. So I started looking online for something that would hold my essentials and not throw off my center of gravity. But I couldn’t find anything, so I came up with VRYPAC.” VRYPAC is Teka’s solution to carrying around your essentials while leaving your hands free. “I started off targeting runners, but people who do extreme sports like skateboarding also love it and my female friends prefer it to a handbag. So it’s really for anybody.” VRYPAC is built for everyone, of any shape or size (except maybe your dog). It comes with pockets for cards, epi-pens, and enough space for a small water bottle or ipad mini. It has a water-resistant sleeve and extensive, adjustable straps.
As a first-time entrepreneur Teka has learned valuable lessons about how to invent, create, and market a product. “Being a successful entrepreneur is being in the frame of mind where you are able to switch from a white collar to a blue collar and back all day” he said. “I’m my own teamster, I have to pack my boxes and ship them, I’m my own graphic designer, and then I negotiate my own deals, do my own finances. I’m my own general counsel. And I need to do both without any hesitation.” Teka also dealt with a lot of challenges during the creation stage of VRYPAC. Many prototypes were made, and Teka faced a few language barriers communicating with the factory in China. After as Teka put it “two frustrating years” the VRYPAC is complete and being sold online, where it’s already gained many positive reviews on Amazon.
A Business Attorney with degrees from Harvard (Masters in Liberal Arts), the University of Miami (BBA in Political Science), and the University of San Francisco (JD), Teka has shared his legal education with other members of Street Entrepreneurs at volunteer workshops. “The number one legal consideration any entrepreneur should take is to contact a lawyer promptly.” He said. “This way you can protect your name, figuring out the best corporate form for your organization as well as the contracts, intellectual property strategy and all the deals and arrangements you’re going to make to run your business the way you want it.”
Teka has enjoyed turning his idea into a real business venture. “It’s nice to see an idea you had, something sketched out on paper actually in fruition and people liking it and paying money for it. I’ve gotten a kick out of the whole thing. I hope the company can grow further.” Teka will be displaying his product at the Street Entrepreneurs’ showcase. VRYPAC is also available on Amazon ,on their website https://vrypac.squarespace.com and popusa.org.