Advice to the Mothers of Invention

Out of necessity, moms are often some of the most creative inventors. But mothers and other first-time inventors can always benefit from a few tips about bringing their creations into the retail marketplace.

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Advice to the Mothers of Invention

Moms are the some of the most innovative when it comes to creating products. Many times, the ideas come out of true frustrations in their personal lives.


The story goes something like this: “I was driving the kids to school, and was annoyed that my 2-year-old son couldn’t stop kicking the back of my chair,” says Erica Turzak, operator of Little Bean Creations, which makes car-seat footrests. “As soon as I got home, I started looking for a solution, and nothing was out there. I decided to create something to solve this problem.”


Here are a few tips for mothers and others who have an idea they wish to bring to the retail market.


  1. Research is your best friend. Use the Web, and search for keywords that relate to your idea. If there is competition and you think you could do it better, smarter, and more cheaply, consider your options carefully. Don’t be afraid to walk away from your idea before you spend any money.
  2. Create a simple prototype—cut, sew, use the glue gun. Do whatever it takes, and get feedback from your target audience, friends, and families. Request and accept their honesty. They want you to succeed.
  3. If the idea passes these first steps, and you have the go-ahead from your informal market research, go to Google.com/patents to see if your product idea is already out there. If you can’t find it by the keywords, then you may be onto something.
  4. Protect, protect, protect. Certain ideas are patentable; some can only be trademarked. Hire an attorney to figure this out before you spend any more money.
  5. Watch out for the “sharks” who promise everything and expect you to invest  your life savings. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  6. Pricing is king! Retailers control your retail price; make sure that you build in enough of a margin, and be prepared for retailers to negotiate down from your wholesale price if your idea is new to the market. Cost includes more than just production, packaging, liability insurance, and shipping.


These are just a few suggestions to getting your product on its way, and you closer to being a mompreneur in the innovative product world. Happy Mother’s Day!


Melinda Knight and Dhana Cohen are the creators of the only network supporting women inventors throughout the United States and Canada. Both were inventors and had developed careers helping inventors before joining forces for


The network is free to join and offers marketing, public relations, celebrity gifting, and a shop where women can promote their products. They recently launched the nonprofit annual AWARD program and Speed Networking Day. Contact them at

[email protected] for more information.