Richard Thalheimer

Richard Thalheimer

“You can do anything if you know what makes people tick” - Richard Thalheimer

It’s a rare individual who can conjure what people want and need and present them with it before they even know they want or need it. 

This magical ability underpins the success of Richard Thalheimer and Richard Solo. It was also the secret sauce that fueled The Sharper Image - the $750M, 200 store retail giant Richard Thalheimer founded in 1977 and led as CEO until 2006. His higher-level intuition, combined with his lawyer’s precision, entrepreneurial drive and playful outlook, converge to give Richard Thalheimer the well-deserved title, “America’s Genius of Retail Marketing”. 

Richard may have had a genetic head-start coming from a long line of Thalheimer entrepreneurs but it was a $69 watch for joggers that provided the most obvious catalyst for Richard’s business journey. He bought up the exclusive US distribution rights and convinced legendary ultra-marathoner Walter Stack to appear wearing the watch in a Runner’s World ad. The copy crowed, “The only chronograph that keeps up with the amazing Walt Stack.”

As the orders poured in, Richard was already one step ahead, sourcing a similarly unique and useful product for his first mail-order catalog. He described his mission in life then and now as “Picking out these fun toys for grown-ups”. The “Toys” included the first telephone answering machine and the first hand-held micro-computer. Others, like the Ionic Breeze and Razor scooter (the most popular gift of 2000) anticipated emerging consumer trends.  In 1991 Richard set up Sharper Image Design to develop and patent its own products. 

Throughout, Richard was the face of The Sharper Image appearing in infomercials and on every well-known talk show from Good Morning America to David Letterman.  

After twenty-nine years, Richard Thalheimer left The Sharper Image in 2007. The company continues only online as Sharper Image under new ownership.  

But, as you have smartly found out, Richard’s work is far from done. He relishes connecting with the inner child in all of us through RichardSolo. When not meeting with inventors or scouring the dim recesses of trade shows for the latest life-changing product, Richard can be found flying his beloved Cessna aircraft and spending precious time with his family.

Through both RichardSolo and The Sharper Image, Richard Thalheimer has revolutionized the way we create, think, live and play and brought new excitement, quality, and innovation to the consumer experience.