Pierce Marks III enjoys a spring turkey hunt as much as the next guy, but he never liked painting his face with camouflage makeup.
The Peel-Scape is made for human skin but can be applied to anything, like a flashlight. The adhesive can be bought for $8.95.
Annette M. Drowlette/Staff
"We thought, there has to be a better thing than face paint - or head nets," he said.
The Augusta man never thought of himself as an inventor until an idea came along that - literally - could change the face of camouflage.
Marks and his partner, David Gibbs, came up with a plan to use surgical tape - pre-cut into specific shapes - that can be applied to the face and body. They not only wanted to use their invention, but they decided to manufacture and market the product, too.
It sounded simple enough, but it wasn't.
"We knew from the start that surgical tape would be the most functional - and designed for human skin," he said. But deciding which tape to use and devising a way to print and cut the tape had its own challenges.
Marks found himself traveling to Minnesota, where he gave executives at 3M a powerpoint presentation on his idea to use the company's surgical tape for camouflage and other stick-on products.
He also had to patent the idea - billed as "a hunter camouflage system using breathable, hypo-allergenic medical tape that conforms to the contours of the face." Marks' company, Peel-Scape Partners, LLC, was granted its patent on Oct. 14, 2003.
Since then, Marks has busily tried to get the product noticed - and also worked to license the use of popular camouflage brands such as Realtree and Mossy Oak - in order to have the designs printed on the Peel-Scape products.
"It was hard to get people to listen," he said. "There were a lot of unreturned phone calls."
In recent months, however, Marks is the one with plenty of calls to return.
The product was endorsed by the National Wild Turkey Federation, and will soon be carried in the widely circulated Cabelas sporting goods catalogs, he said.
"A lot of it's been done with trial and error but it seems to be taking off now," he said. The finished product is a 40-piece package of die-cut, adhesive camo pieces that sell - as a package - for $8.95.
Marks' wife, Kathy, who is helping out with the marketing end of the business, said the concept is branching out into temporary tattoos with designs and logos on everything imaginable.
"It's intended for human skin, but people put it everywhere - cell phones, name tags, anything you can think of," she said.