Stephanie Saia remembers the date when she came up with the idea for the Chair-iot — July 9, 2009. She said she was at a fireworks display show and saw thousands of people carrying their chairs but wheeling their coolers.
She made a prototype within the week and the Chair-iot was born. The product design is now patented and the name and logo are trademarked.
The Chair-iot can fit two folding chairs with room to spare, has a large back pocket and a smaller one on the side plus pockets for drinks. When not in use, the Chair-iot folds up into a tote bag, which is also how it's packaged.
Saia said the Chair-iot is sold with or without the chairs.
"Because people use it for other things," she said.
It can fit items like easels and sports equipment, she said.
"This is the first of its kind on the market," Saia said. "You see the light bulb go off when people see it and they say, 'Oh, I need that.'"
Saia, who has lived in Plymouth since 1985, sells Chair-iots while working full time as a legal assistant. She spent a lot of time designing the wheels, which she said pull easily through sand, and including features like strong zippers and a side handle for when the bag needs to be carried up stairs.
She said she sells mostly online and people hear about it through word of mouth.
"Almost every day, I get a call or an email," she said.
She said the next phase is to work with schools and sporting clubs to customize the Chair-iots. People can already request their personal or team names to be embroidered on the case. Saia said she is now looking into college licensing.
"I think an alum would love to have it in their school colors and with their school emblem," she said.
She also enjoys giving back to the community and plans to let schools sell the Chair-iot. The product, which cost $39.95, could be sold for whatever amount the school wanted to create a fund-raising opportunity.
Her goal is to get the Chair-iot in every store that sells a chair, she said.
"This is something they don't know they want," she said.