Business inspiration can come at the most unusual of times. For Lynn Rainwater, it came during one of his Montesano-to-Renton commutes, a one-way trek of 91 miles.
Rainwater, 39, used to work in security at The Boeing Co.’s plant in Renton, and one day he was stuck in traffic on Interstate 5 near Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
As he sat there behind the wheel of his vehicle, he noticed the window stickers on the vehicle in front of him, showing the outline of a family. We’ve all seen this sticker: it shows the outline of parents, plus children and a pet, if they have any.
But rather than a sticker that showed the number of people in a family, what if it displayed key medical information about the driver or other occupants of the car?
A business was born.
Rainwater started selling the stickers, which he calls My Medical Sticker, online in March. A base sticker costs $8.99, plus there are three spaces on the sticker where the buyer can list up to three medical conditions, such as implanted medical device, or heart condition or hearing impaired, for $1.25 each.
He also has created a breast cancer sticker, with $1 from each sale donated to the Susan G. Komen breast cancer organization, and a sticker for children who might have medical conditions that need to be noted. He has 50,000 stickers on hand and so far has filled 123 orders, he said.
“Some people have medical ID cards, some have bracelets, but first responders don’t always have time to look,” Rainwater said, adding that he did months of research before opening his business, including talking to those who work in emergency services.
Rainwater also considered producing a sticker that could be scanned with a device, but he felt that was an unnecessary extra step for first responders.
“This is the way to go,” he said about his product.
Rainwater, originally from Denver, used to work with his brother in the swimming pool business in Florida. But after the economy slowed in Florida, Lynn’s two older brothers, who had already served in the Marines, decided to join the Army. Lynn followed them, too, which eventually introduced him to Washington state via Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
“I fell in love with Washington immediately,” he said. “I even put the Denver Broncos behind me and became a fan of the Seahawks.”
After the Army, Rainwater went to work at Boeing. As for business experience, this isn’t Rainwater’s first venture into business.
When he was 18 in Denver, he opened Rainwater Window Washing, which lasted three months, he said. If anything, it was a learning experience, Rainwater said, because it taught him the importance of professionalism and the kind of commitment you need to make to run a business.
“You have to love what you do,” Rainwater said.
My Medical Sticker
Owner: Lynn Rainwater.
Location: Rainwater lives in Montesano, but has registered his Internet-based business in Olympia. Rainwater Innovations LLC does business as My Medical Sticker.
Years in business: Business opened in March.
Type of business: Rainwater made a sticker providing medical information for vehicle occupants. If there is an accident, first responders can check the sticker for medical conditions.
Advice to business owners: You have to love what you do because it will be more difficult than you realize and require a lot of your time.
Did you know? Rainwater, originally from Denver, served in the Army for four years, which introduced him to the Northwest when he was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. After that he worked in security for a year at a Boeing plant in Renton.