What were the main driving forces that led you to create the tube travel pillow?
Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. I was married to an international road warrior who spent a lot of time in airports, planes, trains & cars, shuffling between climates. He often left sunny Florida for parts unknown, only to have cancelled flights or missed connections. Stuck overnight, with no jacket or extra clothes, He had a voucher and toothbrush courtesy of the airline. He asked me to help him stuff his jacket in its sleeve. Paul decided he needed a convenient way to carry his jacket and some extra underwear. It should be lightweight, easy to manage, attach to his already full briefcase, and keep his clothes clean and private.
I suggested a “sleeping bag” case for it and started making prototypes. After several trips and alterations, I knew we had the solution. Rings & snaps were added and refined so it could easily attach to a variety of bags and luggage. An adjustable belt was included so it could be worn around the waist or shoulder. Friends and family used a variety of prototypes on trips through America, Europe, Asia & Indonesia. It was used on bicycle and ski trips, and on day trips through foreign cities. Everyone returned excited about the possibilities. Someone suggested a pocket for hotel room keys and cash. Now when empty, The Tube packs in that pocket.
What 's been your biggest challenge developing your creation?
Cash and connections. It took a while to find the right manufacturer.
Do you have a motto or words to live by that encourage you on your path?
Ask for what you want. Start at the top (don’t waste your time with middle manager – go to the real decision makers). Don’t give up. Know your ”Why”.
How has being an active person informed your business decisions?
Exercise and activity in general releases stress and gives you time to “noodle” ideas outside of your workroom. My product audience is active, so it helps to identify with them.
What are 3 pieces of advice you'd offer to other folks who may be thinking of starting their own venture?
If you need money, borrow from yourself first. That way you won’t foreclose on yourself if it takes a bit longer to get going – and it will. Take advantage of SCORE mentors in your area and watch out for “consultants”. (They promise the world, take your money, then ....nothing). Become a DIY machine and use LinkedIn Learning. It’s free you need only a library card. You can learn everything from accounting to Kickstarter to guitar playing and everything in between. As my husband says, “there are 3 kinds of people in the world, those who can count and those who can’t. (lol!) Ask for help. In most cases, people will go out of their way to give you a hand. I could not afford fulfillment services when the Tube was on GMA so I posted a “Let’s get Tubular” call for help on Facebook and my living room became an assembly line faster than I could say lickety split!
Please share your favorite business success moment to inspire others to reach for their dreams :))
I was invited to launch my product on Good Morning America’s Deals & Steals (3.4 million viewers) ...ask me how. I already spent a bundle ordering product, so I asked Bank of America for $20,000 in credit in case I ran out of money for product, shipping, and fulfillment. The bank rep called me on a Sunday afternoon as I was shopping. I explained my situation - I had no collateral. He asked a lot of questions about me, my product, and the opportunity. Then said, “ I don’t see why not,” and voila, I had a credit card with as $25,000 limit! (That way if I didn’t need the money, I would have an active loan). btw, it just happens that today, the Tube is on GMA for a second time 'round on March 16, 2023.
And if you're looking for the link, well... here ya go!