Inspired by NASA’s Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle spacecraft, a Sunnyvale resident has designed and is selling an ornament that will please aerospace addicts this holiday season.
Richard Lesher, 46, is a veteran and stay-at-home dad to a toddler and two-month-old. As a child he wanted to be an Air Force pilot and dreamed of walking on the moon, but ended up spending 20 years in corporate finance and banking before becoming an Army reservist, marrying his wife and having his two children.
Although his two jobs keep him plenty busy, the idea to develop and sell a space-related holiday ornament came to him when his wife’s aerospace company was searching for a gift to give its employees last year. After being unable to find a product similar to the products her company made, the organization outsourced the job, which gave Lesher an idea. In realizing there was a gap in the market of space-oriented ornaments, he took it upon himself to fill that need.
Lesher said he began his company, Satellite Ornaments, this past August, when he began working on obtaining business permits. Then, collaborating directly with a design team and manufacturer on the East Coast, Lesher developed a design closely resembling the Orion. He had the first prototype made and then tweaked it to come up with the final 3D product, which is made out of lightweight metal.
However, because of his somewhat late start in development, production was put slightly behind. He currently has a product page created on Amazon, but Lesher said the actual satellite ornaments will not be in his hands until mid-December. This leaves little time for people to purchase them for their own tree, but enough time for customers to buy them as a gift for their friends and family.
“If you’re into space things or aerospace it’s great for that or it’s for the person who is interested in these for a gift,” he said, adding the ornament is “a perfect way to orbit your Christmas tree.”
Although Lesher’s Satellite Ornaments are still at the infantile stages, he has plans on ways to further expand the line to capitalize on general interests like fire trucks, cars, boats and other spacecraft. But first, he said, he wants to put feelers out with this ornament and gauge customer interest.
“We’re at the very beginning,” he said. “I think people will be very interested in other products. If this goes well I hope to add other space engineering-type products and other ornaments of interest. Now that I know the process of adding new products [to Amazon], it should be a lot quicker.”
The biggest challenge moving forward, he said, is figuring out a cost-effective way to get his product into people’s hands, as potential customers are inundated with items found online.
“The hardest thing about this process is letting people know this exists,” he said. “People don’t walk into the mall anymore or walk down the street looking at shops. You have to be found in the sea of the internet. We’re swamped by information, but I think this can succeed.”
The “Orbiting Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle – Metal Ornament Orbiting Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle,” as it’s named on Amazon, will sell for $34.99. Visit amazon.com/gp/product/B07KKN5NJQ for the product page, which will be updated once inventory arrives or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.