Imagine being at a football game, down on the field with your trumpet, ready to perform at halftime. The temperature is about 35 degrees and it’s time to start playing, but you physically can’t because it’s too cold. That’s exactly what happened to junior music education major David Tini, but he decided to do something about it.
“It was my freshman year in SRU Marching Pride at a football game at Edinboro University,” he said. “I tried to play, but the mouthpiece was just too cold. The idea for ‘HotLips’ came to me from that game.”
Tini can now add ‘inventor’ to his résumé. He said his product, ‘HotLips Trumpet Mouthpiece Heater’, is the first of its kind. The mouthpiece heater contains a strap that wraps around the trumpet’s mouthpiece and a USB cord that’s attached to the strap that plugs into a rechargeable battery pack that connects to the trumpet. With this product, he invented the company Hot Lips Instrumental Supplies, which he hopes to expand with mouthpiece heaters for the full brass instrument family.
“It’s a musical accessory that I could not find anywhere on the market,” he said. “Whenever it’s cold, your mouthpiece becomes uncomfortable when your lips are on it, so it heats up your mouthpiece, and therefore, heats up your lips.”
Tini said the rechargeable battery pack heats a silicon heater that is attached to the mouthpiece. The battery charge lasts for over four hours so the trumpets mouthpiece can stay hot through a full football game. Tini acquired a patent for all brass instruments, but currently only has the trumpet version for sale. He looks forward to releasing the rest of the instruments heaters before next fall.
“I’m a trumpet player, so I made this for myself,” he said. “I’m not a huge fan of plastic mouthpieces, which help, but they don’t sound as good, so I decided to develop it myself”
Tini did almost everything himself. Since he’s not in the business field, he had to do a lot of research in running a company. He previously worked with some business majors who helped him start the project, but currently, he’s all on his own.
“It’s just me and it’s terrifying,” he said. “It’s been a huge learning experience.”
Tini has been busy making more of the product and filling orders that have been rapidly coming in, while also being a full-time student. He’s taking 13 classes that fill up most of his week, pushing his ‘HotLips’ priorities to the weekend.
“There’s a Facebook page that links to my website and a ton of people have shared the page,” he said. I’ve also had buyers in Europe asking if I can ship to them there.”
The HotLips Trumpet Mouthpiece Heater went on sale Oct. 7. The product is $30, including shipping.
The battery is set to have up to 1,500 uses, and the heater should last for a very long time, Tini said. The original version that Tini made himself two years ago still works today, and it’s of lesser quality than the ones on the market.
There is a one-year manufacturer defect warranty with the product. Tini hopes the lifespan of the heater will last a student through both high school and college if taken care of properly.
“The music community’s really connected and it gets spread all over the country,” he said. “It went from about 50 people knowing its existence to a couple thousand people across the world, which is really cool.”
Tini said he would not only like to sell mouthpiece warmers but other instrument accessories as well.
“I would like to continue expanding it and make it into a business that would be sustainable over a long period of time,” he said.