- Tell us something about yourself, your background:
I was born into a family of inventors and knew since childhood that inventing was my calling. But it wasn’t until 2010, when I became the winner of Kelly Ripa’s invention reality show, “Homemade Millionaire” and then Edison Nation’s “As Seen on TV” Product Search,” that I decided to make a career out of inventing. Today, I’m proud to say that I’ve successfully developed, licensed, and launched over 30 products via home shopping, e-commerce, and big-box retail.
My products have been sold everywhere from HSN and QVC to Lowes, Bed Bath & Beyond, Sharper Image, and The Container Store–and have been featured in publications such as Better Homes & Gardens, InStyle Magazine, People, Inc. and Harper’s Bazaar, as well as on Fox Business and morning & afternoon talk shows.
I’m now have an exclusive partnership with the home shopping channel, HSN for my Home & Travel product line “Beautifully Organized by Marcy McKenna.”
A long time ago I told myself that if I ever found success as an inventor, I would do everything I could to help others find success as well. I’m happy to say that I’m finally in a position to make good on that commitment and am now an Ambassador for The United Inventors Association and am working alongside them as I embark on a passion project to inspire educate and empower more females to follow their dreams of bringing their product ideas to life. To that end, I now run an all-female Facebook Group called, “THE WOMEN INVENTORS CLUB” and have a YouTube Channel that is dedicated to helping my fellow inventors successfully bring their ideas to life. I also try to regularly publish entrepreneurial & invention-related video content and articles and do speaking engagements and interviews as often as possible via podcasts and webinars.
I recently became an “Amazon Influencer” which I’m loving as it allows me to talk about and promote inventions and products that I discover and think the world needs to know about. I’m having a lot of fun with it and it’s just one more way to help my fellow inventors and entrepreneurs!
- Tell us about the products you invented with a brief explanation:
My very first invention was called “The Style & Go Hair Care Valet”—In essence it’s a wall mounted cabinet with a built-in power source that’s designed to store and organize hair appliances, thereby getting rid of bathroom clutter and tangled, messy cords and allowing women to use their hair and beauty appliances from the same place they store them. It was originally sold on HSN and QVC and then went on to be sold via big box retail at Lowes, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Sharper Image, etc.
Style & Go on HSN: Click HERE
Some of my other products include:
- The Polish Parlor Nail Care Caddy
- The 2-in-1 Essentials Beauty Case
- The Baggage Butler Travel Organizer
- Style Stick
- The Jet Setter Hardside Luggage Collection –
- The Luxe Airless Beauty Bottle Set
- The Ultimate Carry On
- The Ultimate Customizable Cosmetic Case
- The Everything Tote
- The Ultimate Jewelry Armoire
- The Home & Away Jewelry Portfolio –
- The Home & Away Makeup Mirror
- The Cambia Clutch Interchangeable Handbag Collection –
- The Ultimate Compression Packing Cube Set –
- The 2-in-1 Ultimate Gym Bag
I’m currently in development on 8 additional items that are scheduled to debut later this year and several others launching in 2022.
- How/Why did you start inventing. What set you off?
Though inventing had been a way of life for me for as long as I can remember, it wasn’t until about 12 years ago when my husband’s business took a turn and we were really struggling financially that I decided to kick fear to the curb and finally bring one of my ideas to life. I was a stay at home mom of three small children, including one who was born with Special Needs and I knew needed to do something to bring an income for our family. Sometimes it’s the darkest times that inspire the brightest light.
- How do you get from idea to finished product?
I had no idea where to start, but under our circumstances at the time, failure was not an option for me. So I put on my big girl pants and began to figure it out on my own. I attended a tradeshow that did help point me in the right direction, but I was bootstrapping it so was forced to get really scrappy in my product development journey. My very first prototype was built by my 7-year-old son Jack, using nothing but Legos! For my next version of the prototype, I went to a local college and paid a student in the wood working department $100. I did a preliminary patent search via Google Patents and then later when I felt I had something worth protecting, I found a patent attorney who believed in me and agreed to put me on a payment plan for his services. Serendipitously, one night when I was online trying to learn everything I could about inventing, I came across a casting call with Kelly Ripa and TLC—they were looking for female inventors who had a product or product idea that they felt could be the next big thing for the home shopping powerhouse, HSN. I overnighted an application and a video submission to the producers of the show and got a call within one week that let me know I had been chosen to be on the show. The next thing I knew I was on an airplane to New York with my wood prototype in hand. I ended up winning the show and as a result won the coveted prize of being able to sell my product live on HSN. The only problem—all I had was a prototype. There was no product to sell! Knowing that I had only four months to get it made, I once again was forced to get scrappy. I went out on a limb and contacted the queen of home shopping, Joy Mangano. Yikes! Believe it not, somehow she took my call and actually referred me to a manufacturer in China who she thought could get it done. They did indeed get it done, but it was a full year later when it was finally ready to launch. I had missed my big moment to sell it on HSN, but they were kind enough to let me sell another of my inventions on air instead—it was an idea I had come up with during the filming of “Homemade Millionaire” called, The Cambia Clutch. Essentially, it was an interchangeable handbag collection that includes four designer-inspired purses, yet takes up the space of only one. The Style & Go did go on to eventually launch on HSN and later was sold through many big box retailers as well. It generated quite a bit of buzz via social media and was featured everywhere from InStyle Magazine to Harper’s Bazaar, Better Homes & Gardens and even on Fox News.
- Let us know of useful resources that helped you i.e. Books, websites, software etc.
- Inventor Confidential by Warren Tuttle
- The United Inventors Association United Inventors Association Empowering Inventors through Education, Access & Advocacy (uiausa.org)
- Edison Nation Edison Nation
- Google Patents Google Patents
- Legal Zoom LegalZoom: Start a Business, Protect Your Family: LLC, Incorporate, Wills, Trademark, Legal Advice
- Where are you with your products? Where can we buy your products?
Currently my products are sold exclusively on HSN.
- Social Media, Website and Video Links:
Website: Click HERE
Facebook: Click HERE
To request to join my facebook group, “The women inventors club”: Click HERE
LinkedIn: Click HERE
Pinterest: Click HERE
Instagram: Click HERE
Twitter: Click HERE
Amazon Influencer Storefront: Click HERE
YouTube: Click HERE
Marcy on Kelly Ripa’s “HOMEMADE MILLIONAIRE”: Click HERE
End of Interview
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