After developing the popular Picture Pocket print and film pack case more than 40 years ago, Gary Sibbett has reemerged as a leading developer of 3D designed and multiple layer cases and accessories. Sibbett’s company, Pocketek Inc., will release a game-changing line of instant camera cases and accessories for both Fujifilm and Polaroid instant cameras Mid-November 2016 officially marking Sibbett’s return. —
The idea for the original Picture Pocket came about after a family trip to Disneyland. Sibbett’s father, a Polaroid enthusiast, had purchased a collapsible Polaroid camera in the early 1970s and took it to document a family vacation. A series of unlucky events-bent prints that didn’t fully develop, photos falling out of a shirt pocket into the submarine lagoon, and bent film packs—caused his father to literally throw his beloved Polaroid in the trash. His mother prompted the younger Sibbett to pull the camera out of the garbage, and out of compassion for his father, Sibbett decided then and there to create a case to solve the problems his father had encountered. He built that first case by hand out of glued plastic and covered Naugahyde, with a pocket in front to hold up to 20 prints and a compartment on the back to carry an extra pack of film. His father loved the case and used it enthusiastically and many of his father’s friends paid Sibbett to build similar cases for them.
Sibbett eventually secured a design patent for the Picture Pocket in 1979, and production started in earnest. The Picture Pocket found its way into the large retailers of the time, as well as multiple independent camera stores. Sibbett even sold the cases to Disneyland for them to sell in the shops around the park. A few years later, with waning popularity of instant camera in favor of the 35 mm camera, Sibbett and his partners made the difficult decision to shutter Pocketek after nearly a decade of industry-leading success. Sibbett had no idea at the time that the pocketing of Pocketek was only temporary and 40 years down the road he would again be at the helm of Pocketek.
In 2011, Sibbett’s wife, Cathy, told him about a documentary she had recently watched about the history of Polaroid and how the instant camera market was making a comeback. After watching the documentary, Sibbett recognized the possibilities. He started researching the camera case and accessory market finding a distributor, working with an incubator program at Fresno State University, attending UC Merced Small Business Development Center workshops, safeguarding ideas/trademarks through a patent attorney Richard A. Ryan, securing investors, and developing a proprietary manufacturing process. Sibbett was able to revive the business name that had started everything back in the 1970s. Pocketek Inc. was back in business, developing cases and accessories for Polaroid and Fujifilm instant cameras.
“It was absolutely amazing to me that, after 40 years, which this possibility reemerged. The fact that I could secure the original name of our business and begin again essentially where I left off is both humbling and exciting. I look forward to building on the Pocketek legacy.”
Not only is Sibbett passionate about his work, he is also a survivor who has weathered numerous professional and personal challenges to get to where he is. The biggest hardship Sibbett has overcome is cancer: In 2000, he was diagnosed with single cell B lymphoma. “They actually found it in me during a routine physical. I was really, really lucky,” Sibbett said. “I went through about six months of chemotherapy, blood draws, scans/x-rays, ports, hair loss, horrible sores in my mouth, mental fear and several lost friends to cancer I had met and watched pass during treatments at the cancer clinic.”
Because of his experience fighting cancer, Sibbett said he is eager to give back to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. “I hope to make that a major charity event for my company to get involved with. I went through some pretty rough times and it took a year to get over it, but I’m in remission now, and it’s important to me personally to do what I can to give back to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in their efforts to fight such a devastating disease.”
Alongside Sibbett’s desire for Pocketek to be a force for good stands his vision for the company to become the one-stop shop for custom designed cases and accessories. In the process of developing his cases, Sibbett has also created more than 160 other related products that will be added to Pocketek’s lineup over time.
“In developing our products, we take all the complaints that people have about the best-selling products on the market and make all those changes to our products,” said Sibbett. “Our cases provide unmatched protection, style, and durability. They can be manufactured to have both a retro or modern day feel that appeals to both old and young alike. We provide the ultimate in product protection, alongside unsurpassed 3D style, 3 layer design and weather resistance. Pocketek’s cases are also extremely lightweight and user friendly.”
Pocketek’s initial product launch will include cases designed for the popular Fujifilm Mini 8, Mini 50, Mini 70, SP-1instant printer, SP-2 instant printer; Polaroid Snap instant digital camera, Zip instant printer and Kasey Case (KC) are newest family of fun cases. In a nod to his past, Gary has re-designed the original Picture Pocket and will re-launch this Christmas in honor of his late father Darllo Sibbett known as Sib.
“With the release of our original product, the Picture Pocket, I feel like we will have come full circle, back to where everything started for us more than 40 years ago,” Sibbett said. “And I can’t wait to see what the next 40 years has in store for Pocketek.”
Name: Gary Sibbett
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Address: 2491 Alluvial Ave, Suite 53, Clovis, CA 93611
Release ID: 138451