This past Sunday, we spent our days giving loving wishes to the women who brought us into this world. We celebrated all of the times they’ve reassured us when we’ve been overwhelmed, the times they’ve talked to us for hours about their new favorite crime show, and even the times they’ve called us (for the third time) to walk them through how to work ‘the emails’. Moms guide us and help us solve our problems, which is why many mothers have gone on to also become inventors. Mothers have a sense of empathy and imagination that allows them to create extremely innovative products…especially ones that are useful to fellow parents. Here are the stories of two mothers who have gone on to become inventors as well as an interview with one mom who is currently working to change the way we spend time with our kids:
This innovative Mom created a “Monster Repellent” and other imaginative aromatherapy sprays to help calm various childhood anxieties. She first got the idea for the product when her three-year-old son was moving to his ‘big boy bed’. The transition made him anxious so he’d want to sleep in his parent’s room instead. Knowing that lavender was generally a soothing scent, she found a lavender spray and told him it would keep the monsters away. Seeing how much the spray helped him in this transition period, so she decided to turn her idea into a company. She spent some time researching different childhood fears and pairing them with soothing scents and ended up developing her company- Fairytale Wishes Inc. She first began her company in 2008 and in 2009 she made $10,000 from her products. In 2010 she made $24,000 and today her products are sold in several stores throughout the country.
Another truly imaginative Mommy, Pazit Ben-Ezri, got the idea for her invention when her three-month-old son couldn’t sleep unless he was in his crib. It became so difficult to put him down for a nap when they were on the go that Ben-Ezri stopped going out at all. So she designed a small cushion with handles that would fit in her son’s crib but could be removed to take him on errands. Once she created her prototype and began using it, lots of other Moms gave her compliments and expressed interest in her product. After sending out test copies and getting feedback, she created her own company called LulyBoo LLC. Not only has she now sold thousands of products, but the company has also developed a whole line of travel-friendly baby products.
Erin Galloway, an active mommy-on-the-go, has been working to create a community for moms who want to find time to be more active. As a parent, she empathized with the struggle to make time to exercise when your day is full of cleaning crumbs and changing diapers. With a Master’s Degree in Child Development and Family Science as well as 20 years managing education initiatives for The Ohio State University and Johns Hopkins, she was ready to put her innovative skills to the test by launching two social media communities to help motivate fellow Mom’s – Pump the Bump and Sweaty Mom Survival. Collectively, these platforms have 62,000+ members. She has already shared several activities to help kickstart interactive exercises, but her latest innovation is her very own invention: The Kettlemate. This is a plush kid-sized kettlebell that allows your kids to exercise right along with you. The Kettlemate line will include several characters with different personalities to be used for different types of exercise and health-related activities.
We were able to sit down with Erin so she could tell us a bit more about her revolutionary product, which just launched its own Kickstarter campaign:
Inventionland (IL): What inspired you to invent The Kettlemate?
Erin Galloway (EG): My 3 main sources of inspiration were:
1) The women I met while curating stories and sharing motivation through my Pump the Bump Instagram account. What started out as a fun social account transformed into an inspirational community of women who wanted to maintain an active pregnancy. By the time I was 5 years into managing the community, moms were sharing how they were struggling to stay active and I knew I needed to offer a solution.
2) My degrees and professional background are in child development so I naturally see the ways in which fitness can be an outlet to incorporate early childhood developmental components that could motivate both mom and child. I thought that if I could help moms see how their child was learning, they would be more likely to feel good about fitting fitness into their family routines.
3) My daughter inspired me to launch Pump the Bump during my pregnancy, Sweaty Mommy Survival after she turned 2, and then the Kettlemate as a preschooler. She enjoyed spending time being active together and always cheers me on when I doubt myself. After I created the prototype for the Kettlemate, she wasn’t going to let me back out. She told me to “go be brave mommy” when I said I was scared to create a video and try to sell the Kettlemate to strangers. Her words let me know I was headed down the path I was meant to go down.
IL: What was the hardest part of the inventing process?
EG: The legal aspects intimidate me the most. What documents do I need, what should I apply for first, where is the biggest risk if I don’t put a legal structure in place, etc. I do not have a business background so I am learning as I go and that’s a risky way to learn.
IL: What was the most rewarding part of the inventing process?
EG: The process has taught me about the power of the human connection. I have been consistently amazed by people who offered me a hand when I never expected it. Strangers, friends, friends of friends, etc. who have continued to make my dream possible including:
- Business owners who gave me access to their contacts
- Friends who called in favors on my behalf
- Artists who charged lower fees than they could have
- Childhood friends who helped spread the word about my Kickstarter campaign that I never even knew were paying attention to what I was doing.
I could not be this far in my journey without asking for help and allowing people to support me in the best ways they knew how. The power of paying it forward has come through me and passes on to other women who feel inspired by my story.
IL: What’s your favorite thing about being a Mom?
EG: Rediscovering the world through her eyes. She reminds me to keep things simple, don’t assume adults know the right answers, and to ALWAYS ask more questions.
IL: What’s your favorite activity to do with your daughter and why?
EG: We love baking together. She’s had her own “knife set” since she was 2 and started helping me with weekly meal prep as a Sunday activity. The time in our kitchen, and exploring farmers markets, eventually evolved into a passion for baking. Instead of Saturday morning cartoons, we watch baking shows. Before she was 3, she already started creating her own business, researched about requirements to operate a store, brainstormed what inventory she will have, etc. It gives us something fun to talk about over dinner, research on Google… and of course do lots of taste testing.
IL: What’s your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
EG: I recently moved back to Ohio so spending time with college friends and family is a favorite thing. Watching my friends, and their kids, grow up via FaceTime and Facebook photos thousands of miles away was difficult. Now watching our kids play together while hanging on a back porch with some wine truly brings me joy.
IL: Any advice for fellow inventor parents?
EG: Involve your kids in the process. There is so much a child can learn from hearing your thought process and lessons learned that they could never learn in school. The critical thinking skills required to be an inventor is transferable to every aspect of their life. PLUS on the low days, they are always there to motivate you to keep going because innocence is bliss.
IL: What’s next for you?
EG: I intend to build an entire world of family-friendly fitness products for children 0-12 (books, games, puzzles, etc) and I want to make them available in uncommon places like grocery stores, restaurants, pediatric offices, etc. If I can help families reduce the screen time and increase the “we time,”, families with have tighter bonds and deeper connections that make parenting through all life stages much easier.