Mothers of Invention

Moss, Christine; Caspi, Laine
March 2005
People;3/28/2005, Vol. 63 Issue 12, p115
This article focuses on mothers and the inventions that they have created. Tamara Monosoff thought it was adorable when her baby Sophia unspooled a roll of toilet paper--but only the first time. She scoured stores looking for a device to halt the runaway tissue with no luck. So the former Clinton Administration staffer, then a stay-at-home mom, set about redesigning a flexible hair roller to suit her purpose. The result--the TP Saver--now sells in 200 stores and national catalogs for $5.99. Raquel Lett-Anderson struggled to juggle the needs of three young children, put dinner on the table and be a supportive wife to boot.Trying to offer a little help, her husband, Antonio, 40, jury-rigged a device to hold a bottle in their baby's mouth while an adult held the baby, freeing up parents' hands. After other parents started asking Raquel--a former kindergarten aide with a degree in marketing--where they could buy one, "I turned off my mommy side," she says "and put on my business cap." That meant developing a prototype, testing, marketing and landing a patent for the hands-freeing device she called the Gabriel Feeding Pad (after their younger son's middle name). Searching for a shopping cart in a toy-store parking lot while carrying her infant son, Missy Cohen-Fyffe saw a fellow shopper sneeze into his hands, then plop them down on the handle of his cart to push it into the rack. To protect Josh, then 4 months, from germs, the former public-relations executive hired a seamstress in 1996 to sew a padded cover she could insert in child-seat compartments of shopping carts. Borrowing $15,000 from her father, Doug, Laine Caspi created her own version of a baby carrier she bought in Israel, using Lycra, T-shirt fabric, and simple, solid-color designs to create the Ultimate Baby Wrap, selling them for $39.99 each out of the back of her car. Sales really picked up when she started selling them on a Web site, and then Babies "R" Us picked up the product for its own site.


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