FROM 25-YEAR INCARCERATION TO COVID-STERILITY PRODUCT INVENTOR
Rehabilitated Baltimore felon mentored by Speck Design creates patent-pending idea for disposable, contamination-prevention barbershop tool while in prison.
SAN JOSE – MAY 13, 2021: After having spent 25 years in several federal penitentiaries, Keith E. Bryant introduces the world to his COVID safety-related haircutting product, which he conceptualized while serving his time. With the mentoring of Speck Design, Keith E. Bryant is now pitching his Swipes product for keeping barbershops sterile during COVID to potential investors. His product is a winning combination of improved hygiene along with a user experience that harkens back to an era when going to the barber was luxurious.
Initially sentenced to 53 years and one month in 1995 for multiple armed bank robberies in Baltimore – an unusual case that involved controversial testimony and appeals – Keith spent 25 years in the Federal Bureau of Prisons system. He resided in penitentiaries around the country, including Leavenworth in Kansas, Big Sandy in Kentucky and Coleman Medium Security in Florida. While incarcerated, Keith used his time in prison to think and create.
During COVID and under quarantine, he came up with the concept for Swipes: After haircuts, stylists use various, not-completely-hygienic methods to remove loose hair on their clients’ faces and necks. Some people experience breakouts because of contamination from the same talc used on every customer, for example, or don’t like the personal invasiveness or loud noises from vacuums or air cans. Keith came up with the concept of a disposable, loose-hair-removal system that involves one-use, hypoallergenic materials, and therefore generating continual revenue.
Though excited about coming up with this concept, Keith had no idea where to go with it next. So, while using the Coleman prison inmate computer, he decided to Google Black-owned design firms. He found only one – Speck Design in San Jose, CA – and emailed to ask for help. Speck’s Senior Director of Product Development Strategy Denise Pliskin responded and got the ball rolling on mentoring Keith with Speck CEO Michael Sprauve and the rest of the team.
Speck is teaching Keith the ropes of entrepreneurial technology development. They have already helped him create a pitch deck for potential investors, and are coaching him on interviewing potential customers, finding VC sources and other aspects of product development. Michael says, “We are extremely excited to be working with Keith – and not only because he has a fantastic idea that we think, through our 25 years in the product-development business, will be very lucrative. We are also thrilled that his product idea benefits public health in these pandemic times, proving that it’s possible to endure the US prison system for decades and still have the desire to help society.”