Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Day 1241 - Inspirational Businesses

Ever had a great idea that you wish you could get off the ground? 

Image Source

You know that point where you find a gap in the marketplace, a product that someone should invent, or a service someone could provide, to fill a need?  You know when you go "imagine if we had a do-dad that made this easier", or "I should really make these myself, they'd sell like hot cakes", or "I wish someone would package these up in one unit and sell them as a set".  You know those moments? I met a bunch of people recently who are stepping up to the plate, taking the bull by the horns, grabbing life by the short and curlies (and all those other metaphors) to produce products to fill those gaps. For anyone even slightly entrepreneurial in nature, their stories are truly inspiring.

Story One: Sticky Wicky

Cathy and the Sticky Wicky booth at the New York Toy Fair
(C) Deep Fried Fruit
You will recall I referred to Sticky Wicky here and here. Sticky Wicky was invented as a "back yard" cricket option and is now moving into baseball. Mr Sticky Wicky had been thinking about this idea for ten or fifteen years before his wife one day just said "let's do it".  Let's mortgage the house, organise the prototypes and let's do it.  So they did.

Cathy from Sticky Wicky with the smaller version of the game.
Sticky Wicky is basically a long banner that you roll out and secure into the ground with pegs. There is a wicket keeper in the middle of the banner with a great big bit of velcro where the stumps are.   On each "wing" of the banner there is a fielder who also has velcro on his hands. You can also get a smaller version (pictured here) with just the wicket keeper. The basic premis of the game is that "if it sticks, you're out". No more fighting about whether or not so-and-so caught the ball, no more wondering if the stumps actually moved.  It's simple. If the ball sticks to the velcro, then you are out. This also means you can play with just a couple of people.

It's a simple idea that someone took the time (and money) to progress.  I first saw Sticky Wicky advertised on Nickelodeon two Christmas's ago when Darby alerted me to it. Our lovely Sticky Wicky friends were also at the New York Toy Fair.

Their dream is becoming a reality with retailers, sporting groups and distributors in the US very interested on the baseball version, and with cricket teams, schools, youth groups, retailers and families very keen on the product back here in Australia.  They are selling well.  One little idea that someone had the courage to do something about, now a reality.

Story Two: My First Garden

Glenn from My First Garden at his booth at the New York Toy Fair
(C) Deep Fried Fruit
Derek and I met Glenn from "My First Garden" during our newbies seminar at the New York Toy Fair.  Their idea was to create an easy to assemble, durable, garden kit for children. That easy.  Just four corrugated walls, some soil and some seeds. Add some magnets to personalise it and bingo! Whether it be flowers or veges or herbs, any child can start to cultivate their very own produce.  My First Garden is another Aussie business doing well here at home with schools very keen on the idea, along with families and retailers.  At the New York Toy Fair they had strong interest from Toys R Us and were hoping to get into Home Depot.  I'm not sure of the outcomes, other than they made an impact. Another little idea that someone had the courage to do something about, now a reality.

Story Three: Choose Friendship

The Choose Friendship booth at the New York Toy Fair
(C) Deep Fried Fruit
Choose Friendship was created by a man in his retirement proving that it is never too late to create your dreams.
Owner, inventor and founder  of Choose Friendship
(C) Deep Fried Fruit
This grandad used to help his grand daughters make their friendship bracelets and found the idea of attaching the wool and string to a chair or big toe a little "cumbersome". So he would create wooden frames to help them make the perfect friendship band.  As he watched them create their artwork he could see how happy it made them and he also saw how happy it made the recipient.  He loved the idea of the simple friendship bracelet creating positive energy and inclusive environments.  So he went out on a limb and got prototypes created in durable plastic and he is now a well established business in America. They are now expanding into photo bracelets with an app on the iPod that allows you to take the photo and resize it and a handy implement to cut out the photo and stick it on a plastic bracelet so you have a row of photos around your wrist of your friends.  Yet another little idea that someone had the courage to do something about, now a reality.

Story Four: Book Blingz

Lori Okin from Book Blingz at the New York Toy Fair
(C) Deep Fried Fruit
This Mum has only just started to make her idea a reality.  She was at the Toy Fair with prototypes that she had created in October.  Her idea for Book Blingz came from cruising the art and craft aisles of a US store. She heard two tween aged girls discussing covering their school binders with rhinestones, animal print fabric, ribbon etc.   Right then and there she decided it was a great marketing opportunity.  She went off and ordered what she needed to get started on creating a series of custom made covers for binders.  She then found a factory in China who could mass produce and within just three months she was selling the concept at the New York Toy Fair.

She has been likened to another company called Locker Lookz which creates "furnishings" for school lockers.  Yep ... carpet, curtains, chandeliers etc to hang in the school locker to jazz it up a bit. Something to make boring old school into a fashion extravaganza! (I don't know about you, but I am getting images of Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde.) When I met Lori at the Toy Fair she was on her way to do a TV interview on MSNBC.  She had an idea and she ran with it! Yet another  little idea that someone had the courage to do something about, now a reality.

Have you ever had a great idea you wish you could get off the ground?  

Here are four people just like you who actually did something about it.

Have a happy inspired Tuesday! 


  1. Great stories and very motivational.

  2. I love reading little sucess stories.

  3. Aren't they just inspirational! Would you believe my husband wanted to start a juice bar - we lived in Sydney then, Manly actually, and it was before Boost started - wish he'd done it!!! Emily

  4. This has been really interesting, I hope these people have all had a good result from the Toy Fair.

  5. Love the inspiration behind these stories!
    I especially love the garden concept
    Thank you for sharing your adventures xx
    Josefa from #teamIBOT

  6. Great post - love reading inspirational stories like these.

    I dared to believe that my local area needed it's own blog ... and here I am!!!!

  7. I love these motivating stories Leanne :)

  8. I remember my sister talking about a fitted electric blanket, she should have run with it! some fantastic stories here, great ideas :)

  9. Always enjoy reading inspirational stories about normal day to day people from all over the world. I don't really have a business mind but would some day really like to develop something that's ME and belongs to ME and hopefully generate some income along the way. Hope this isn't sounding too EGO-centric!!!!

  10. Inspirational and motivational indeed! A great post!

  11. I am currently looking for those who can do the pull up Banners according to my design perfectly but in a reasonable price. Since it is for my business purpose I have a budget estimated.


  12. Sounds simple to read! The focus on the topic is full time and really awesome at the concept. Thanks

    Affordable Printing Services.


I love hearing your thoughts! Keep them rolling in :)

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