After patent dispute, North Dakotan inventor makes name for herself

Good Day Dakota
North Dakota is filled with many entrepreneurs trying to make a name for themselves. KX news recently met up with a local photographer who created a camera strap like none other.
 
Nicole Elliot recently sparked a big deal with a major company and says she hopes her journey can inspire others. 
 
She designed the new strap with one thing in mind,”A strap for women made by women.”
 
Nicole Elliott is a Bismarck local that has been chasing her dreams since she was little
 
“I have been in the photography industry since I was 15 years old,” Elliott told me.

She said after starting a thriving photography business she still had this feeling that she had more to offer.

“It really came out of this place of where like what am I doing with my life. I think women especially get to these places where they are like what is my purpose? What should I be doing?”

She says she was on a trip when the idea first sparked.

“I remember being in Ecuador and using my camera with its conventional strap and seeing these women carry much heavier things with ease and here I am carrying my heavy strap and my neck is hurting my shoulders are hurting and I am like this is not right,” says Elliott. “So this light bulb moment went off where I am like there is a better way to do this.”

She had her inspiration– she based her design off how the women were carrying their large loads with such ease. She gave me a little bit of a tutorial on why the strap is so unique.
 
“This strap is for everyone and the cool thing about it is that it not only distributes the weight evenly. But I kind of thought of every annoying thing that happens when I use my camera,” says Elliott.
 
The strap is not only weightless, but it also offers a reversible design with front and back pockets for whenever you’re in a rush.
 
Next, she launched it on Amazon, all was going great, until she got a call saying they were no longer going to offer her product due to patent issues.

“I was now in this moment where I was like do I just quit 100 percent or maybe I just didn’t hear it right and this isn’t what I should have done. And I was really faced with a couple of weeks of what was I thinking. I am crazy why did I do this thing.”

She said after a friend sent her a scripture verse a holy fire came over her.
 
“I call the company that called Amazon to shut me down and I was like hey this is who I am, this is my story I am a mom, I am a photographer, I am a wife, I am an entrepreneur, this is what I believe in, can you help me here?”
 
Little did Elliott know the company she thought ruined her would actually end up offering her a partnership. Black Rapids is the company that contacted Amazon in the first place.

It is one of the worlds most trusted camera strap companies and after hearing Elliot’s story— the owner decided he wanted to be a part of her story. She told me after teaming up, their first launch went better than she expected.
 
“We sold out within the first week that we were live. I mean it was just crazy it was like women were saying this is what I have been waiting for and I didn’t know I was waiting for it,” says Elliott.

Elliott says she’s so grateful for all the positive feedback and success of the strap, but says it means more to her than just business.

“If I can create a camera strap that encourages people to take their DSLR cameras out and put their cell phones down. Then I know I did something awesome for you. When memories fade pictures remain and that’s what this is ultimately about.”
 
And don’t you worry fellas, Elliot told me this strap has also been popular for men. She adds they are already in the planning process of some new ideas.
 
For more information about the strap, click here.
 
KX News wishes you the best and a big congratulations to all your success, Nicole!
 

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