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Mac And Cool
Made for Mom LLC
WHAT: Marketing company founded and run by developers of practical products for infants and young children.
PRODUCTS: The company markets three products: the Mac & Cool, Snack Trap and Drink Deputy. More products may be added.
CONTACT: Online at www.madeformom.com, or by telephone in Arizona at (480) 241-7922.
Aiding moms a joint effort
Valley inventor, 2 others sell as team
Staff and wire services
Aug. 5, 2004 12:00 AM
Almost everyone has had at least one bright idea for a new product. But for most people, the idea remains just that, an idea. The work and cost involved in manufacturing, obtaining insurance and business licenses, and finding markets have stopped many innovators in their tracks. Denise Marshall, a Chandler mother, wife and inventor, has made it further than most.
Marshall's bright idea, the Mac & Cool, is a dish that quickly cools food for young children. It is available online and in some Valley stores. She's also formed a marketing company with two other single-product entrepreneurs. "When you approach a store about carrying your product, they like to see a whole line of things," Marshall explained. Her answer is Made for Mom LLC. Her partners are Christine Moss of Troy, Mich., and Denny Kays, a retiree who lives in Kentucky and Arizona. Moss is the inventor of the Snack Trap, a cup with plastic fins, or flaps, in its lid. A child can insert his fingers through slits in the lid, but if the cup falls, the fins keep food from falling out. Kays sells a product called the Drink Deputy, a strap that keeps bottles from tumbling off high chairs and strollers. The price of each item varies by store, but none sells for more than $10.
The entrepreneurs are responsible for their own manufacturing and packaging. They market the items on their Web site, in the media and promotional appearances. After getting a chilly reception from retailers as a single-item vendor, Kays trudged to a trade show, where he met Moss. The two discussed teaming up, and Moss brought in Marshall, who had previously contacted Moss to compare notes. Kays said the idea for his Drink Deputy strap was hatched with a friend who is a grandmother, while Moss and Marshall are stay-at-home moms who decided to patent products they couldn't find in stores. Under Made for Mom's setup, the three pitch the company's products in their respective regions. For example, if Moss finds a retailer interested in the Drink Deputy, she'll notify Kays. Then Kays would sell that amount of his product to their limited-liability company, which in turn would sell it to the retailer. "Each of our individual companies sells to Made for Mom for the exact price that we'll get from the retailer," Moss said. The three outsource the manufacturing of their products. Moss and Marshall then ship the products to the retailers themselves, while Kays has his shipped directly from the manufacturer. Marshall uses other Valley companies in connection with her product. Pima Plastics in Tempe manufactures the bowls. Scottsdale designer Steve Kricun did packaging and Web site work, and Marshall gets packaging materials from Sound Packaging in Chandler. In the Valley, the Mac & Cool is available at USA Baby in Phoenix and Tempe and Kitchen & Things at the Chandler Fashion Center. It is being test marketed in the Albertsons at Ray Road and McClintock Drive in Chandler, she said. Marshall has sold about 20,000 products in the past year.
Marshall and Kays both said that other creators of baby products have taken notice of the arrangement and contacted them about adding their products to the Made for Mom line. They are considering the idea. "There's benefits with numbers," Marshall said. The Cincinnati Enquirer contributed to this story.