Have you wondered how to get a consumer product launched or is the process just too daunting to even consider?
I had the opportunity to chat with Gayleen Pellicano, the inventor and momprenuer behind Monkey Tyz, a child safety product that keeps children buckled in their car seats.
I caught her this week right before a major milestone in her own product launch dream. She had just tucked in her 3 little ones and was carving out time to talk about her dream product launch before packing for a road trip.
First thing yesterday morning she was headed down to Los Angeles with fellow 8 Women Dreamer Remy to audition for Shark Tank, the show all about entrepreneurs pitching their products for a chance at an investment deal.
Getting to this point has been a few years in the making.
Necessity – and mothers – are the root of all invention
Gayleen, like most parents of small car-seat bound children, is concerned about safety. The safety issue is compounded when the little explorers really don’t like being in the car seat to begin with.
After exhausting her search for a solution at baby stores, and countless hours scouring the Internet, she had a dream about an ideal product that would solve her problem.
I love the fact that her product launch started with an actual dream.
Waking up the next day Gayleen sketched out the design, and within a few days the first prototype was on the car seat.
The moment of truth was finally here and my dream was right — it worked like magic. No more monkeying around!
Once the word got out that she had found a way to keep her child in his car seat, the requests came in from friends and neighbors asking, “Can you make me one too?”
The idea didn’t really gather momentum until an old friend sent her a story from the local newspaper in the town where she once lived. Â A routine car accident had resulted in a child dying because he had found a way out of his car seat.
Her friend wrote in red pen across the article,Â “When are you going to do something about this?“
Her gut reaction let her know that this is what she is supposed to be doing.
Doing it right, from the start
When I asked Gayleen about how long the product has been in development and how she got started I was thrilled at her answer: she found a patent attorney right away!
She knew her idea was special and made sure to protect herself throughout the process.
Of course, it’s a huge boost to your confidence if the patent attorney says “Where were you 15 years ago?”
Parents have been dealing with this issue forever and the elegantly simple ideas are the best.
The Patent process kicked off in July of 2010 and like all huge new endeavors, you have no idea the work and time involved until you are into it.
The best advice Gayleen can offer anyone considering a consumer product?
Go fast to market!
The product has been available for 6 months now, but the 18-month road to get here offered several more lessons to be learned.
Some great advice that Gayleen had to offer:
1. Be careful who you trust
There are scams everywhere, so take time to investigate the offers that come your way. Make sure you have all the details before you part with your valuable marketing dollars.
2. Allow yourself to take a break
The amount of work, research and plain old-fashioned paperwork can add up. Let yourself walk away so you can refresh. Life will interrupt, and for the important once-in-a-lifetime things that come up with small children, you have to take time to celebrate those moments.
3. Schedule it
Keeping a consistent schedule can go a long way to helping you be focused and remain steady.
4. Ask, ask, and ask again
When you find someone who has done what you want to do, ask them everything! If they had to do it over, what would they never do again? How did they get through the process? What mistakes did they make?
5. Keep a record
Document everything. Really. Everything. Phone calls, meeting notes, research, and keep all your records in a safe place. This is another great tip to protecting your idea and your time invested in it.
Big dreams may require travel
At this posting, Gayleen and Remy are in Los Angeles, California, and according to her Facebook updates, they are still in the audition process with Shark Tank. The road to get there required, in Gayleen’s words, “…about a pound of paperwork”Â just to get in the door. She started the application process about 2 months ago.
Needless to say, Gayleen has been working on her pitch and looking at all the numbers so she is ready to say, “Yes!” to a Shark Tank investment opportunity should one arise.
Her dream story is also the journey of being prepared for anything life throws at you along the way.
If you want to see how the product pitch road trip is going, check in on her at the Monkey Tyz Facebook Page.
Since her dream journey is still in progress I will follow up on this Monkey Tyz product launch road trip next week.
Do you have a big idea? Take a small step to making your big dream idea a reality this week. Â
Use Gayleen as your inspiration.
Heather Montgomery is a fitness writer, triathlete, and serial entrepreneur who is devoted to sharing what she has learned about becoming a triathlete after age 40. She uses her Metabolic Training Certification to help other women struggling to get fit in mid-life. She lives and trains in Santa Rosa, California, the new home of the Ironman triathlon. You can find her biking the Sonoma County wine trails.
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