- Tell us something about yourself, your background:
I grew up in a small town in Ohio along Lake Erie. I began my professional career in sales and marketing in Virginia, where I was fortunate to work for outstanding companies such as Bloomingdales and Coca-Cola. Eventually, my passion for helping people led me to the healthcare industry and back to Ohio. I remained in healthcare for over 15 years until resigning to be there for my brother after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
- Can you tell us about the product you invented with a brief explanation
The Original Glide Mat™: Glide Mats are a patent-pending, low profile mat that allows you to easily maneuver countertop appliances, office equipment, TVs, heavy planters, and more around on countertops, tables, or floors.
They’re easy to trim for a custom fit, machine wash/air dry, and prevent items from scratching and scuffing surfaces.
- How/Why did you start inventing? What set you off?
I was fortunate to grow up in an innovative family. I’ve always enjoyed being creative and designing products that solve everyday problems. As a teenager, I developed a product, then a couple of years later, I saw a very similar item at the store. That was when I realized that my product ideas had value. My thoughts shifted from designing for my use only to marketing my products. American inventor and entrepreneur Joy Mangano developed and sold products like those I created, which was even more incentive.
- How did you get from idea to finished product?
I enjoy using my KitchenAid stand mixer; however, it weighs just under 30 pounds, so it’s a pretty heavy appliance. Whenever I use my stand mixer, I have to pull it from its position at the counter’s far corner, and it’s a considerable challenge. I designed a solution for my problem, Glide Mats, but it wasn’t until I had a shoulder injury that I realized just how helpful this product was. I knew that anyone with a stand mixer would appreciate them as well. It also occurred to me that Glide Mats would help senior cooks or those with physical challenges get back into the kitchen doing what they enjoy.
I put together a sell sheet and demo video with Glide Mats and my stand mixer, then reached out to the appropriate kitchen industry companies. Many companies passed; the others were undecided but graciously gave me feedback. They liked it, but it was too niche.
Several months later, I took the valuable feedback and broadened my product’s market. I shot a new demo video showing my product’s benefit under my KitchenAid stand mixer, Vitamix blender, Keurig coffee maker, and air fryer. I presented the new material to the companies, and four companies were immediately interested. While this sounds like a great situation to be in, it’s quite uncomfortable. I had to choose one company from four excellent companies, hoping not to fracture the relationships I had worked so hard to build.
For this product, Cooks Innovations felt like the best fit. We’ve worked together on the design, material, and sizes that brought us to a finished product, launching in 2019. I appreciate their commitment to making Glide Mats a success and that they value my input.
If you take away only one thing from my story, I hope it’s that leading with integrity will help develop a relationship with your partner companies that will last. Be honest, be helpful, and you will be successful. I wish you all the best!
- Let us know of useful resources that helped you i.e. Books, websites, software etc.
Resources have increased over the past few years compared to when I began my journey. With countless product ideas, I knew patenting all of them wasn’t a reality. I came across an article about Tamara Monosoff, Founder of Mom Invented & the Mom Invented® Brand of products, and I appreciated her sincerity. When she highlighted Stephen Key and his books, I recalled author Tim Ferriss also mentioning him, so I purchased Stephen’s book. At the time, my brother and I were taking his innovative “no-drop” guitar pick, Pro-Pic, to market. While I could apply many tips to our venturing journey, Stephen Key’s books focused on licensing, which was pivotal in my life. It opened my eyes to the world of licensing, which would allow me to get numerous products into the market.
More recently, LinkedIn has become a useful tool to connect with others in similar industries and careers. Politely reaching out to a connection when you feel like you have a product that will benefit them and their company is typically accepted. Always ask for permission first, never spam people with unsolicited pitches. The book “Licensing Ideas using LinkedIn” by Stephen Key and Benjamin Harrison is like training wheels for LinkedIn and will help get you off to the right start.
- Website and video links
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