What is RainTaps and how do I buy a custom umbrella?
RainTaps are custom tap handle umbrellas. They’re made using a patent pending design that attaches a tap handle, often a beer tap, as the umbrella handle. We offer a number of pre-made umbrellas that are available in our online store and through select retail partners. We can also create custom umbrellas using the tap handles that are available in our online store of by doing a special order. For special orders we can track down a specific tap or use a tap from select breweries.
Who are we?
We really refers to me, Ben Lewis. I’m a designer, crafter and entrepreneur based out of Somerville Mass. I customize all of the umbrellas and manage all business operations. If you hear from us on facebook, Instagram, or Twitter you’re chatting with me!
This isn’t my first time designing or launching products. I launched the parent company to RainTaps, Neural Shunt Media in 2012 with my first product Zombie SAK, a zombie survival kit. I’m also one of the founders behind Mystery Envelope, a monthly mail subscription service filled with fun and intrigue.
How did this start?
While I was in-between projects this summer I was thinking about tap handles. In particular I was thinking about Pretty Things, a local brewery that went out of business a couple of years ago. They had a simply beautiful tap handle, a subtle ceramic piece in powder blue with a nicely contrasted red logo. I went to ebay to see if I could even find one, and I could, for eighty bucks.
Since I was between projects there was no way I could justify spending decent money on something that would just collect dust in my basement so I put it out of mind.
A few weeks later it was raining out so I had brought my umbrella with me to Workbar where I was working from at the time. Then halfway through the day the rain let up, and I ended up carrying this gigantic umbrella around with me for the rest of the day. It was a good umbrella but there was something that was missing, and that was style. At that point it hit me that I could make that style happen by having a Pretty Things tap as the handle for my umbrella.
My first thought was that someone must have already had this idea so I scoured the internet, and somehow there were none to be found, no tap handle umbrellas, really no way to have a custom umbrella at all. The closest thing that I could find was some english umbrella makers that offered various wooden handles on their five hundred dollar bespoke umbrellas.
At this point I wasn’t sure if I was the only person that though this was a brilliant idea. To get a little bit of feedback I brought it up at lunch a few days later with two of my friends. I just managed to get the words “tap handle” and “umbrella” out of my mouth and they were insisting that I make it happen.
At this point I didn’t know how I was going to make this happen but I did know that I could make it happen. There was something about the logic that gave me confidence in my ability to find a solution and I was right, but not right away. I started buying umbrella after umbrella, hacking them apart, glueing in components, cracking and bending them with my experiments. I went through about twenty umbrellas, many of the designs came close to what I wanted, only one really passed my tests for design, durability and utility. Then I took that design, reinforced it and put it through an extra battery of tests.
I had come up with a method of taking a quality umbrella, modifying the design to work with a tap handle, and improve the aesthetic appeal. I had my final design.
At this point I took it out for a proper test run. The umbrella got looks from people that I’ve never seen before, there was fascination in people’s eyes, confusion followed by a look of elation when they realized what they were looking at.
RainTaps had been born and they were ready to change umbrellas into something more than a piece of fabric to block the rain, they had become a way of bringing excitement and style into the lives of anyone one that saw one.