By GENE STOWE
South Bend Tribune Correspondent
4:40 PM PDT, June 18, 2012
Steven Riedle, who licensed out the NoseBudd he invented after a snowball stopped his nosebleed in 2004, has regained rights to the product and is beginning to turn a profit on international Internet sales.
The reusable package of gel, kept in the freezer, typically stops a nosebleed in 10 seconds, with the important advantage that it is applied on the surface of the nose rather than in the nostrils, where removal could trigger another episode.
"Kids like them because it's painless," Riedle says. "It works fast and they can still breathe. It's harder for a kid to leave his nose alone. I sell a lot to school nurses because they can't put anything in a kid's body.
"This fits on the outside. It constricts blood vessels and thickens the blood a little bit. The combination makes the clot form quicker. It's reusable. Just put it back in the freezer. It'll last a long time."
Riedle, a hemophiliac who contracted HIV from tainted blood-based
medication like Ryan White and 10,000 others in the 1980s, is among
some 400 survivors and in good health, although hemophilia led to
amputation of one leg above the knee in 1999.
Advanced medications for HIV and hemophilia have left him healthy for
years, says Riedle, who goes to the gym three times per week. He gives
talks to young people with hemophilia, encouraging them to take their
shots as prescribed to avoid long-term joint damage.
The youngest of 11 children in South Bend, he usually had to repair
hand-me-down toys or friends' castoffs. "I kind of enjoyed fixing
things more than actually playing with them," he recalls.
He graduated from Clay High School and earned an associate degree at
Holy Cross College. After his diagnosis, he left St. Edward's
University in Austin and came home with a prognosis of two years to
"I thought I would try inventing," he says. "My first invention was a
paintball gun which I still have the prototype for."
He built the prototype by watching machinists at a friend's shop,
learning their skills, and working at night with blocks of scrap
The second prototype was finished about 1998, but the market for
paintball guns collapsed soon after in reaction to the shootings in
1999 at Columbine High School.
"I learned that I had to invent smaller things that took less time to
make a prototype," Riedle says. "The amount of time it takes to make a
prototype reflects how much it's going to cost to manufacture."
He created a wet wipes container that fit in the cup holder of a car,
an idea that police who tested a prototype especially appreciated, but
the item did not sell for as much as it cost to make.
"Later on that same winter I was thinking of giving up on inventing
altogether," he recalls. That's when he went out to shovel 10 inches
of snow from the walk.
He was nearly finished when a nosebleed started, so he broke a
snowball in half and held it over his nose.
"That stopped the bleeding, but I could still breathe," Riedle says.
"I'd tried every product for nosebleed that I could find or my doctor
could find. Everything else is on the inside of your nose. It either
hurts or starts bleeding when you pull it out. You can't really
breathe through your nose while you have your nose stuffed up."
He went inside to work on the invention, called Nose Buddy until he
found that name was taken, when he overheard "Rosebud" from the next
room where his brother was watching "Citizen Kane." The device was
prototyped within 72 hours, and he licensed it to another company.
"They did the manufacturing and the marketing and I would get a
royalty percentage," he says. "I didn't have any business experience."
When that company closed in 2010, he bought NoseBudd back. "I got the
manufacturer in China and the list of people they were selling to and
some marketing materials and stuff like that," he says. "I've been
running it ever since."