Entrepreneurial parents step in to fill gaps in the market
If you’re a parent, you know there come many moments in life where you think, “man, I wish they made X product that did Y thing,” and left it at that. Most parents breeze past that moment of frustration or need, but that is the very moment in which some entrepreneurial parents are born, whose thought after “man, I wish they made X product that did Y thing,” is quickly, “and I bet I can make it happen.”
We all know that necessity is the mother (or father) of invention, and the following five products were created by parents that saw a need for a specific child product.
1. The Happy Trunk
Vinnie Bhushan, the mother of two active kids, always tried to find meaningful activities, arts and crafts to encourage her children’s creativity, but too often the same old thing over and over had her kids whining that they were bored. It got Vinnie thinking and she created The Happy Trunk, a monthly subscription service that delivers new arts, crafts and science projects to kids every month. The kits are geared for kids ages 3-7 and 8-11 and includes 3-4 projects a month.
When Oscar Mulder’s young son wanted a push bike that had foot pegs and the ability to decorate the bike itself, Oscar, a graphic designer, decided to design it himself. The result is the eco-friendly Kinderfeets bike. The wooden bike teaches kids as young as two how to ride a bike, often eliminating the need for a tricycle followed by training wheels. In fact, Oscar’s son was riding a real bike by age 3! The bike even has a chalkboard panel where kids can decorate it to their hearts content.
3. A Girl for All Time
As a Mom of a girl, it was important to Frances Cain that her daughter have strong female role models. Not only could Frances not find anything but when it came to the dolls on the market, but most were made so poorly they couldn’t hold up to playtime. So Frances created A Girl for all Time, well-crafted dolls outfitted by a trendy London designer and an Emmy nominated costume designer, drawing on important events throughout British history, which are explored and beautifully recreated in books following the eldest girls in the fictional Marchmont family through 500 years of history, intrigue and adventures.
Kirsten Chapman is the inventor of Kleynimals, a set of non-toxic, eco-friendly, food grade stainless steel decorative keys for baby that are lead, BPA and Phthalate free. She invented Kleynimals because like many parents she had become aware in recent years of the many chemicals found in baby toys that can be harmful to their health. Her baby wanted to play with her keys all the time, but she knew that beyond the germs found on them, that there were sharp edges and lead risks as well. When she searched the market place for a replacement, all she found was plastic – which wouldn’t fool her baby and came with its own set of chemical concerns. Kirsten took her responsibility to develop a safe toy so seriously that she went far beyond regulations in the amount of safety testing she conducted. So much so that she was recognized by the Consumer Product Safety Commission when they invited her to speak at their public hearings on lead in toys.
Because the choice in the mainstream toy market just wasn’t fun enough for his children, this designer/wood-worker Dad decided to put his creative plans into motion. Literally. Inspired by modern design and functionality, Weerol was created to further the fun, excitement, education, and passion to play for children 18 months – 6 years. Weerol is a creative, sustainable, and organizational toy that transforms to grow and adapt to your child’s development. It responds to each milestone-style of play all while enhancing your home. Constructed from renewable sources and non-toxic water based adhesives and paints, Weerol has a low impact on the environment and promotes a healthy, safe environment for your child as well.
Are you the next entrepreneurial parent?
Is there something you wish you could provide for your children but have thrown up your hands instead of solving the problem? Maybe you’re the next entrepreneurial parent, and you don’t know where to start. Check out your local Small Business Development Center which is funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, offering free to low cost business advice and guidance.