Product Development

How I Got My Invention On QVC - Part 2 March 15 2017

As I write this, the northeast is getting pounded with snow. Here at Peepsnake, not so much; we are based down in the south in Atlanta, Georgia. I find out when inclement weather is about to strike up there when I receive a timely email, not from The Weather Channel, CNN or FOX, but from our retail partner QVC in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

Peepsnake on QVC

These safety-related emails are warning vendors about traveling during blizzards to the QVC Studios during the 24-hour live broadcasts. Yes, they actually do air LIVE 24-hours every day! I experienced this first hand. No, not the NE blizzards, but...

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After a successful on-air experience in 2015, I was thrilled to be invited to go back on-air in 2016. I traveled once again to PA, this time to join other inventors in the September 13th inaugural QVC Sprouts Show hosted by Elise Ivy, between the 4 and 5 AM hour.

QVC 24 hours

{ 2:00am Arrival } As the sign inside the studio states, "...never sleeps." { 2:30am Hair/Makeup } Being pampered at any hour is okay by me. { 3:00 Consult with Host } Elise is just as nice and beautiful as she appears on TV! { 4:30 LIVE on-air to present Peepsnake } We did our best to capture any eyes that were up in the wee hours!

Peepsnake on QVC

"80 inches long so you have a lot of versatility on how you want to wear this scarf."

Peepsnake on QVC

"The Peepsnake window even works with touch gloves."

Peepsnake on QVC Elise

How cute is Elise in her Peepsnake?!! This is the picture taken during the live show when I demonstrated my Peepsnake back camera window.

Some takeaways from my EARLY MORNING on-air experience:  1) There are actually people up and shopping at that hour-- but not many. 2) I should have drank more coffee! It's not easy to fabricate high energy. 3) Find the silver lining no matter what the circumstances. Through the years, I have built a network of fellow women inventors. That morning, I added a new inventor friend to my support group, Andrea from Baratessa Jewelry, who is pictured above behind Elise waiting to go on-air next.

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Here is the video of Elise and me presenting Peepsnake to the viewers at 4:30AM.

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Have an invention you want to get on QVC? Their small business submission has changed. I went through their QVC Sprouts program where customers voted their favorite products on, as was the case with Peepsnake. Now you submit right to the buyers and they do the selecting in what is now called QVC Next. Go ahead and give it a shot and apply here!

Read How I got my product on QVC - Part 1 here.

THANK YOU QVC, AND TO MY EARLY MORNING VIEWERS, FOR YOUR SUPPORT!


Top 7 Questions Answered About Peepsnake August 19 2016

Peepsnake had the pleasure of participated in Atlanta's AmericasMart trade show, introducing our all-season lightweight knit Smartphone Sash to buyers around the southeast. We loved meeting new customers, and were thrilled when past Peepsnake® buyers came by to express how they are using their purchase. What we heard most from buyers:  "great idea" - "unique" - "I need this for my next trip!"

As the show progressed, we heard a pattern of questions being asked. I'm sharing the answers here with you, thinking, if they had questions, maybe you do to.

1. Yes, there are multiple ways to wear it. In cooler weather, you can secure a Peepsnake on as a multipurpose scarf. When it is hot, I like to tie it around my waist hands-free. And for everyday use, wear it as a cross body or as a stylish shoulder fabric bag. *Note: Watch the tutorial video here, and look for the 'Ways to Wear' graphic insert included in each Peepsnake package.

 Peepsnake travels to Nashville

2. Yes, you get the whole strip of fabric with attached phone pocket and additional pouch. Carry just what you need while securing your phone on you while using. This helps you avoid leaving your phone behind, say on a restaurant table or in your Uber ride, or getting it stolen right out of your hands, which just happened to my 12-year old niece.

3. Yes, Peepsnake is stadium approved to bring into football games. I'm sure you've heard by now that most NFL and college stadiums have banned purses and bags. They want you to put all your personal item (i.e. Tampons!) in a clear bag for all eyes to see.  Avoid this by wearing your essentials on you in a Peepsnake scarf.

Peepsnake Aurburn Game Day Colors

4. No, an iPhone 6 with an Otterbox case will not fit into a standard pocket. Yes, it will fit into our Peepsnake with an XL window sized to fit the iPhone 6 Plus and larger Android. No, a Plus-sized phone with an extra large case will not fit into any of the pockets, but you could remove the case to use. *Note: The phone glass and vinyl window will naturally 'stick' during touchscreen use. To remove phone from pocket, unzip, and run fingers in-between vinyl and glass to separate, and then slide out.

5. Yes, the All-Season Peepsnake has water-resistant pockets. So walk on the beach avoiding a sandy and salty phone, access your phone on your drizzly commute, and take pictures of your kids playing while the snow falls. Stay dry and carry on!

Peepsnake on beach walk

6. Yes, you can actually hear and talk through the conductive window. And Yes, you can work your phone through the window while wearing your texting gloves.

 Peepsnake window scarfPeepsnake with texting gloves

7. No, we are not going on Shark Tank as of now (Yes, the number one question!) but... Yes, we are going back on-air on QVC this fall, September 13th!

More info to come about Peepsnake on QVC LIVE...


What Goes into Making a Peepsnake? October 14 2015

. . . . .

Peepsnakes are born from a small family-run business.

I am responsible for everything from making prototypes, sourcing material, selling, packing and shipping.  My husband is my marketing guru, who also takes on the job of reminding me to enjoy the journey.

Peepsnake Enjoy the Journey

I even enlist my teenager's opinion on product innovation and social media trends, and ask for help from my younger two boys to count inventory, tag and bag.

Time Spent:  Each Peepsnake is made by hand, by a local seamstress in the USA or in one of our factories overseas. As inventor and CEO, I spend a great deal of time meticulously selecting each item that goes into making the Peepsnake Smartphone Scarf. With my graphic design background, this is my passion! I wear and use a Peepsnake everyday myself so I am my best test-market on quality.

peepsnake sewn in the usa

Fabric:  I carefully choose and have each fabric style cut with intention. Research is conducted to take in account not only the way it feels against your skin, but the way it hangs with a smart phone and other items in each pocket.

peepsnake fabric

Our fabric lines include Plush/Premium with custom-made medium-weight plush micro fleece and thicker Polartec® fleece, and Knit/All-Season ‘soft, but durable’ Ponte de Roma fabrics.

peepsnake fabric

Conductive Vinyl:  The clear front and back window on our PATENTED touchscreen scarf is unique to Peepsnake. We tested many transparent materials to find ours which is ---> incredibly ‘fabric-like’, smooth, bendable, and super strong.

Zippers:  Only the best smooth-gliding YKK® zippers are used on all Peepsnake phone scarves. No ‘sticky’ zippers aloud! The exposed zipper design is consistent from our original Peepsnake design. It not only looks cool but is also clean and streamlined.

Zipper Pull:  We selected a friendly snake to compliment and add charm to the Peepsnake Smartphone Scarf; a little ‘bling’; but don't worry, it won't bite!

peepsnake touchscreen window scarf

Shop Peepsnake


How I Got My Invention On QVC - Part 1 October 03 2015

 Peepsnake on QVC

I got the opportunity to go LIVE on-air on QVC September 30th on the 7-9am Mornings Made Easy Show with Rachel Boesing and Dan Hughes. What an incredible experience!

Peepsnake was voted as the winner of QVC Sprouts Program (week 71) by Peepsnake and QVC customers. How did this 'mompreneur' get this opportunity to even get up for a vote? I just pursued it. Reach out, ask questions, get it done. (Start here.) Along the way, I made sure to keep all my friends and supporters engaged in my story and entrepreneurial path.

After winning the contest in November 2014, QVC put Peepsnake for sale on their website. We sold out in a week! Six months later, they invited me to take part in their “inventor” series they were launching Wednesday mornings. Six minutes to present my product on-air live! Of course I was nervous, but how could I turn down an unbelievable life experience like this? After my “guest” training class in August, I watched QVC diligently everyday for a month to see what presentation styles I liked and took notes.

Wow, did the 6 minutes go by fast! Overall, I got most everything I wanted to get in and was pleased with my presentation. Peepsnake sold out of 4 of the 6 colors by the end of the show and is currently growing a waitlist.

My take-away from my experience: Everyone that I interacted with on the set at QVC Live was helpful, friendly, supportive, and buttoned-up. They have quite the “family” there-- I can see why millions of people tune in every day.

Peepsnake on QVC

Arriving at QVC, Inc. early in the morning.

Peepsnake on QVC

I started my morning with hair and makeup. So much fun!

Meeting with my host, Rachel, and the production team.

Peepsnake on QVC

 Social media time. Rachel facebooked this plug for Peepsnake on her page!

Peepsnake on QVCPeepsnake on QVCPeepsnake on QVC

Peepsnake on QVC

Some more quality time with Rachel to get prepared and go over notes. My sister-in-law Margaret taking pictures in the background through her Peepsnake!

Meeting with one of the models for instructions.

Peepsnake on QVC

Helping to get my display situated. It is coming together.

--> 7:00 am and the Show begins.

I was excited to see Rachel wearing Peepsnake in the main opening...

and throughout other segments in the show.

Peepsnake on QVC

--> 8:20 am and I'm about to go on next!

Peepsnake on QVC

Last minute calming down from Rachel? Actually, we were talking about our cats.

Peepsnake on QVC

And Peepsnake is LIVE!!!

What a GREAT morning. THANK YOU QVC!

As we head out, Margaret and I are giddy with excitement, reflection, ... and exhaustion.

 

And at the end of the day, I arrive back to Atlanta to this! An awesome welcome home poster from my husband and boys, and a gathering of friends to celebrate.


Top 4 Things People Say to Product Inventors September 29 2015

On the eve of traveling to QVC, I've been reflecting on my path that produced Peepsnake. It has been FIVE years since I dropped my iPhone in the mud, leading me to come up with a solution to not have to lug my purse around. Throughout the years, while there has been many ups and downs, a few things have remained consistent-- the questions I'm asked on a weekly basis.

--> What a great idea, wish I would have thought of that. Do you have a patent?

YES!  FINALLY!!  After 3 1/2 years, I've had to exercise a great deal of patience, to not keep hounding my attorney, and to keep confident that it would get approved. I can say without a doubt that ten years ago, I never would have dreamed that one day, I would be the proud owner of a U.S. Patent.

My advice: Be diligent in protecting your idea from the beginning. Have everyone you speak with sign a Non-disclosure Agreement. While you are determining if there is a market for your idea, submit a Provisional Patent to the USPTO until you can further determine its sales potential.

--> “I have an idea for an invention I want to talk to you about. Can you show me how to bring it to market?”

Now I get why in the beginning, I couldn’t get much time with someone to help me. Inventors and entrepreneurs are extremely busy people. Every waking moment is spent working on some aspect of the business…trying to get the product ready for shipping, talking to vendors and suppliers, working the always present 'how to get time with buyers.' Every night,  I collapse in bed making to-do lists for the next day.  Not having someone 'do it for me' was a blessing in disguise because I realized that the main reason I wanted to “talk to someone” was out of my own fear of not knowing what to do. Fortunately for inventors, there are thousands of blogs, articles, and resources that I poured through and learned a great deal. Blogs like Startup NationWomen's Inventorz Network, and of course Entrepreneur are extremely helpful for inventors. And good ole Google searching!

My advice: Determine first if you are passionate about your idea/product!  You need to be because you will be spending a lot of time with it!! If you are, do something... everyday, to move your idea forward.

--> Have you thought of getting into ________ store? My aunt’s cousin’s brother’s neighbor knows the manager there.

I know that people are trying to be helpful and for that I am grateful. I quickly found that the way to distinguish those who truly want to help from those who are just making friendly conversation is by saying, “Great! Can you contact them for me and set up a meeting?” I’ve had a few wonderful allies who have helped me by doing just that.

My advice: Use your contacts! I have asked for friends help with photography, PR connections, even modeling.

AND THE NUMBER ONE QUESTION:

--> Have you thought about going on that show Shark Tank?  

Without a doubt, the most asked question… almost 100% when I explain my invention. A well-meaning conversation starter, for sure, but the answer is “yes, I have thought about that”. So has every inventor who’s ever come up with anything. Shark Tank has captured the imagination of every inventor and would-be inventor in America. Who wouldn’t want to be in front of investors with millions to put into your business while you dream of riches and fame? I got swept up into it and I even submitted a video. But I quickly realized that most of the successful inventors on that show have sweated and toiled and done the heavy lifting for years before they get on the show. They have a solid business operation, not just an idea with a few prototypes. I’ve learned to address this in a fun, friendly way by saying, “Oh yeah! Mark Cuban’s wife would look great in a Peepsnake!”

I'll be sure to look for Lori Greiner in the QVC halls this Wednesday!