Monday, January 9, 2012

Spotlight on Mommy–Amy Davis, Creator of the Kiss-u Tissue Tubes

I am excited to introduce this week's Spotlight Mom and her brilliant idea to you.  What I love about this mom and her product, is that her product came in so handy this past week.  Since bringing our daughter home from the hospital 3 weeks ago, we also brought home a nasty head cold, which has been passed around to myself and my two daughters.  And, when one seems to get better, the rest of us are suffering, and then like clockwork, we are all sick again.  So, as you can imagine, we have been going through boxes of tissues, and paying a handful of visits to the doctors and pharmacy.  Each time I have gotten in to the car, I have either forgotten to bring a box of tissues, or in an instant would need to wipe my own nose, which seems to run like a leaky faucet, or quickly tend to my daughters' noses, as they both sit in the back seat coughing or fussing.  Prior to the Kiss-U Tissue Tube, I was  also searching in the diaper bag, glove box, or reaching into the back seat floor area, while my husband was driving in search of tissues.  But, now, I simply have to place the Kiss-U Tissue Tube in the driver's or rear cup holder and have tissues as my disposal.  No more searching for tissues, and in turn, no more headaches! 

I don't know about you, but even when I bring the cubed box of tissues in the car, I either have to stick them in the back window, or on the floor in the back seat.  And, when the need for a tissue arises, the box is either out of reach or can't be found on the floor, as it shifted while in transport.  Thanks to Amy's brilliant idea, you simply place her cute tissue box tubes in a cup holder for easy access.  And, they are so compact that you don't have to worry about taking up too much space.  Need refills?  No problem, simply buy a pack of the Kissues Refill Packets and refill the tube.  No waste or need to buy more tissues boxes.  So, not only are you saving money on not having to buy new tissues boxes, but you are also helping save the environment, by cutting down on unnecessary waste.

Now with the cold season in full swing, why not pick up a few Kiss-U Tissue Tubes to have handy in your car.  You never know when you will need them.  And, like Amy says, these little tissue tubes can save lives -- "My product saves lives.  When someone is driving and looking for a tissue they are very distracted. Additionally, the driver often has to reach to the right for a tissue, causing the car to veer to the right and endangering anyone along that side of the road.  Who knows how many lives it will save, but I know for my family, it is a life-saver."

---BUY NOW---
Looking for KISS-U TISSUE TUBES? Use Amy's online store locator, to find a retailer near you who carries her Kiss-U Tissue Tubes.  Or, you can buy tissue tubes in sets of 2 for only $7.79 directly from her website (price includes shipping anywhere in the USA).

While I take a minute to wipe my nose :-), please enjoy my Spotlight on Mommy interview with Amy.

Name: Amy Davis

Company Name/Product/Service: Kiss-u Corps LLC; Kiss-u Tissue Tubes & Kissues Refill Packets
Company Location: Weston, CT
Company Website:
Age of Company: 2008
Favorite Book: “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How many children do you have? What are their ages? Your hobbies? 

After retiring from teaching in the NYC public school system, my husband and I moved our family to CT and I stayed home to raise my kids. Three years later, our third child was born.  We have three kids: one was in college when I started my company and the other 2 were 16 and 12. I love to read, write and watch movies.

Briefly explain your business. How did it come about?

After 15 years of raising kids, I decided to go back to school to get an MBA. In one of my first classes (Sept 2007) we were asked to develop a product and explain how we would market it.  While coming up with a unique product may seem like a daunting task, it really isn’t: a product is really just a solution to common problem -- all I had to do was pay attention whenever I had a problem, think about it, and try to solve it.  Within a few days I had my product.

What is a typical work day like? 

Computer, computer, computer, and sometimes reference books to help solve the problem of the day.  I work by myself in a small office and am learning as I go.  I have no business experience, other than my recent education, so everything is a challenge.  But it’s a really exciting and enriching challenge for the most part, so I do still enjoy it.  That’s not to say there haven’t been lots of tears, because there have been; but I love overcoming obstacles that at first seem insurmountable.

What has been a struggle while starting up your company? 

Everything except writing and reading. I knew nothing about anything.  I knew nothing about design and design programs (I used Adobe Illustrator), I knew nothing about establishing a company, I knew little about technology (I made my own website which I continue to update, and registered myself as a vendor for Walgreen's -- no small feat!) I knew nothing about sales or how to convince people to take my product, and I knew nothing about importing.  Learning curves were steep at every turn for me.

What did you do in your past work life? 

I taught in the NYC Public School System in Brooklyn, NY during an amazing time in education and with exceptional teachers who are also exceptional people.

What have been some of your major successes? 

I got my product into Walgreens

What have been some of your major challenges? 

Keeping my product in Walgreens and finding other retailers to take it.  Without retail, I have no business. Everything else is secondary, no matter how difficult it seems at the time.

On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going? 

That’s a good question.  Stubbornness?

What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family? 

For a while it was my health that fell to the wayside and I gained about 30 pounds.  I definitely came last.  The only thing I gave myself was, provided everyone was taken care of, I would run out to the movies once in a while after dinner.  But, as my kids got older I was able to take better care of myself. Still, this continues to fluctuate because, though my kids are older, they still require my undivided attention at times.  They just tend to need it less.

What is next for your business? 

Expanding to new retailers.  2012 is my year!

Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business? 

While everyone wants to be “The Amazing One” and invent and launch a successful product in no-time-flat, the truth is this rarely happens to anyone, much less someone like me with no experience and no connections. So try to keep in mind that the journey is just as much fun as the endgame.  It’s incredibly difficult for someone like me who knew nothing about business, had no contacts, and didn’t even know where the road started, much less be able to hit the road running, to be successful in a short amount of time! 

Additionally, I think moms put a lot of unnecessary pressure on ourselves because we are judged by others based upon the successes of our children. While we influence how our children behave and to what they are exposed, we actually have little control over their behavior now or when they grow up. But because people are judging us, we tend to focus on instilling the norms of our social circles and forget to enjoy the journey and to help our kids develop the best parts of themselves; instead we focus only on how we look to others based upon things over which we have little control.

The same is true for starting a business: you can have a brilliant product that goes nowhere for a while, or it may take off relatively quickly. The speed at which this happens is, to a great extent, luck. So rather than focus on this (even though you may be judged by others for not being able to launch your product quickly), focus on making the best aspects of your product even better.  If your product is worthwhile, it will catch on eventually – you will find some forward thinking retailer to buy it. So I would say, "Take your time.  Enjoy the journey. Live and love the process." 

My product saves lives.  When someone is driving and looking for a tissue they are very distracted. Additionally, the driver often has to reach to the right for a tissue, causing the car to veer to the right and endangering anyone along that side of the road.  Who knows how many lives it will save, but I know for my family, it is a life-saver.

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