Amy is one clever chickie…..she saw a problem and created a solution. Thanks to Amy’s awesome ‘invention’ her gorgeous little girl now gets to play with the other kids with not a worry in the world of her glasses falling off! We simply had to chat with this clever Amy person about her clever creation!
You’re the inventor of Invisible spectacle holders! Great idea! But why?
My youngest daughter, Neva, needed glasses at 18 months old. Of course convincing a toddler to wear specs wasn’t an easy task. I was exhausted chasing her around after day one so I needed a solution. I went to 5 optical stores and only found one strap – a hideous elastic ribbon that really wasn’t well designed at all. I went home and got straight onto google. I was stunned to find that there really wasn’t a better option out there. The standard neoprene straps were too conspicuous and just slid around on the glasses arms because there was just too much material for little heads. I really did think someone must have come up with a better option since the ’80s! As a Mum, I was in enough shock that my little darling had to wear glasses – she was already going to look different in a crowd because of it. Now I had to add a geeky looking strap just to keep them on!
What was your inspiration for creating such a cool product?
Frustration really. I woke up a couple of mornings later at 3am (obviously I had been thinking way too hard about the problem!) with an idea for the perfect strap. It would be clear, fit snuggly onto the ends of the glasses (so my daughter couldn’t remove it) and could be cut to the perfect length to fit her little head. As luck (??) would have it, after many phone calls and kind referrals I tracked down someone in Melbourne who made the ideal base for the product. After it worked so well for Neva, friends and family kept commenting that I should sell them online. So Speccles was born!
Prior to Mummyhood, I worked in government administration. Not a fertile ground for invention! I left to have my first child, who was closely followed by two more and have been an at home Mum for 8 1/2 years. However I’ve always kept myself busy, and my hubby on his toes – constantly trying new things. I ran a mortgage broking business, tried my hand at day trading the US futures market, helped a friend run her Aged Care business and even ran the school fete! However none of these were particularly successful (except for the Fete of course!) so I moved on. I guess I’m a bit restless, enjoy a a challenge and dreaded having to face the constraints of a 9-5 job.
Speccles is Aussie owned and made? Very cool!
I really wanted to create a quality product that I would be proud to have people buy. I was thrilled to find we could make Speccles in Australia, without compromising on the price for our customers. It appears that the rest of the world loves an Aussie product too. I’ve had lots of comments that US kids get excited when they see how far their Speccles have travelled – I think it’s our cute Aussie stamps !
Have you always been an inventor? Have you had any weird ideas that never came to fruition?
I guess I’ve always been curious – about everything. I read mostly non fiction books…it’s amazing how you can educate yourself on just about anything, from library books. Inventions?…I once read that you should keep a plain paper notebook and when you have an idea write it down. Then brainstorm the idea in it’s entirety, scribbling flow charts, pictures, anything, until you exhaust the idea. It’s fantastic to get it out of your head and onto paper – to laugh at later! My notebook is an amusing read…Although it does contain some ideas I’d love to follow up once Speccles has achieved world domination:)
Richard Branson – he could pop Speccles on his sunnies when he did his next crazy stunt. I so admire his brand Virgin…
Good question. Speccles were created to REALLY hold glasses in place. The reason why other straps don’t work as well is simply because they apply the one size fits all approach. The fact is glasses ends come in lots of different shapes and sizes. So the one size theory results in ill fitting straps, discomfort for the wearer and no real solution at all. I thought it was time to provide the consumer with a REAL solution to the problem, not a half hearted effort. So a Speccles Starter Pack has five sizes which you can try with all the glasses you have in your home. And when you need to buy new ones, you can just reorder a Twin Pack of the right size. Simple.
Must admit it was a fluke to come up with such a catchy brand name, it popped into my head on the first day. Have had lots of comments from people who are surprised it didn’t already exist in the optical world. A couple of months ago I read that Sara Blakely (creator of Spanx) said that a brand name with a “CK” sound in it is marketing gold! So guess it was meant to be…
How you do anything, is how you do everything.
….it’s not Hugh Jackman standing there when I answer the door! I’m ever hopeful…
I talk waaaaaay too much. I am president of our school parents committee and a part time Tupperware lady too (I was a bit lonely at home once Neva started school this year!) I also love discussing ideas with people. It’s amazing how creative people can be when asked to solve a problem. They say everyone has a book inside them, I think everyone has at least one invention inside them!
Carolyn Creswell (creator of Carman’s Muesli). She not only got her product onto the supermarket shelves but into 32 countries. She is also an amazing boss, who, amongst other generosities, arranges a guy to come in and clean all her employees cars for them every fortnight because apparently a clean car makes you feel so much better (who knew!!). I love that she shares her success with the people around her.
I have come to the conclusion that you can’t help everyone – it’s too overwhelming. But it’s worth doing what you can…if a friend is sick or stressed, take them a container of home made chicken noodle soup. If there is a piece of rubbish on the ground, don’t just step over it – pick it up and bin it. If you have a great idea to help parents keep their kids glasses on, take it to the world. I believe in the ripple effect (butterfly effect) that every little effort makes a difference.
Seek out people who have been there, done that. You could go to networking events (Meetup.com) You don’t have to disclose anything about your product/design, but they’ll have ideas on website, social media, shipping etc. And they often have lots of contacts they can refer you to. Just ask, as most people appreciate having been where you are now and love to share their stories and lessons. If you are going online, I can’t reiterate how important it is to consider postage/shipping. Design your product and packaging with shipping in mind to ensure it can be delivered to the consumer in the most cost effective way possible. A pack of Speccles fits into a business sized envelope, delivered for the price of a standard letter (60c in Oz, $2.60 anywhere else in the world). It can make or break an online retailer. But most of all, know that there is nothing as fun, as satisfying nor as thrilling as seeing your “little idea” getting it’s first real sale, it’s first blogger review and seeing a facebook fans photo of their child wearing Speccles all the way over on the other side of the globe. It’s worth all the effort….and what a story to tell the grandchildren 🙂