Talia AFOA: Product Developer

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  • Tell us something about yourself, your background:

Look to your left at the closest object to you. Ask yourself: “How can I make that better?” Viola! Now you know the most important thing there is to know about me. My name is Talia (Tuh-Lee-Uh) and I improve things! I am passionate about progress: in our personal lives, our communities, our companies, and in the products we use to navigate these. I believe ANY problem can be solved with a little creativity and a lot of perseverance.

I started my career in advertising and have helped to market brands at ad agencies, a TV provider, law firm, environmental laboratory, and newspaper. My focus now is to invent products that make life a little easier and more joyful. I also help other inventors to learn the process of licensing at inventRight.

  • Tell us about the product you invented with a brief explanation:
    Leakproof Baking Mat
  • How/Why did you start inventing. What set you off?

I’ve had ideas for new products my whole life, but I remember the day I began to connect the dots – I was in the cleaning aisle at the grocery store. I saw a long, plastic tool with ridged teeth that cleans the hair out of your shower drain. I thought, “This is such a cool, simple product, and it began as someone’s idea! And now I can buy it in the store instead of buying Drano, and this person is making money!”

After seeing Zip-It at the store, I Googled: “Who invented the zip-it drain cleaner” and found it was Gene Luoma. I added him as a connection on LinkedIn and sent him a message to see if he would be open to talking with me about how he invented the Zip-It. Amazingly, he said ‘yes’ and he was nice enough to speak with me for an entire hour about his experiences as an inventor! From there, I felt super excited and inspired to pursue my ideas.

  • How did you get from idea to finished product?

After college, my invention ideas were like a monkey on my back. I kept searching for information on how to invent, and read the book “Invent It, Sell It, Bank It” by Lori Greiner. Shortly after, I watched a video on Daniel DiPiazza’s blog “Rich 20-Something” where the guest was Stephen Key speaking about licensing. From there, I purchased the book “One Simple Idea” and learned the basics. I started to implement the steps from the book but found that I still had so many questions! I found out that Stephen offered a coaching program through a company called inventRight and decided to sign up in June 2016. I spent 1 year with my coach Judy DePrang and learned the 10-step licensing process inside and out. I repeated the 10 steps with 3 different ideas over the next few years, and got some initial interest from companies, but did not reach the contract negotiation step for those ideas.

 I’m not a big fan of doing dishes and that’s why I love that the dishwasher was invented. But oftentimes, you still must scrub dishes that the dishwasher can’t fully clean. I had recently moved in with a friend and for dinner that night, he roasted a pork loin in the oven using a baking pan and a silicone baking mat. I had not seen or used a silicone baking mat before, but he explained that they’re used to prevent food from sticking to the pan and to help cook food more quickly and evenly. What a great product idea!

After dinner I began to wash the dishes. I removed the silicone mat from the baking pan only to find that the liquids from the meat had seeped beyond the mat and baked onto the pan! I placed the silicone mat into the dishwasher and then spent 10 minutes scrubbing the baking pan. I thought, “The purpose of this mat is completely defeated if you use it with foods that seep liquids. Why am I still scrubbing this pan if it’s meant to prevent foods from sticking?” After dinner, I sat down to search online for a silicone mat that was leakproof but I couldn’t find one.

Many dinners, dishes, and scrubbing of cookie sheets and baking pans later, I decided that I needed a leakproof baking mat, so set out to create one. Now you can buy yours on Amazon, GrandFusionHousewares.com, King Soopers, ShopHQ, and more online and in-store retailers!

After I had the idea for the baking mat, I committed to spending 1 hour every weekday to invent, and I started seeing serious progress. I did thorough research of all the baking mats on the market and searched through patents, created strong marketing materials, and filed a provisional patent application. I went to Bed Bath and Beyond and purchased a few of the baking mats. As people walked by to purchase their own mats, I’d ask them, “If there was a version here that also featured a rim around the edges and was leakproof, would you buy it?” and got pretty good feedback from everyone I spoke to. I bought a special glue from Lowes that bonds plastics, and I was ready. I placed the mat inside the baking sheet, measured out the edges, and made a cut into each corner. I folded up the corners and glued them, and I had a proof of concept! Following that, I made a video showing how the flat mats let food seep beyond the mat and the mess it leaves on bakeware. I then showed how my mat solves the problem. I spent a month reaching out to companies and was offered a licensing contract. Within a few months of working consistently, I was able to sign my licensing deal!

  • Let us know of useful resources that helped you i.e. Books, websites, software etc
  1. Book: One Simple Idea by Stephen Key
  2. YouTube: inventRightTV
  3. Design Sell Sheets: Canva.com
  4. Research: Google Patents
  5. Brainstorming Ideas: Mind Maps
  • Where are you with your product? Where can we buy your product?

My Leakproof Baking Mat is available though Amazon, GrandFusionHousewares.com, King Soopers, ShopHQ, QFC Supermarkets, and more online and in-store retailers!

  • Social Media, Website and Video Links:

LinkedIn: Click HERE 

Website: Click HERE   

Video links: Click HERE, HERE & HERE    

--End of Interview--
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