Annie Pryor of Mommy Genius
Meet Annie Pryor, founder of Mommy Genius, which sells Made in the USA convenience products for the home.
What is Mommy Genius?
I am a stay-at-home mom with three young children. Taking care of the children 24/7 has led me to invent several items that I need to make my life easier. I started my company, Mommy Genius, in June 2010 because I believed that other moms would want my inventions, too. The first invention that I brought to market is my Mommy Genius Drying Rack. The kitchen countertop accessories are the perfect place to dry or display just about anything, including baby bibs, dishtowels, food-storage bags and bottles.
How did you come up with the idea?
My “a-ha” moment occurred five years ago when I had two young children who both wore bibs during meals. That meant that I had to deal with six to eight food-covered bibs each day. Since nothing on the market was right for hanging bibs up to dry, I decided to invent a drying rack. With no business, product development, or marketing experience whatsoever, it took me two years to bring my product from idea to reality. I worked during naptime and late at night when everyone was asleep.
What are some of the advantages to doing business in Ohio?
Even though I was in school forever getting my Ph.D. in biochemistry, I never took a business or marketing class. So I had no idea where to begin starting a business or developing a product. The Ohio Business Gateway
and the 1st Stop Business Connection (now the Ohio Development Services Agency
) helped me figure out what I needed to do to legally establish my business in Ohio.
Ohio is also great because they allow a small company like mine to be a Sole Proprietor LLC.
What was the biggest surprise in starting your business?
My biggest surprise was how difficult it was to find a company willing to make the drying racks for me. I wanted to have my drying racks manufactured in the USA, but most U.S. companies that I contacted did not have the capabilities to make the drying rack or were unwilling to make anything for a small, new company like mine. I contacted every steel wire company in Ohio, but there was no one who was willing and able to make the drying racks for me. Luckily, I was able to find a supportive steel wire company in Richmond, Indiana who were willing to take on my project.
Can you share a funny or amazing entrepreneurial experience with our readers?
The most amazing experience for me so far occurred in March 2011 when I got to demonstrate my drying rack on our local Dayton Fox 45 morning news show. I had never been on TV before and it was very exciting.
What founders do you admire and why?
I admire Kelly Lester, the owner and inventor of Easy Lunch Boxes
. She is an actress, singer, mom, inventor, and business owner. Her product is hugely successful on Amazon. Even though she is so successful, she makes time to personally help other mom-inventors like myself.
What’s next for you?
In addition to the drying racks, I have several other inventions that I hope to bring to market in the future.
Interview by Joe Baur