Monday, April 15, 2013

Spotlight on Mom: Linda Pond, Co-Creator of The F.A.B. Light

The many uses of The FAB Light™!  Find A Brand!  Get Your Company Noticed! 

I am excited to share this week's Spotlight Mom and product review (on Friday) with you, as I am just loving the F.A.B. Light, created by Linda Pond.  Linda's invention is just another fine example of creating a product out of necessity.
  "On a warm August night in 2005, Linda and Rhonda Pond - who have been the Mother/Daughter, Pitcher/Catcher duo for The Carleton Place Ladies Fastball Team, The FAB U Lasses since 1988, were enjoying an after-game refreshment with their team around the team cooler.  It was then that Rhonda uttered those fateful words, "Here's a NEED for your event tomorrow Mom -  this cooler NEEDS a Light" -- and, so the F.A.B light was born. :-)

The F.A.B. Light is a remarkable and unique promotional product. Peel and stick it to the inside lid of coolers (Find A Beer) tool boxes (Find A Bolt) tackle boxes (Find A Bobber). F.A.B. Light: Find A Brand!  It is a single LED (Light Emitting Diode) encased in acrylic. The material causes a 'light pipe' effect as the light cascades through the clear acrylic, lighting your enclosed container while it lights up your company's logo or message.

Patented in both the U.S. and Canada, this invention was based on a single question:  "How come there is a light in a fridge, but not in a cooler?"  Now, the FAB Light™can be placed on the inside lid of any hinged box that may require light: Tool Box, Jewelery Box, Toy Box, Chest Freezer, Fishing Tackle Box.  It can even be worn on the wrist as a hands-free lighting device, requiring only the bending of the elbow to turn the light on and off."

So, with the warm summer months almost year, why not pick up F.A.B. lights to add to your coolers, tackle boxes, etc.  Not only will you finally be able to see things in the dark, but you will have fun finding new ways to use this cool mom-invented product -- I know, as I am! :-)  Click here to visit Linda's website to order the F.A.B. light for yourself or to give as a gift  www.lindaleepond.comI am betting those hard to shop for people on your list don't have this light. :-)  Then, settle in and enjoy my Spotlight on Mom interview with Linda Pond, co-creator of the F.A.B. Light.  And, make sure you head back here on Friday, when I will share more about the F.A.B. light, and offer 3 lucky readers a chance to win a F.A.B. light for themselves. :-)

Name:  Linda Pond
Company Name/Product/Service: The F.A.B. Light
Company Location: Ontario, Canada
Company Website:
Twitter Handle: @lindapond
Age of Company:  5 years
Favourite Quote:  From David Perry:  “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.  Became..... it’s not who you know, it’s who knows YOU.  Is now..... it’s not who knows you, it’s who NOTICES you.”
Favorite Book: "Gone With the Wind"

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.
My husband and I have been married for 38 years.  We have one daughter, Rhonda, who is 38 and has 2 children, 12 and 9.  Which makes me the best – and most fun –‘Nanny’ around!  
Married young, Rhonda and I kind of grew up together.  We still enjoy playing sports together, especially ladies fastball  – she is our catcher and I am the pitcher – and have been on the same team for 24 years – and counting.  Our team camaraderie means we also share the same friends both on and off the field.  We can’t wait til Paislee, my granddaughter, turns 14, so she can be a FABulass too. The FABulasses are sponsored by our invention,  The F.A.B. Light.

Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?
One hot night in August, as our ladies fastball team was celebrating a victory around the team cooler, Rhonda reached into the cooler for a beverage, and said these now famous words – “how come a fridge has a light, but there is no light in a cooler?” After a quick Google search, we discovered there was nothing like it on the market.  My company, Customer Connects Inc, had already created an outstanding network in high tech Ottawa, so I went to them for help in developing our invention and bringing it to market.  From identifying the NEED, to prototyping, to patent approval (Rhonda and I are patent owners), to product design, to finding a distributor, to hiring a manufacturer, to marketing and sales, we were successful in taking our product to market.  It is sold around the world via distributor Coghlans Ltd, and can be purchased in the camping aisle as ‘The Cooler Light’ in most large retail stores.   
The F.A.B. Light is attached (peel and stick) to the inside lid of any hinged enclosure.  Open the lid, the light comes on.  Close the lid, the light goes off.  Automatically.  F.A.B. stands for Find A Beer (cooler), Find A Bobber (tackle box), Find A Bling (sewing box), Find A Bandana (motorcycle/horse saddle bag), Find A Bolt (tool box), Find A Burger (freezer), and our favourite F.A.B. – Find A Bowl (toilet seat).
Breaking into a new market, we now can customize our invention with corporate logos and photographs, which is sold as a promotional product called ‘The F.A.B. Light’ – Find A Brand.  
What is a typical work day like? 
Networking is the best way to get noticed and create new business, so I usually attend 3-4 networking events per week. Since my office is in my home, these outings are important to my business as well as my state of mind.  Following up after networking, research, answering emails, blogging, writing articles about the F.A.B. Light, web site updates, are all accomplished from my home office.  
My ultimate goal is to speak professionally about my experiences of inventing and taking a product to market.  This leads to more networking and attending other speakers’ sessions to learn more of how professionals do it.  My speaking aspirations are supported by my published book – ‘Top Secrets of a Girl Entrepreneur – Inventing Greatness.’
My husband and I have the distinct pleasure of having our daughter and grandchildren live with us part time, so our blended families bring  a closeness not found in many other family relationships.  My granddaughter is growing into an innovative inventor herself, and this is very exciting to watch and coach her along.

What has been a struggle while starting up your company?  
When inventing a product, the biggest question is ‘What am I supposed to do now??’  The next question is ‘how am I supposed to pay for all this?’  I was very fortunate in that my network of high tech companies were ready and willing to help.  We structured a royalty agreement, which meant I didn’t have to come up with the cash (a stopper for most) at the beginning, and rewarded the designers with compensation once the product started to sell.

What did you do in your past work life?
I married young, and my daughter and I followed my military husband around the globe for the first 25 years of our marriage.  Rooting a career was difficult, so I continued to attend school at each posting.  By the time we settled, it was my turn.  I enjoyed a career of Medical Laboratory Technology for 12 years before I made the move into high tech. Laid off in 2002, I started my own company called Customer Connects Inc, where I connected the high tech community to new opportunities.  It was this network that enabled my own opportunity – who embraced me and our invention going to market.

What have been some of your major successes?
Receiving final approval for our patents on the F.A.B. Light
Completing and publishing my book, ‘Top Secrets of a Girl Entrepreneur – Inventing Greatness’
Appearing on The Dragons Den with the FABulasses
Running (and losing) in the municipal election in 2010. Losing is a major success?  You bet.  Look at the value received in getting noticed.
Motivating and inspiring other entrepreneurs to keep going,  not give up

What have been some of your major challenges?
Financing the invention.
Keeping my husband motivated – he paid the bills while I worked on getting started
Staying positive, and not giving up when challenged with major obstacles – and there were many.

On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?
I am motivated by the fact that since my daughter is a co-inventor, my success is her success.  My ball team, The FABulasses and our ladies fastball league in general also benefit from the notoriety of The F.A.B. Light.  In fact, our ladies fastball team has two wishes:  1) get on ‘Ellen’ and 2) invite any and all  ladies who have ever been a FABulass (over 25 years) on a cruise around the Greek Islands.

What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?
The secret to balancing business and family is to get the family to join in on the business!

What is next for your business?
I am consulting for other inventors who have a NEED and product idea, but don’t know the steps to taking it to market.  Always looking for speaking gigs where I can share the story and expertise. I also have a few more NEEDS of my own that am considering taking to market.

Right now, am consulting with North American manufacturers to build our  product (and new inventions) on this side of the world (original manufacturing done in China).  As I do the research,  it is cheaper to build here now, due to the rising costs of energy, shipping and labour.

Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business? 
Just do it.  Sounds lame, but take the first step, and see what happens. Being an entrepreneur means you have your goal in sight, even though you may not know how to get there. Don’t get mired in ‘analysis paralysis’.  Do surround yourself with those who support you and your dreams.

1 comment :

  1. This is such a smart idea I would love one for the toy box and also the tool box is a good idea.