It is said that "necessity is the mother of invention," but these mothers are inventors of necessities. They are part of a growing business called "Mom Inventors," the brainchild of Tamarra Monosoff.
"I think there are many inventive moms that have great ideas," says Monosoff. "I think it's an untapped market of intelligence out there."
It’s a market she discovered out of frustration. Her oldest daughter, Sophia, used to unroll the toilet paper and clog the toilet. Unable to find a solution in a store, Monosoff invented the "TP Saver" — a plastic tube and a piece of elastic — and soon there was a new career for this stay-at-home mom outside San Francisco.
Her company helps women bring their ideas to market — ideas like "Good Bites" — the creation of Jennifer Sarahan, an Ohio mother who quickly tired of cutting off sandwich crusts. Her solution: a plastic de-cruster.
"I couldn't invent the light bulb, but something that I could use to take a crust off a sandwich, sure," says Sarahan.
Products like Jennifer's get the "Mom Invented" label, a unique seal of approval.
"I think also it’s mom-approved — this really is designed for and by moms," says Monosoff.
Women-owned businesses today are the fastest growing segment of privately owned firms. Many, like Monosoff's, are born of the need to balance family and their own creative desires.
Her skills and drive were honed in the Clinton White House, where she worked with her husband, Brad Kofoed.
"I think that’s something I learned at the White House, that it's important to offer substantive programs to people that did create change and difference," says Monosoff.
It's changed their lives. Brad left his job as a software company vice president to help. Now, with a store on eBay and the addition of "Good bites" and "Shoe Clues" — stickers to help kids tell their left from their right — Monosoff predicts sales of $1.7 million in the next year, for a breed of inventors who've found the best laboratory is at home.