MAKING ROLEO BETTER
When I invented the Roleo in 2006, it looked much like it does today. The shape of the frame, the rollers and the tension knob were all the same. The knob was a dark red color (later to bright red, then to the black knob you see today), and the frame was a lighter grey. The mechanism inside hasn’t changed much, either, at least in the functional sense.
In the early days of Roleo, the unit made too much spring noise, the knob got stuck sometimes and wouldn’t turn or turn smoothly, or it would be too easy to turn it past the maximum, which would cause breakage. The pressure was too strong... or not strong enough. Mostly not strong enough.
Over the years, through trial and error, Massage U has worked with the engineers at the factory to improve the Roleo, specifically by listening to customers. You said it was too noisy, so we added a sleeve around the springs. You said it wasn’t strong enough, so we switched to a heavier spring to provide more pressure. You said the knob would break or come off too easily, so we fixed that too.
One thing people said was that while it was a great product and worked as advertised, it didn’t feel sturdy enough. This was said even though people have Roleos for many years without units breaking down. We knew it was sturdy, but if the perception was otherwise, that needed to be addressed.
The engineers came up with a simple solution: put more weight into the unit. They literally added a metal weight that increased the unit weight by almost one full pound. That was it; nothing else was changed. I worried that this was kind of cheating. It wouldn’t be sturdier, it would just feel more sturdy. Then again, that’s what people were saying: it worked great but didn’t feel sturdy enough.
But then we saw that adding the weight made the unit even quieter, and much more stable on a table or desk, therefore easier to use without the suction cups installed. So even though the impetus for the improvement was to make the Roleo feel sturdier, it ended up making the unit better in ways that we didn’t foresee.
Now we’re working on a new product. While we always wanted to (and will, someday) make a Roleo Foot Massager, we’re first developing a Roleo with vibrating (rechargeable) rollers. Why? We wouldn’t add a feature to our product just as a gimmick. Roleo has a great reputation in the industry for effectiveness, value, and quality, so putting out a gimmicky product isn’t in line with our company values.
We’re doing this because a National Institute of Health-recognized study shows that vibrating foam rollers are much more effective than foam rollers (which are already effective for muscle recovery). Since Roleo massages forearm and hand muscles, the effect of vibration on those muscles can only make a Roleo with vibration even more effective for chronic hand, wrist, and forearm conditions.
Improving a product is an expensive undertaking and often, after prototyping, companies decide it’s not worth the investment. We love our Roleo product and stand behind it, so making major changes is never taken lightly. We have always listened to our customers and made adjustments and improvements accordingly. Our main goal of improvement is not to sell more units, it’s to make a product that is better for our customers.
- Paul firstname.lastname@example.org