When he worked in his father's convenience store in Bell, Jaime Ahumada spent a lot of time opening flip-top soft drink cans for women who didn't want to break long fingernails. Now he has designed a plastic can opener that makes it easy to open flip-top cans.
Ahumada, 21, calls the can opener the Lady Finger, and it is shaped, as the name suggests, like a finger. It comes with a key chain attached to it. Ahumada says he used his sister's right index finger as a model for his invention.
Ahumada, who now works for his family's El Tacazo restaurant chain in Huntington Park, has high hopes for the can opener. Lady Finger was voted the fad most likely to succeed at the second annual Fad Fair in Detroit earlier this year.
"It was the best idea that came to the show," says Ken Hakuta, sponsor of the Fad Fair. Hakuta made a fortune from the spider-like Wacky Wall Walker, a fad toy item that he introduced to this country from Japan in 1982. Ahumada has dabbled with portable can openers before. He designed a plastic can opener called Quick Flip and has sold about 250,000 of them since 1984, mostly through Pep Boys and Chief Auto Parts stores.
Ahumada says he hasn't made any money yet from can opener sales, but he thinks his fortunes will change. "I learned a lot about marketing from the Quick Flip," Ahumada says. "And I think this is something that women will use."