A few years ago, Mike Rice was trying to use his laptop to sketch some drawings outside of his family’s summer home in Canada. But he needed a workspace. So he went to his woodshop and carved out a desk. “My family kept asking me to build more for them,” Rice says. “So after a brainstorming session, we decided to sell it.” And, the Belly Bean was born. The wooden desk is shaped like a bean, able to fit a laptop as well as a notepad, mouse, or external hard drive. Plus, the padding on the bottom keeps it secure on your lap. The best part? No more burning legs when your laptop heats up. Working with his mom, Cythnia Barlow, and marketing partner, Isla Miller, Rice has sold the product everywhere from the Fells Point Festival to a consumer show in Las Vegas. He’s looking into a licensing deal in South Africa, so kids no longer have to study on dirt floors. “This product is for everyone from a bedridden person or a college kid to a computer programmer or a multitasking soccer mom,” he says. The Belly Bean is available at beanco.me, franklincovey.com, and Rice is talking to Bed Bath & Beyond. “This gives you freedom to set up shop and work wherever.”Way to Work
A local designer creates an on-the-go desk.
Issue date: July, 2012