Name: Karen Smoots
Business: The Green Glove Dryer
Location: Portage, Michigan, U.S.
Industry: Consumer Goods
Reason for starting? As a mom, the gloves, the stink, it was relentless. I could not get anything dry. The stink was that of roadkill. I was waisting money running my dryer and simply setting on the vents never dried the inside of the gloves. I knew there had to be a better way. I had 7 vents kicking out heat, nearly 24 hours a day and I HAD to figure out a way to reuse it. As a mom, I simply couldn’t send my kids to school one more day, with wet hands that smelled as god awful as they did. Whalla! After 8 hours in the garage, we came up with a fairly hideous looking design, but after one night of drying, I woke up the next morning and everything, I mean everything, all the the way to the tips of those god awful gloves was dry. From that point on, it was dry every day for the rest of the winter!
Related: Read about another Consumer Goods entrepreneur here.
How do you define success? Success is defined in my eyes by the interpersonal satisfaction from goal achievement. Only you can measure your success. Happiness and contentment begins with me and if I am satisfied with the growth, outcome and overall position of where I am today, I have achieved success. One should not be measured by others standards or benchmarks, only their own. I am healthy, have an amazing family and that in my eyes is success.
Biggest success: Inventing, launching and landing our product TheGreenGloveDryer on shelves of retail stores all over the country. Secondly, making my family proud that a mom from Michigan, with no inventor experience whatsoever, now has a patent, a product and a brand that is soon to be recognized nationwide!
We are looking to grow in the school sector. Realizing that we can have a nationwide impact in classrooms across the country, my mission now is to launch our generation 2, with antimicrobial protection, to impact the community health and wellness of all children and families by reducing bacteria growth in wet winter gear. Cold and flu season is relentless in the school sector and if I can impact this in anyway, I have a community duty to provide a product that will reduce illness, keep children and families healthier and reduce the number of sick days, I absolutely will do that.
Related: How School-Lunch Trash Inspired Two Moms to Start an Eco-Cool Business
What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? Dollars for marketing! I am entering every pitch contest available to win dollars to spend on marketing. I am also using these funds to be able to hire a part-time assistant. A new brand requires diligent marketing efforts and without the budget to achieve such, organic awareness is the only route in the beginning.
In May 2017, we left our first manufacturing facility due to poor and unjust treatment of what I would consider “women in business”. We had an entire season of defective product manufactured and the owner would not stand behind the integrity of the production. Prices were raised, misconduct on internal employees and ultimately legal ramifications were executed. No woman should ever have to go through a situation as I did at a manufacturing level.
Who is your most important role model? My grandmother. She happens to be one of the classiest, well organized and respected ladies I have ever known. I know she would be extremely proud of what I have accomplished thus far.
Edited by The Story Exchange