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Nancy Tedeschi wasn’t trying to invent a breakthrough product when she came up with the idea for her SnapIt screw. But that is just what happened.

Tedeschi’s innovative, time-saving screws, which take the pain out of eyeglass repair, have become a big deal in the optical industry. In the 2 years since the distributor OptiSource International introduced SnapIt at the Vision Expo East in New York, more than 5 million screws have been sold. OptiSource International sells SnapIt’s 26 hinge and eyewear designs and plans are in place for the line to grow to the approximately 35 screw sizes that will fit every type of frame. She has also expanded into the Global markets where she is selling her screws. Tedeschi has several patents and patents pending around the world.

Since its launch, SnapIt has won the top prize and the People’s Choice Award at the National Invention Contest sponsored by the Inventor’s Club of Kansas City, and received an Award of Excellence from the American Optical Laboratories Association, An award from the Australian Optical Association, the 2012 Entrepreneur award from the Greater Washington Technology Alliance Association and most recently took first price in the Walmart Get On The Shelf contest.

With the optical industry business in place, Tedeschi is moving into retail sales. She is currently selling her repair kits in Walgreen’s, Rite-Aid, Office Depot, Ace Hardware, True Value, Lee Valley Tools, Kerr Drugs, Bi-Mart, Bartell’s, Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Drugstore.com, and Target.com.

Thanks to her success during her career, Tedeschi had the resources to invest about $250,000 in the venture and says she has now recovered all of her investment and is now making her living through the revenue from SnapIt sales. “It feels surreal,” she says. “You sometimes lose track along the path of what you’re really trying to get to. She said this to her friend the other day, ‘it’s kind of strange that it’s really happening.’ I don’t know why I think that this is a foreign concept, because that’s what I worked so hard to get. But when you actually see it happen it’s like reality hits you, ‘Oh, my God, I did it. All this pain is paying off.'”

Tedeschi has spent six years working on a project that slowly evolved from the original idea to the SnapIt screw, which since the beginning of 2010 has turned into a successful product with a bright future.

“This isn’t about the money, though that makes things easier, it’s the fact that I took something that I knew nothing about, taking the path and getting to where I am with this little screw,” she says. “What did I know about making a screw? Zero. I’m not mechanical at all. Getting here has changed me. First of all, it’s given me way more confidence in who I am and I now know that I can take something from nothing and make this happen. It feels amazing.”

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