Hi, I’m Drew Cleaver
Founder & Inventor of Higher Hangers
Born in a Dorm Room
Two months into my freshman year of college, I was trying to make my new dorm more organized and peaceful. My room was about 139 square feet (shared with a roommate), so you can imagine my closet situation. It was crammed full with clothes squished between the upper and lower closet rods.
The top clothes were overflowing onto the lower clothes, and the bottom row wrinkled up on the floor with no space for shoes or anything.
I took a step back to look into this swamp thing of a closet and noticed a huge gap between my clothes and the closet rods. Why? I have no idea. Clothes hangers haven’t changed in their design since they were invented in the 1800s.
With all the unused vertical space, I knew there was no practical reason for a clothes hanger hook to be 4-5” higher than the clothes, it was just the way it had always been. I knew there had to be a better way. I took an existing plastic clothes hanger, some pliers, and a lighter, and started hacking away…
The Evening Higher Hangers Happened
Thankfully I didn’t set off any fire alarms. I realized that if the hook was closer to the top of clothes (lower, shorter neck), I could significantly raise the garment higher, freeing up more space below.
After cutting an old hanger to pieces and using a lighter to melt the new design back together, the very first Higher Hangers prototype was born. I tried it, and it worked. Clothes no longer dragged along the ground, and enough space opened up to move a dresser into the closet underneath the upper row of clothes. My first thought was, “What about collared shirts though?” It still worked flawlessly.
How Did Someone Not Think of This Already?
Redesigning the clothes hanger this way seemed like such an obvious solution to a common problem that I assumed someone had thought of it before, or there was an underlying flaw I hadn’t realized. When I couldn’t find another similar hanger, and never discovered the fatal “GOTCHA!” flaw, I started asking friends their thoughts, patent searching, and speaking with my Business Law Professor about my idea.
Everyone gave me the “Why didn’t I think of that?” Having fully expected to be shot down, all of the feedback I received was remarkably positive so I applied for a patent. Expecting a long, complicated process, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted all patent claims on the first application, a rare occurrence, and awarded Higher Hangers patent 7,404,503 9-months after application date-a record for our patent firm at the time.
Three-Time Top Performer
My senior year, my team won the undergraduate D.W. Reynolds Tri-State Business plan competition with Higher Hangers winning nearly $40,000 in awards.
In 2010 Higher Hangers won a product search competition hosted by a major housewares retailer, but they never made a single hanger. After 6 years of technical sales in oil & gas, I left the corporate world to bring Higher Hangers to market myself and launched on Kickstarter March of 2016.
Higher Hangers ended up finishing in the top 1% of Kickstarter projects all-time, and here we are with over 600,000 Higher Hangers sold in over 35 countries.