Monday, August 31, 2009

A Frivolous Moment

By Jen Cannon

It must be something that has become engrained in our DNA over the centuries, this love of shoes. What I am speaking of is a love of many, many shoes…a love so deep mere words cannot express it. From your classic Chuck Taylor to a Jimmy Choo sling back pump (a girl can dream can’t she?) I love them all! There is one shoemaker in particular though who has stolen my heart. His name? Donald J. Pliner. When I walk through the shoe department of Macy’s at the King of Prussia Mall, I can barely contain my excitement when I reach the DJP display table. On a recent trip with my visiting, and very sensible auntie, I spied a red (a bit muted, not garish) wedge loafer with a small buckle on the side. I held my breath as I picked up the shoe and turned it over…the numbers 275 (with a dollar sign in front) were staring back at me. I tell myself these are a little out of my price range at the moment. Upon further examination of this red shoe (a thing of beauty and perfection) I see stamped into the heel in pretty gold lettering, “Made in the Mountains of Italy.” While I appreciate the fact that Mr. Pliner is not having his shoes manufactured in a sweatshop somewhere, and I do appreciate good Italian leather, I am wondering why not the mountains of California or Washington (they have some big ones) or the Catskills or Adirondacks? Donald opened his first store (Pappagallo) in Beverly Hills the year I was born for Pete’s sake! (if you want to know what year that was you have to look it up yourself – hint: I’m no spring chicken honey). Maybe the shoes would be cheaper to manufacture somewhere in the good ol’ USA and thus have a slightly smaller price tag? (big sigh) I guess the reality is that for some of us, seeing that “Made in the Mountains of Italy” stamp just makes the shoes all the more special. Okay, so maybe I’m the only one. I am a sucker for that kind of thing. For now I will trust that DJ knows what he’s doing with this whole shoe thing. I will wait patiently until my entrepreneurial dreams are realized and I can finally make all of my shoe fantasies come true!
A note: I can only imagine what you must be thinking at this point. Please realize that I am not nearly as materialistic as this article may portray and can prove it with a brief tour of my closet. I just really like shoes A LOT!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Womentorz Selects The Spellman Company for Launching Success

We are so excited about the selection of The Spellman Company as our public relations firm. They will be truly instrumental in letting the public know both locally and nationally about Womentorz and the amazing talent that can be found on the site.

The Spellman Company has helped a bevy of the nation's leading companies — and some of Seattle's hottest entrepreneurs — build their brands and create buzz. A clever campaign, an appearance on Oprah, coverage in the New York Times or The Robb Report, a show-stopping event — these are just some of the tools used by The Spellman Company to launch new companies and products. Founded in 1995 by Kat Spellman, this boutique lifestyle marketing firm has continued to grow by knowing the Pacific Northwest market inside and out and by offering clients access to national contacts and expertise gained over decades. Read the latest news on their blog or visit their website discover more.

The Spellman Company will be an amazing compliment to Womentorz and an invaluable partner in bringing success to the launching of the website.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Inventor Gene

I come from a family of inventors, much of which I had no knowledge of until recent years. When I call my father, Steve Jensen, Electromagnetic Engineer, HAM Radio buff (W6RHM) and all around genius to tell him about my latest idea, he tells me I must have gotten the "inventor gene". He has invented many electronic things, most of which are beyond my mental grasp, however one of his most notable inventions is something many of us come in contact with on a daily basis. On August 21, 1973, in North Hollywood, CA my dad invented the Electronic Ballast for flourescent light bulbs, Patent 3,754,160. The ballast keeps the bulbs from getting hot. Unfortunately for Pops, who was working at the time for a company called "Radiant Industries", they paid him exactly $100 and while he holds the patent, they own the rights to it. Yikes!

The next time you take a ride on a commercial airplane (fly SWA please!) note the two little thingymabobs (technical term) sticking out off the outer edge of each wing. These are called P-Static Precipitators and they keep static energy from building up on the outside of the airplane. The "ropes" were invented by my great grandfather, John Christian Jensen in 1937 under a grant from Curtiss Wright Corporation. I have attached a link to an article he wrote regarding some of his research on lightning. My father has a copy of his most famous "Ball Lightning" photos that the article refers to.,9171,744022,00.html

Maybe this is why I feel a passionate need to keep the inventing legacy of the Jensen family alive!

Please do tell about any of the other inventors past or present in your family!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tune Out, Tune In

Just returned from a week-long family vacation to Cape Cod, "The Cape" as the regulars refer to it. I want to be a regular! We were there for seven days, went to a different beach almost every day, some with waves, some not, ate some of the best seafood I've ever had and, best of all, watched our daughters (ages 6 and 4) make some wonderful sand-filled memories with their cousin. There was sunshine and a lot more humidity than I would have liked. Bill was hyped, but passed right on by providing surfers, who came from near and far, some "epic" waves. On the day that we thought we needed a break from the beach there was Candle Pin bowling, which we had never heard of before - apparently it's a Canadian thing - challenging indeed. We walked in the doors and stepped back in time it seemed. Even the owner, a slight man with long spindly fingers and grease embedded under his nails from the daily tinkering and repairing that goes on in his perfectly maintained alley, ball cap all askew on his head and teeth which have not discovered the wonders of a Crest whitening strip, looked like something out of central casting. There was plenty of ice cream to be had, along with miniature golf, a flea market and a train ride we didn't quite make.

Now let me tell you what there was not: At the house we shared with my brother-in-law for the week, which was what I will call "rustic/eclectic" there was no television, no phone, no cell reception and no computer! What was a totally technologically connected girl to do?? How would I know whether or not that e-mail from the Legal Department at Milojo finally came through? Don't worry, not going to beat that proverbial dead horse here (wink, wink). The sense of relief I felt as I could almost hear the actual sound of my brain winding down was incredible! Very calming and refreshing indeed. Now, how to find a way to bottle that calm upon our return...hmm.

It is no wonder we are a nation with so many depressed, anxious, stressed out people. We've got so much information at our fingertips and in our faces these days, most of it utter nonsense and unnecessary blather. Did you know that you can now enlist the services of a therapist who specializes in helping people with their overwhelming feelings of guilt for not doing all they can to recycle and go green?...alert -brain fart ahead - my brother-in-law, who I do not necessarily share the views of, sports a bumper sticker on his Jeep that says "Go Green, Go Nuclear"...sorry for that digression, where was I? And if you're wondering, yes, I do try to "reduce, reuse, recycle" as much as possible.

I guess the point I am trying to make here is that, while technology is incredibly fast and efficient, I am starting to liken it to that glass of wine or box of favorite cookies - it is best taken in moderation. I took the first baby steps this morning and told myself "Make coffee. Do not check your three e-mail accounts. Do not look at the pretty pictures (i.e., mindless b.s.) on Perez Hilton. Do not go to the Product X blog. Do not check Facebook to see what my 124 friends are up to. Go straight to Womentorz and post something NOW"! See? It totally worked! Thank God I don't Twitter!

Sometimes it's good to slow down and simplify things a, time for another cup of Dunkin' Donuts deliciousness and it's off to the housewife races!

Please feel free to share your thoughts...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Being on Shark Tank

When I decided to go to the casting call for Kelly Ripa's Women Inventors show in Chicago I was probably the most nervous and excited I've ever been about anything in my entire life. I didn't have very much time to prepare for the event as there was only a week to plan everything from the time I found out about the search to the actual casting call. I think in a way the fact that I didn't have a lot of time to worry and think about the event was a blessing.

On the actual day of the casting call everything seemed surreal. I was just going through the motions to get to the location and set everything up. I didn't eat breakfast because I was afraid it might come back up during the off chance I might meet Kelly. The first person I met that morning was Jen Cannon who as a breath of fresh air. She was so positive and enthusiastic and that definitely helped ease my nervous energy.

Throught the audition process I was amazed at how many of the women came together to support each other. Sure there were the many that were competitive and didn't want a thing to do with the women next to them, but there were still quite a few that were cheerleaders for their fellow inventors. If it wasn't for those women I really don't think I would have made it through the process without having to quickly find a change of clothes at the end.

Because of my experience of really needing and relying on these women to get me through my audtion process I am absolutely in awe of the entrepreneurs that get on Shark Tank and present their idea. The process would be so different, and that group of cheerleaders wouldn't be standing with you prior to your big moment. I am so thankful for having met the women that I did and for still having them in my life so we can still be each others support system.

I was contacted by a very talented inventor who was actually looking for my invention because they had read about it on the internet and she thought I should apply to be on the show. After watching another episode of Shark Tank last night I couldn't even imagine getting enough courage to get up infront of the panel and demonstrate my idea. I really have to give the presenters lucky enough to be on Shark Tank props for having such courage even if their product doesn't find funding. I would love to hear about your experience applying or even presenting on Shark Tank. Maybe you know someone who has been on the show.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Juggling Being a Mom and Inventor

As the summer season comes to a close I find myself dreaming about how easy things will be once school begins. Even though the mornings are hectic getting everything and everyone together for school, the calm after the storm is quite productive and relaxing. I can't even imagine how much more I will be able to accomplish once both kids are in school.

I love time with my children and feel guilty for enjoying the peace and quiet when they are away, but promoting my invention and other businesses is challenging with screaming voices in the background and the never ending requests. My house has three floors with the bottom floor being an amazing office with enough space for three work stations and it's own entrance....the whole nine yards, but I can usually be found upstairs on the couch in the family room with my laptop, cup of coffee amongst my very energetic children and Wonderpets on the TV.

I have a wonderful nanny/babysitting service that I can call if I have a tight deadline on a project, but they are expensive and times are tough. With my husband's full-time job a bit unstable due to the economy, I feel even more pressure to save money while still getting my other business endeavors launched and stable. My number one goal is for us to be completely financially independent so we're in control of our schedules and our future.

It's also tough for me to have someone else taking care of my children. There's a reason I had kids and I love being a mom. I'm just thankful I can work from home and be a presence even if I'm not giving as much attention as I would like. It also feels good to be contributing to our financial future and have control over our destiny. Though it's a scary prospect, it's exciting at the same time.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Be the First to Sell on Womentorz

Womentorz is getting even closer to being launched. I'm so excited to be starting the public relations process. I have internviewed a couple of firms and was very impressed with David & Sam PR in Arizona and The Spellman Company here locally in the northwest. I plan on using both of them for different phases of my businesses. I feel that The Spellman Company is a good fit at this time in the launching of the website with their contacts and experience with women owned businesses.

This leads to the next exciting phase of womentorz. I'm looking for a couple of inventions to post on the website for the beta stage of testing the site out. There is no fee until the site is actually launched. All I need is a short profile written about you (1 to 2 paragraphs) with optional photo, various photos of your invention and/or video demonstration, detailed description of your invention, city state and zip code as well as how much you would like to see your invention for. You have no obligation to keep your invention on womentorz once it is launched if you change your mind. You can send your inventions to our new e-mail address: Once the site is launched, members will have direct access for posting and updating profiles and product descriptions. Be the first to be part of this exciting opportunity.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Womentorz on Facebook

Womentorz is using all forms of networking and can now be found on facebook. If you're signed up with facebook be sure to become a fan. If you're not signed up with facebook now is a great time to become a member. I personally put it off until I realized what a great networking tool it can be. The fan base if growing everyday and it's a great place to get in touch with other fellow women inventors in another social forum.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New Website Design

I'm so excited to unveil the overall design and feel for the upcoming womentorz website. I have included the homepage, shopping page as well as the individual product page with inventor bio. Right now there just text filling space, so there's no written content at this point.....just graphics.

I have been extremely impressed with the quality of work and professionalism I have received from Blue Sky Projects. My formal background is in graphic design, but I'm not a web developer and have no interest in learning HTML. They were able to implement my design elements creating a cohesive and user friendly website.

Over the next couple of weeks my web developer will be actually building the site and testing all of the elements. I look forward to hearing your feedback on the site and any suggestions on what resources you would like available to members.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Women and Networking

When graduating from college and entering the working world I remember hearing the common phrase, “It’s who you know, not what you know.” At the time it just didn’t make sense to me because then what was the point in going to college and getting a good education if you’re going to have a tough time finding a job or being successful. Of course getting a good education is important, but I didn’t go to a school that emphasized networking and there wasn’t that loyalty you sense among alumni that “help” each other out after graduation.

The whole process of finding that first golden job being green to the professional world was challenging and definitely didn’t come easy. With hard work, determination and eventually learning the art of networking I was able to land my first job at a small advertising, marketing and design firm in the heart of downtown Seattle. It was one of the most profound and humbling experiences I’ve ever had. I went from being the daughter of a doctor and never really having to worry about money to living on $300 a month total spending money for food, clothes and entertainment……but I was on my own and doing it without my parent’s help. It was completely liberating and has taught me that you can live within your means and adjust your spending habits when you need to. Of course my salary grew over the years of working at the firm, but it was always tight and taught me a great deal in regards to money management that I’ve implemented in both my professional and personal life.

While working at this firm I was able to further explore how important networking is and how it relates to the growth of your business. Attending the right events and having memberships where you’re able to meet the right people was imperative to the success of your business. This is something that I have taken with me in all areas of my life and has been instrumental to the success of the three businesses I run from home while juggling two children.

I’m still awe struck in how powerful of tool networking can be. It’s amazing how when you are part of a group of people with a common goal and dream you can do amazing things. My hope is that this network of women inventors can become the driving force in showing the world how talented and creative women can be. With a strong network and a place to sell our inventions directly to the consumer there’s no limit to the amount of success we can all have.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Attending Milojo's Women Inventor Casting Call

Things are still progressing well with womentorz and I feel extremely confident with the direction and structure of the site. I can't wait to showcase the more finalized design of the homepage to everyone next week. I have decided to be very competitive with Amazon instead of partnering with them. Women inventors will be making a much better investment selling their product on womentorz. As you've seen through networking and blogging, when women come together and support each other we are a force to be reckoned with.

Earlier this week I had the great privilege of chatting with Lori Casciani and Jen Cannon, fellow women inventors I met at the Milojo/TLC casting call in Chicago and contributors to the blog. The feeling of being mislead is shared by us all; I don't think that Milojo and the people running the casting call realize how much time and INVESTMENT we all made just to get there. We're not just showing up and singing a song.....singing doesn't require a patent attorney or a working prototype. Not to mention the blood, sweat and tears we have all experienced going through the invention process. I'm probably over dramatizing the latter part a bit, but I wouldn't be a woman without a little drama. There's much more time involved and emotionally and financially invested than most non-inventors can understand. I think most of us can handle being told that we're just not a good fit for the show. There were so many talented women who applied for the show and there was literally a 1% chance of being chosen. A simple thank you and acknowledgement of appreciation would have been nice. The individuals who were chosen to move on were probably treated better, but the many who aren't moving on deserve a letter or update on where things are at. I guess this is show business and I should not be so naive and sensitive right?

Just the fact that we had the courage and ambition to audition for the show is testament to our character and drive. I truly feel that I went to the casting call to see the need for a way that women can get their inventions directly to the consumer and make the most profit possible. We all deserve to be successful and my ultimate objective is to get us there.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Intellectual Property

I seem to learn something new everyday in the invention process and what works best for me. We all need to do what benefits each of our individual situations ....whether you're working full time and don't have a lot of time to get your product to market and need to pay someone to help you, or you have the time and ability to make your invention from home, this is your intellectual property. I keep struggling and questioning my ability and what it comes down to is I need to believe that I can make my invention happen if I will it to. I feel that is not only an avenue for other women inventors to get their product to market, but a place that will allow me to get my own invention directly to the consumer.

No matter whether you're signing a contract from Milojo or working with someone to get your product to market, your invention is your invention and you need to protect yourself. Be very careful about signing contracts/agreements because it can come back to haunt you. I'm dealing with this on my own invention and need to keep telling myself that this was and is my project that I've invested a great deal into and I have control on what direction I take my invention.

We all need to believe in ourselves and our ability. The inventor showcases are testament to how much talent is out there! Please let me know about "inventor beware" situations so I can post them as a feature article. We all need to look out for each other!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Visit Product X Blog For Milojo Information

OK women inventors who attended the casting call for Milojo/Kelly Ripa....Tracy's blog at Product X has some VERY, VERY interesting information.

If you don't follow her blog you really should. It's extremely informative and entertaining! She has some huge news that she has posted today.

I really hope someone from our network of women inventors gets on the show to give all of us who are waiting something to live vicariously through. Right now I can't tell if it's a good or bad thing to get on the show, but it's all very interesting. I thank Tracy for keeping everyone in the loop.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Inventor Showcase - Heelskinz

I had the pleasure of meeting Terri Andrews last week over the Internet and I was very impressed with her ambitiousness and creativity. She has invested a lot of time and money in her invention called Heelskinz. She is an inventor at heart and will be coming out with a new invention shortly which I'm sure I will be showcasing as well. Please visit her website at
Here is her bio and production information:

Terri Andrews
I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri and moved to Dallas, TX where I have resided since 1985. I have one grown son who is Ex-Navy and living in Atlanta, GA . I have spent most of my professional career as assistant to Top Level Executives. My entrepreneurial spirit, creative mind, and love for shoes is how HEELSKINZ was born. When not working, I enjoy many activities including fulfilling my "Bucket List" which includes traveling to many places in the world. I enjoy events with my wine group, my girlfriends, traveling and meeting new people through networking. I am most comfortable on the beach of a tropical island, with a Margarita, people watching, and marveling at God's handiwork.

HEELSKINZ™ was born out of necessity. After throwing away countless pairs of High Heel shoes because the right driving shoe was forever being damaged or destroyed, Terri Andrews began thinking of a way to solve that problem. The project began in early 2007 and after over a year of design trial and error, the perfect combination of usefulness along with style was created.

Unique Qualities:
Oh No! Not ANOTHER scuffed heel from my valuable shoe collection!!” Shoe Industry is a billion dollar business. Women spend thousands of dollars on shoes! PROTECT THEM NOW WITH HEELSKINZ™ HEELSKINZ™ is the fashionable way to protect the heel on your favorite pumps! HEELSKINZ™ easily slips on and off to guard against a torn and scuffed heel when driving your car. Use the handy, elegant pouch to keep a HEELSKINZ™ in your purse or glove box and prevent another scuff mark! You might even want to keep it on for that Unique and Sophisticated look (you Diva Fashionista you)! HEELSKINZ™ comes from the mind and imagination of Terri Andrews. There is nothing like HEELSKINZ™ on the market today. The need to protect her beautiful Stilettos and Boots along with a sense of fashion created HEELSKINZ™

Would like you to know:
This product is not only fashionable, but it is very cost effective. The money and frustration saved at not having to replace a pair of shoes because of damage from driving your car pays for the cost of the product 100 times over. HEELSKINZ™ comes in many colors to coordinate with just about any outfit. You can wear HEELSKINZ™ for driving or keep it on as a fashion accessory.

Who can benefit most:
Heelskinz can benefit any woman who is tired of having to throw away and replace their favorite pair of high heels because the heel on the right shoe is scuffed or damaged due to friction of the floor board in your car that wears the back down.