Everyday problems are necessary for ingenious inventions. There are some people who look at life’s minor problems as an inconvenience, and other people who see these problems as an opportunity. Michelle Gast, mama of two and founder of BEAUTILITY and the inventor of the Recoup BEAUTISCOOP, a flexible scoop that helps you save every drop of make-up and beauty product.
Consumers waste up to 25% of their beauty products in their containers. That’s a lot! This means that if you purchase common beauty brand foundation, such as CoverGirl foundation for about $9, you are wasting $2.25 of your purchase. If you purchase a higher end foundation or facial moisturizer for $50, then the Recoup BEAUTISCOOP can save you $12.50. Considering the single scoop costs $9.99, you will save more money than you paid right away.
How This Mama Hustled
While Michelle’s product is amazing, it didn’t just sell itself. Michelle hustled and got the word out about her product first locally. She contacted and sold her Recoup BEAUTISCOOP to local salons and boutiques to prove local market acceptance. Then she attended CosmoProf, the largest B2B Beauty Tradeshow two years in a row.
She then entered and won the 2016 FastPitch Competition in Rockford, Ill., taking home $5,000 to invest her in business. However, Michelle’s biggest break came after she pitched her product to Real Simple Magazine. The Recoup BEAUTISCOOP was selected and featured in the January 2017 issue of the magazine in their “Pretty Smart” column. She says, “This lead to an influx of sales and now we are in 48 states, including Alaska and Hawaii. We are even getting calls from people in Canada, Italy and Germany!” Michelle’s next step is to get on the Home Shopping Network and present her own product on the show. I have no doubt Michelle can make this happen.
How to Be a Mom Inventor
Have you ever thought, “Hey, I would love to invent something?” I think all of us have had that aha moment, especially if you ever watched an episode of Shark Tank. But how exactly do you go from “cool idea” to a tangible product?
Michelle says, “Believe in yourself. People have ideas all the time. If you believe in yours, you can do it!” Finding time to actually work on your product can be challenging, especially when you are a full-time mom and homemaker. She suggests, “Take small steps and set aside time each day to work toward your goal. Look to friends, family and crowdfunding to help fund your idea.” Inventing a product is like eating an elephant. You can’t expect to tackle this task in one day or even a week or a month. You need to break down your big idea down to small goals that can be easily accomplished.
“First step,” says Michelle. “Market research to see if any similar idea exists. Secondly, do a patent search (easy to do yourself on uspto.gov) again to see if your idea has already been done.”
Once you do that, you are ready for the design stage. You will need to find a designer and create a CAD design and prototype. Then comes the market test and gaining a design patent or utility to protect your idea. Michelle says, “Consider crowdfunding to gain funding and to research market acceptance.” Then the last step is to manufacture your product, and of course, pop the bubbly for making your dream a reality. As Michelle proves, manufacturing your product is not the last step. Prepare to market and tweak your product for the rest of your product’s life.
Sound complicated? Don’t let that discourage you. There are many steps involved in inventing a product, but once you do Michelle’s first steps, then you will know if your invention is worth pursuing. The most important steps are to make sure there is a market for your product and to find a designer who can implement your vision.
How to Get Your Product in Magazines and On Websites
There is no doubt that getting your product in front of millions of readers will boost sales. However, it’s not like you can make a simple phone call to get your product placed in your favorite magazine (unless you are Beyoncé).
Michelle had a gorgeous website and product photos to send with her pitches, which will help increase your chances of getting published. I had a short stint gathering fashion products for a magazine, and I can’t even tell you how many nice things I had to pass over because the company could not provide high-quality images of their products.
You will want to research your desired publication and find the contact info for the individual that is in charge of putting together the holiday or shopping lists for their publication. Just about every magazine has a holiday gift guide, even Cat Fancy. HARO is also a wonderful resource, since many publications will call for product submissions during the holiday time.
Your pitch needs to be to the point and show the editor immediately why they need to feature your product. The editor should essentially say, “Wow” when they read your pitch.
Look at Michelle’s Fast Pitch Competition submission. “Every day throughout the world, women wake up, get ready, and inevitably and repeatedly, all face the same problem. When they GET TOWARD THE BOTTOM of their beauty products, how do they get all the product stuck inside, out? So they shake it, they set it upside down for days cluttering the counter, they’ll even cut open tubes. But still, plenty is left clinging to the sides and bottom. They waste their beauty, their time, and their money.” See how it grabs your attention? If you are a woman who puts on makeup, you automatically might think, “Yes, I have this problem. I hate this problem. What is the solution?”
Business with a Purpose
Starting a business and generating income for your family is important, but making money just to make money can grow tiresome quickly. You need to have a passion and a purpose when starting your business.
Michelle is passionate about her product, and she is also doing more with her product. Ten percent of her profits go to the Clear Water Initiative and the A21 Campaign to fight poverty and injustice on a global scale. She says, “I want to continue growing the company to support my charity of Clean water and A21 Freedom from Human Trafficking.”
See also: Stop Sitting on Your Passions
Are you inspired, Mama? What would you invent if you had the chance to create a product? Mine would be a car seat that pivots on its base so you can buckle and retrieve your baby with ease. Just push a button and the seat rotates towards you and then click it back in place for safety.