First, I'm a problem solver.
My name is Elaine Sharp. I have my Masters in Public Health, Health Promotion and Education, so I get the whole Covid problem. When Covid hit in 2020, I like so many other people, was searching for a way to help and to "do something".
My spouse, an essential worker, works on the front lines in the ER. He would come home and tell me about the difficulties people were facing in the ER in regards to Covid.
A Laundry Basket for Inspiration?
One day, I was doing laundry and thinking about his problem. As I emptied the laundry basket, I had an idea for the problem he and other health care workers were experiencing.
The Intubation Tent
I created and designed a lightweight, portable, disposable, easy to set up, intubation tent which could be easily stored on a "crash cart" in the hospital. I was successful.
A Mom's Determination for a Kid With a Disability
As Covid raged and shut down the world, I realized that my son, who has a visual disability, does not drive and depends on public transportation and Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft (when public transportation is not readily available) would not be safe in a car with no protection. Based on the science, he could not socially distance in a car. He needed protection and so did the drivers and passengers when they got in a car together.
When we, as a society, were so concerned about 6 feet apart in businesses, schools, trains, airports, airplanes, and buses, we forgot about the car.
My basement: A Weirdly Creative Place
So, I set out to design a shield in my basement. But, how and with what material? So, I started testing materials. I probably have tested every vinyl, plastic film and shower curtain material out there. My house was literally overflowing with samples and rolls of various plastic and vinyl pieces.
First, I had to have a material that would hold up to temperature extremes- extreme hot and extreme cold. Second, I also faced the challenge of “how to suspend this material from the ceiling without doing damage to your car?
I certainly learned what doesn’t work.
More importantly, I also learned what does work. Using what I learned in creating the intubation tent, I applied that knowledge of product design and manufacturing to solving another problem: creating a shield that would protect drivers and riders while in a car.
Minority Owned, Minority Sourced, Made in the USA
Yes, bias and prejudice does exist for women in the manufacturing world and I got a front row seat for entering a "man's world". Ultimately, I found a fantastic local minority family owned manufacturer to manufacture my product here in Illinois. I sourced items locally and USA made as much as possible. I proudly founded my company, RideShield for RideShare, LLC., and filed my patent. RideShield for RideShare is 100% manufactured locally, right here in the USA, providing jobs opportunities and supporting American families.
100% Woman Owned and Created and Designed
RideShield for RideShare, LLC, is a 100% Woman Owned, designed and created, even down to the logo and graphics.
Coast to Coast and International Sales
My product has been sold coast to coast and internationally. My clients rave about the protection they get from my product.
Even Used by Movie Stars
Movie stars have even used my product. A funny story: I had a client who had heard about my product. He owned a high end limo company and catered to high end clients. We are talking 100K cars. He came to me to purchase my product. His friend had one and told him about the coverage my product offered. The limo company owner was told by the agency that does the booking for the movie stars that the insurance company for the movie stars was requiring a shield the extended from the ceiling to base of seats. He told me the shield used by Lyft and taxies, aka the "half shield" was not good enough and did not provide enough coverage.
My shield provided the protection and frame to frame coverage needed and required by the insurance companies who insured the movie stars. So, I installed my shield in his fleet of very nice suburban limos to protect the movie stars filming in Chicago. That was pretty cool!
Changing people's lives: Let them work again!
I have been told by many of my clients "I have changed their life." Many have told me they were stuck at home and unable to earn a living or work, but my product changed that.
With my product, people have told me they could go back to work again. They could drive again and they felt safe.
My product got them to Drive Again and Work Again!
The Best Part!
For me, hearing their stories, seeing the tears well up in their eyes multiple times and seeing the relief on their faces was not something I had expected when I designed this product, but it certainly has been the best part of this adventure!
It is the only product on the market that does no damage to your car, can be easily installed and uninstalled, can fit any car, provides the most coverage from ceiling to base of the seats and frame to frame coverage.
I listen. I drive for Uber. And, I make changes.
To truly understand my clients and their needs, I started driving for Uber. I got to see firsthand how passengers would take off their masks, wear it under their nose, wear it on their chin, eat in the car, and talk on the phone with their mask down. I also spent a lot of time interviewing and talking with drivers and asking them about their concerns and their needs. What did they want to see in a product? What coverage did they need and want? What feedback did they have for my products improvement? I did a lot of listening and a lot of learning.
I have done several iterations on this product, improving each time and we have our best design to date.
It is easier to install (I can do it in about 5 minutes in a 4 door sedan) and the most coverage to date.
And a thank you...
I would like to extend a special thank you to all my clients, fans, family, and friends who have supported me in this adventure.
I am truly blessed to have known each and every one of you!
Thank you for a wonderful ride!