Lots of Chicagoans want to make their mark on Hollywood. Few ever do. And for those who do, it’s usually a mix of luck, hard work and having the right attitude in the right set of circumstances. You can’t duplicate it, and sometimes you’re not even sure how you got noticed in the first place.
Such is the case, sort of, with Ken Eckhauser and his company, Foam Motion Fitness. FMF produces a product called the Muscle Kneader, an all-purpose foam roller for back support that also doubles as a stretching device. Eckhauser, a personal trainer, invented it because he “didn’t expect [his] clients to stay with [him] forever.” And, as luck would have it, after posting about his product on Facebook, he wound up getting representation, and, eventually, seeing his product featured in the gift bag that will be doled out to A-list celebrities at the Emmys on Sept. 23.
To find out more about this wild and exciting journey, I met up with Eckhauser. (Incidentally, if this interests you, you should also read my interview earlier this year with Chicago’s own Terry Opaelk of Terry’s Toffee, whose wares have been part of the Oscar’s gift bags.)
David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.