“妈妈”发明家 If These Moms Can’t Find It,They Invent It

Eight years ago, Tamara Monosoff came up with an invention that she was sure mothers like herself would appreciate: a device that prevents children from 1)unspooling toilet paper from the roll. But she had no idea how to transform the concept into a 2)marketable product. When she turned to the Internet,“There was nothing—no road maps, no anything,” recalls Ms. Monosoff, who lives near San Francisco.

Fast-forward to today, and the term “mom inventors” 3)yields about 290,000 results on Google. There is Ms. Monosoff’s own Web site, Mom Invented, which supports aspiring“4)mompreneurs” and licenses and sells products under the Mom Invented brand, a 5)Good Housekeeping-like seal of approval. Other sites include the Mogul Mom, where mothers can satisfy their inner 6)Edison by reading 7)posts like“How Do I Get My Product in Stores?” and “Don’t Get Burned by Your Light Bulb Moment.” Not to mention the dozens and dozens of online stores, like the Busy Mom Boutique, that sell mom-made products.

What’s behind the growth in mom-generated creations? One factor is the rise of the Internet and social media, which allow child-raising women to exchange ideas without having to leave the house. Ms. Monosoff has nearly 6,000 followers on Twitter, and her Web site has a community of about 20,000 mothers, who exchange tips and offer support.“Someone will say they’re having a problem and they can’t find a 8)seamstress, and someone else will say, ‘I have someone who helped me,’ ” she says. “It’s instantaneous, whereas for me, I was looking in the 9)Yellow Pages.”

Inventing is also a means of 10)channeling energy for ambitious career women who suddenly find themselves changing diapers and searching for lost 11)sippy cups.

“They’re engaged, they’re smart, smart women,”says Ms. Monosoff, who has two daughters, ages 8 and 10. “Whether they have a business background or not, they have their whole life experience to bring to the table. That’s what I love. They’re not 12)constrained by 13)business jargon or business concepts. They’re like, ‘I’m making this thing; how do I sell it?’ ” Running Mom Invented, and writing books on inventing, is a full-time job that Ms. Monosoff 14)fits in while her girls are at school and in bed.

Linsay Chavez of Tucson, Ariz., quit her job as a marketing coordinator for a manufacturing company and started the Busy Mom Boutique this year. “A lot of moms need to support their families,” she says, “and while maybe they don’t 15)have it in them to go get a full-time job, seeing as they have their kids at home, they actually get the 16)momentum to turn ideas into reality.” She adds: “In many households, moms are the chief buyers. And in the new millennium, if they can’t find what they need, they just invent it themselves.”

That was true for Ms. Monosoff, who couldn’t figure out how to stop her 8-month-old daughter from 17)unrolling all of the toilet paper and stuffing it down the toilet. “I was like, ‘Okay, where’s the gadget?’ ”Ms. Monosoff recalls. “I was trying to figure out how to design something like that, but I really had no experience. Then I was buying shampoo at a beauty supply store, and I saw a 18)hair permanent rod, that little roller thing, and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that might work!’ ”

She worked on a rough prototype of what would become the “TP Saver.” The basic concept is that a small, plastic rod—that grown-ups can lock into place—keeps the toilet paper from unspooling. Then she found a 19)machinist and an engineer to work out the design, 20)brainstormed with focus groups, hired a manufacturer in China, had the product 21)patented and safety tested and ultimately got it into 9,000 grocery stores nationwide.

Such stories are everywhere: a mom runs into a problem with her child and, unable to find a solution, invents one herself. That’s happened to Heather Allard of Providence, R.I., who before staying home with her children worked as a saleswoman and account coordinator for 22)Estée Lauder. When her second daughter was “23)busting out of every 24)swaddling blanket” while she was sleeping, she joked to her husband,“I wish I could make a little baby 25)straitjacket.”

“I told this to other moms, and said that would be really great, ” she says. After making a “primitive sketch on 26)loose leaf,” she worked with a seamstress on a prototype and had it patented. “There was a whole lot of trial and error, and a lot of expensive mistakes,” she says. For instance, the American manufacturer she first hired was costing her $16 a product. Then she switched to a Chinese company and reduced the cost to $5.85. In the end, she spent $50,000 to get her product to market. She 27)recouped the cost when she sold the rights to the product, the Swaddleaze, and its 28)follow-up, the Blankeaze—a wearable blanket with leg holes—for six figures in 2008. That same year, she started Mogul Mom.

Nowadays, she says, the landscape is much different for moms. “We’ve come so far. I think at this point, it’s never been easier to do this kind of thing,” she says, pointing to the 29)plethora of advice Web sites, coaching programs and even crowdfunding resources that help raise 30)seed money for products. Those developments, she says, have “coincided with the 31)rotten economy, so a lot of moms are out of jobs, they’re at home with the kids.”

She adds: “They say necessity is the mother of invention—well, that’s the case.”


时至今日,“妈妈发明家”这个词语在谷歌搜索引擎上已经有近29万条相关结果。这当中就包含莫诺索夫女士自己的网站“妈妈发明”,该网站支持有抱负的“妈妈企业家”并获准销售“妈妈发明”品牌下的系列产品, “妈妈发明”品牌就像是通过“好管家研究院”认证一样的标记。其他网站包括“大人物妈妈”,在这个网站上,妈妈们可以通过浏览一些诸如《如何让我的产品进驻商店》、《别错过你灵光乍现的时刻》等帖子去满足她们内心的创造需求。更不用说那许许多多如“繁忙妈妈精品小店”等出售妈妈们制造的产品的网上商店了。




来自亚利桑那州图森市的林赛·查韦斯,放弃了她在一制造企业的市场协调员的工作,在今年创建了“繁忙妈妈精品小店”。“许多妈妈需要养家,”她说, “可能她们因为考虑到有小孩在家,所以没有去找一份全职工作,事实上,她们有着把想法转变成现实的动力。”她补充道:“在许多家庭里,妈妈是主要的购买者。在这个新千年里,如果妈妈们不能找到她们所需的东西,就只有自己发明了。”



这样的故事比比皆是:一位妈妈遇到她小孩引起的问题,找不到解决方法,就自己发明。这发生在来自罗德 岛普罗维登斯的希瑟·阿拉德身上。留在家里照看小孩之前,她是雅诗兰黛的销售及客户协调员。当她的二女儿睡觉之际“踢开每一张襁褓毛毯”时,她跟丈夫开玩笑道:“我真想做一件婴儿紧身衣。”