Cigdem DELANO: Inventor of Unspill-a-Bowl

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  • Tell us something about yourself, your background

My name is Cigdem Delano. My first name is pronounced “Cheedem.” I was born in Knoxville, TN. Growing up, I lived in five different states with my final stop being the beautiful state of Georgia at age 16.  In the late 90s, I lived in the exciting city of Toronto, Ontario for two years on an expatriate business assignment.

I’m married. My husband and I are blessed with a beautiful family – a daughter, two step-sons, two daughters-in-law, and (soon to be) son-in-law. Collectively, we have seven adorable furry kids and grandkids in our family.

My first professional passion was computers. I have a B.S. degree in Information and Computer Science from Georgia Tech. My career in Information Technology (IT) started with IBM and concluded with heading corporate level IT departments for diverse organizations in healthcare, higher education, and government.

  • Tell us about the products you invented with a brief explanation

My first product is Unspill-a-Bowl. It has a unique rounded rim designed to keep food and water in the bowl and it guides food into the pet’s mouth (rather than having it fall onto the floor). It also slows down fast eaters, keeps long ears out of the bowl, and is travel friendly. It keeps the feeding area clean and hygienic. It can be used for dogs and cats. It’s a multi-function bowl that addresses numerous common pet feeding problems.

My second product, is a functional jewellery item that’s in the process of being launched. It will be publicly announced in the next several months. Be on the lookout for a unique jewellery solution to a common problem most women and some men complain about.

  • How/Why did you start inventing. What set you off?

Since IT is all about solving business problems with technology solutions, my problem-solving instinct would spill into developing unique product ideas to solve everyday consumer problems. I was always amused (and a little jealous) when I’d see one of my ideas brought to market by someone else. Not having the resources to venture products, my list of ideas got longer and longer with no hope of ever bringing them to market. You can imagine my excitement when I learned about licensing to bring products to market without emptying your savings! 

A few years ago, I decided it was either now or never. I knew I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t at least give it a try. Since my IT career was all consuming, the only way I could do this was to go all in. With support and encouragement from my family, I retired from my IT career and started a career in my new passion to create new, innovative products.

  • How did you get from idea to finished product?

A couple of years ago, we started feeding our furry kid, Misa, raw food. Although Misa, a 10.5 lb poodle, is a very careful eater, inevitably her food would end up sliding over the edge of her bowl and onto the mat. I didn’t like having her food, especially raw or wet food, anywhere outside her bowl. As I was looking for a solution, I envisioned my bowl design. When I couldn’t find one like it, I decided to create my own. I created a 3D printed prototype which I used to test with Misa and my grand-dogs and grand-cats. The bowl worked exceptionally well. I had developed a design that solved the messy eater problem better than other products in the marketplace. The other products catch food after they spill out of the bowl. My bowl, Unspill-a-Bowl, keeps food in the bowl.

I then started contacting pet bowl manufacturers in search of a partner to help get the bowl to market. That partner became Advance Pet Product located in Michigan. They’ve been fantastic to work with. I worked directly with their head of manufacturing facility to produce the bowl. This was a lengthy process requiring many iterations to perfect the bowl’s shape. Given the unique curvature, it required several modifications to the production process. We showed our first sample bowls in late February 2020 at the Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida. Given the positive feedback from numerous companies we were excited to get back home and launch the product. Then, Covid-19 hit. After a 9-month delay, Unspill-a-Bowl finally launched in January 2021. Production is still limited due to Covid-19, but Unspill-a-Bowl has officially launched!

  • Let us know of useful resources that helped you i.e. Books, websites, software etc
    1. One Simple Idea by Stephen Key
    2. Become a Professional Inventor by Stephen Key
    3. Licensing Ideas Using LinkedIn by Stephen Key and Benjamin Harrison
    4. Inventors Groups of America. Click HERE 
    5. inventRight TV on YouTube. Click HERE 
  • Where are you with your product?

Unspill-a-Bowl is now being sold by Advance Pet Product, a manufacturer and distributor located in Michigan. They’re in the process of getting Unspill-a-Bowl to pet product sellers, both online and brick and mortar.
Available on Amazon via seller Top Dog Chews. Also available on Top Dog Chews’ own website.

--End of Interview--
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