Innovative Woman Jody Harris

Innovative Woman of the Week, Jody Harris, ZippedMeMeet Innovative Woman Jody Harris, Inventor and founder of ZippedMe.

1. How/why did you begin your business?
I began my business out of personal need. After staying in a hotel for months because of traveling for work, I discovered it was very frustrating to zip my dress that zipped in the back. I always had my spouse or my kids to zip me but now I was alone and aggravated because I couldn’t get zipped. Out of frustration, while I was staying at the hotels, I would call the concierge or go out in the hall and wait for someone to zip me. Typically, the person who rescued me from my frustration and zipped me up was a man. Well needless to say, that didn’t sit well with my spouse or my children when they visualized a strange man zipping up my dress. Therefore, I began searching the Internet and several stores for a product that could assist me but I came to the conclusion that there was not a product that met my needs. So one day before I left on another trip, my kids said, “Mom why don’t you invent something to get your dress zipped.” A light bulb went off in my brain and a few years later after a lot of trial and error the ZippedMe was invented.

2. What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
When I started my business, I thought I had invented the best product in the world because it solved a problem which in return made someone’s life easier. However, after a couple of shows, I realized my potential clients either loved it or didn’t want it because they had children or a husband or a significant other at home who would zip them. I have to be honest and say I was devastated that someone didn’t want it. I thought what have I done? I have invested cold hard cash, a lot of time and energy into this product and no one wants it however, I was forgetting about all the other women and men who loved it. Well after a few sleepless nights, tears and soul searching…so basically a pity party, I put on my big girl panties and went to work meeting this challenge head on because I too had someone at home who zipped me but I still needed my ZippedMe product because someone wasn’t always around to zip me. Therefore, I began to ask my potential clients, where they worked, what were their hobbies, where they attended church and like a lightning bolt hitting a tree an epitome began to appear with my potential clients. They would discuss how they had to attend a meeting and felt stranded by their dress choice because no one was around to zip them. Or how they were dressing for church or a wedding and their kids, spouse or significant other was out of town or addressing other issues in the house and again they were stranded and frustrated because they couldn’t get zipped. Only after engaging my clients to talk about what would make their life easier, did I feel a sense of relief and said “Yes, I invented something that everyone needs. “

3. How do you define SUCCESS?
I don’t define success by the amount of money in my checking account. Don’t get me wrong, money is needed to run a successful business but I define success by seeing my product as a solution to someone’s problem. I love this quote by legendary basketball coach John Wooden, “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.” Success doesn’t happen overnight, it comes after a lot of perspiration and many failures. My advice to anyone starting a new business would be “don’t give up; it will not happen overnight. Listen, learn and if needed implement constructive ideas into your product to make it better”. If you live by these simple rules, then will you see your dream become reality,

4. If there was one thing you wish you knew before you began your business, what would that be?
I wish someone would have told me that I would be spending most of my time on marketing, selling and strategizing on how to run my business and making it profitable. Because at the end of the day, all I want to do is invent products to solve problems. After I stopped fighting with reality which included kicking the dirt and saying words that I’m sure my mother would have washed my mouth out with soap, I stopped resisting, relaxed and learned business patience. Learning business patience helped me to visualize my business as an infant. Just as it takes time for an infant to mature, it will take time for my business to mature therefore, I must nurture it every day.

5. What makes you an innovative woman?
First, let me mention as an innovative woman you will work long hard hours and have constant pressure to perform. Since I work full-time my time is limited however, I’m also an entrepreneur and at the end of the day all I want to do is solve problems. My niche appears to be simplifying processes and creating tools or accessories that make real life a little easier. So you have asked what makes me an innovative woman, I would say I work hard every day and I remember tomorrow is a new day. Therefore, if I can say one encouraging statement to you it would be “Never give up!”.

To find out more about Jody and Zipped Me, visit www.zippedme.com or connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

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