FIRST THOUGHT: Inventing Your Own Success
When I’m struggling at work, I like to hear about success stories. I think, if Apple was started in a garage, surely I can answer all these emails and make it to happy hour.
We all have different definitions of success. Some women want to make it to the corner office with a view, while others want to be stay-at-home moms. Some even want both in their lifetime, and I say why not?
Today, think about what success looked like to you five years ago. Then think about what it looks like to you now. Is it the same?
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 34.72 Percent
I’m grateful that many women’s version of success is to create genius products. How many times have you seen a late-night infomercial and said, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Plenty of brilliant inventions were created by women, like the life raft, the fire escape, the medical syringe, the modern refrigerator and what might be the most important of them all, beer.
Getting a patent is a top priority for inventors. The National Women’s Business Council found that the highest sustained rate of patents granted to women in the United States was from 1986 to 1993. The slowest rate was between 1999 and 2006.
The organization also discovered that from 2009 to 2010, there was a staggering increase of 34.72 percent in patents granted to women.
Let’s hope this trend of women inventors keeps on climbing.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Joy Mangano, Inventor and Business Owner
One of these amazing female inventors is Joy Mangano. Last year, the movie Joy, starring Jennifer Lawrence, was released. It gives a glimpse into this savvy woman’s life story. Mangano always had a knack for good ideas. When she was a teen working at an animal hospital, she created a fluorescent flea collar so pets would be visible at night. Another company got the ball rolling on the idea before she could get a patent.
Stung by that circumstance, Mangano learned her lesson, and now has more than 100 patents. Before she created her multi-million-dollar empire, she earned a degree in business administration and worked odd jobs while raising three children as a divorced mother.
In 1990, when she was doing housework and bent over to wring out her mop, the idea for the self-wringing Miracle Mop was born. Mangano created the first production of the Miracle Mop in her dad’s auto-body shop using money borrowed from her family.
The mop was sold on QVC without Mangano present and was a major flop. Once Mangano went on the air herself, she sold 18,000 in 20 minutes. I’m not kidding. She tirelessly hit the airwaves, all while being president of her kids’ PTA.
One of her other successful inventions is Huggable Hangers. In the last decade, more than 700 million of these no-slip, velvety hangers have been sold, making it the Home Shopping Network’s top-selling product of all time.
Mangano wants to give back by teaching others how one simple idea can change everything. The charitable side of her company, The Joy Mangano Foundation, has partnered with Rising Tide Capital to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses and succeed.
More than two decades after her Miracle Mop idea came to fruition, Mangano works alongside her three children and ex-husband, and her business continues to thrive.
Mangano has an uncanny ability to see everyday annoyances, like touching dirty mop water, and inventing something better. With some elbow grease, she’s living the American Dream. There’s no telling what this energetic inventor is going to come up with next.
QUITE THE QUOTE
The all-American designer Tommy Hilfiger said:
“The road to success is not easy to navigate, but with hard work, drive and passion, it’s possible to achieve the American Dream.”
That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.