For over 11 years, James Farr has been helping those in need as an ER nurse at the Los Alamitos Medical Center. For the past three years, however, Farr has become an inventor and entrepreneur by night with the creation of My Fingerbell.

James first got the idea for My Fingerbell when rollerblading along the Long Beach pier. While dodging between people, bikes, and dogs, he began thinking of a voiceless way of alerting those around him that he was coming through.

“I had this little dream,” said James, “to let people know in a nice way [that] I’m present.”

Recalling cherished childhood memories when he would ring a bell on his bicycle while speeding through his neighborhood, he had an epiphany: If the bell were on a finger he could effortlessly alert people of his presence in any situation. Energized by his flash of inspiration, he drew a design on a napkin and decided to make one.

What started out as a little dream has turned into a big reality; Farr has created his own product, My Fingerbell. My Fingerbell is a rubber ring with a finely tuned bell that cuts through the din of any crowd. In addition to selling his bell on his website he is also selling it on Amazon.

What makes My Fingerbell so unique is its many applications. Its use doesn’t just stop with activities like running on busy trails or (even busier) city sidewalks. The bell can be used for just about anything. Whether it’s to train your puppy, for a teacher getting their students’ attention, or as a little trinket for weddings to celebrate the happy couple; My Fingerbell can cater to any need. And it’s just fun!

My Fingerbell comes in two colors, blue and red, pink and white

My Fingerbell comes in two colors, blue and red, pink and white

James has had help along the way from the CSUF Startup Incubator. After meeting with CSUF Startup Incubator staff and explaining his vision, he was accepted into the Incubator as a Resident. During his time at the Incubator, James was able to draw on the experience and advice of staff and his dedicated startup coach to help him craft a custom launch plan for his product.

“[The program at Cal State Fullerton] helped catapult me into a mindset of how to make my invention operational. You can take an idea, but to see it through and understand every aspect of it, from legality to marketing to manufacturing, sales distribution, retail and funding; they [teach] those components.”

There was so much to learn while perfecting the product and he relied on the lean startup methodology that informs the CSUF Startup Incubator’s launch strategy. Working with a student team from Cal State Fullerton, James developed a clear and comprehensive understanding of his market. While at the CSUF Startup Incubator, he also honed his operational plan and developed a pitch that he uses when meeting with investors or partners.

Although James’ has graduated from the CSUF Startup Incubator, the lessons he learned will help him grow My Fingerbell and will help him with all his ventures in the future.

“I can’t tell you enough how wonderful it is having the [entrepreneurial] mindset.”

Written by: Arianna Ford and Travis Lindsay