Jennifer Spencer is the mother of two and the inventor of the Take-Along Tether.
She is a local mom who saw a problem and solved it.
The Take Along Tether is both an item tether and a kid tether.
I thought that this was a really creative solution to a problem every mother of a toddler has encountered. I love that Jennifer not only thought of it, but developed it and is now the President of her own company. How does this happen?
I asked her!
How did you think of it?
My son constantly would drop his favorite stuffed animal and I was afraid we were going to lose it! He was dropping it on public floors all the time and it was getting dirty. I did not want him sleeping with it like that so I was always washing it. In addition, when we would go to restaurants, he would play games and drop his teething ring or sippy cup on the ground and he thought it was funny. After retrieving his items from the floor (and sometimes from under a neighbors table) I would have to place his items out of his reach. I wasn't going to give him back his teether after being on the floor and I was tired of bending over to pick up his things 25 times in a meal.
Did you make some various models up at home?
Many, many versions were made prior to the final product. I tried Velcro, buttons, snaps, and a few other gadgets, but none would hold items for longer than a few minutes (with my son) AND many of those versions could only hold certain sizes of things. I wanted my final product to be able to hold virtually ANY child item, so I could use 1 product for many things.
How did you decide to take the leap and try to get it on the market?
I was using it in a restaurant, and I had a few women come up to my table and ask me when I had gotten the tether. They tried to buy it off of me right then and there! After having this experience happen several more times, I decided to make this available to the general public.
Was that process harder/easier than you expected?
Much harder! Most women think that if they could just come up with a great idea, then they would have it made. It is harder to market and sell a product (even a great one like the Take-Along Tether) than it was to come up with the idea! I have been on NBC, CBS, ABC, and CNBC, along with some great press from the Fort-Worth Star Telegram another associated publications, but it still takes a ton of work to get the product really moving. I still try every day!
What advice do you have for moms that might have an idea?
Protect your idea, be careful who you trust with your information, don't be afraid to see your vision through, be smart with your costs in the early stages.
Only make and sell what you can afford to lose. Don't take out a big bank loan that would put your family in financial jeopardy.
Do you have any advice for time management of working from home while being a stay at home mom ?
It takes discipline and balance. My kids often try to help me do my work. I try and give them little jobs that make them feel important, but I save my actually business calls/ sales calls on days they are in school and preschool. I think it is great for my kids to actually see that I am a working mom that has created my own product. It can make for a fun family business. My father is my business partner and my mother-in-law was my original seamstress! I honestly think having the total support from my family has really helped us get to where we are today with the Take-Along Tether. Without their support, I am not sure I would have gone beyond making it just for myself!
Jennifer’s website has more information about her story and her invention. You can buy the Take-Along Tether on the website or at the Lewisville Kid to Kid location.