Upper Desk, Inc.

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Throughout a 30 year career as an electrician and 34 year marriage, Roderick Phillips was always an inventor and innovator. But it was a letter of encouragement his wife left him after she passed away in 2009 that finally inspired him to take the steps from tinkerer’s workshop to market. Working as a team with his daughter, Stephanie Phillips-Taggart, Rod is now fulfilling his life-long dream of bringing creative new consumer products to the marketplace.
 
Their first “Upper Desk” product is an invention that conveniently mounts a tablet under a cabinet or shelf - putting “technology where you need it."
 
Seeking to turn his ideas into a successful business, Rod and Stephanie, sought help from the specialty Engineering Development Services at the Bucknell University Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Staff and students at the SBDC assisted him with patent and market research, product development guidance, and even some engineering design assistance with Upper Desk products still in the pipeline.
 
The SBDC’s educational programs also helped expand the company’s knowledge of marketing and business development topics; and in their first year, the company has created two jobs. With a combination of local media coverage and a national marketing campaign, sales went from a few units a week to selling hundreds a week during the 2013 holiday season. The showpiece of this marketing was the national recognition Upper Desk garnered as a winner in the QVC Sprouts program; a crowd-voting platform to identify and promote new retail products. Their product is now available at www.qvc.com.
 
Upper Desk is growing by adding new products and accessories to its portfolio. They strive to help people use and benefit from new technology - in all settings in the home and at work. “We couldn’t have done this without the guidance of the SBDC. We know that we can turn to Bucknell and our partners to help us on this entrepreneurial path,” Rod said.