Every time I have the privilege of talking to Jennifer Reyes, the inventor of the Sippy Straw Cleaner, I am absolutely astounded by her brilliance and tenacity. She has the most amazing ideas and unending energy and ambition. I can't wait to tell you more about her latest iPhone application that's getting huge media attention as we speak. To top it off, I just found out she is competing in an upcoming marathon in honor of her mother. She's amazing!
I am so excited about showcasing her latest invention among many to come. Don't be surprised if you see it on the shelves of a huge chain soon. Everyone is trying to get a piece of the Sippy Straw Cleaner! We feel honored to have her product on Womentorz.
Q. Was there a specific "aha" moment when you realized you had something special?
I’ve had MANY “aha” moments over the years, but never really followed through with any of them. I live in Texas, with the Texas mega-heat, and if your children leave a Sippy Straw Cup or Thermos in the hot car for more than 20 minutes… you’re guaranteed to have a “gunky” mess. I searched the online mommy message boards for answers, but never really found a full proof method. I endured countless episodes of frustration in trying to clean the curdled milk and moldy apple juice out of both my kids’ straws and spent tons of money purchasing new sippy straw cups because I wasn’t confident that I had gotten them clean enough. At my final attempt of cleaning my last straw in the house, I came up with the idea of a nylon bristle brush that was small enough to fit into those teeny straws.
Q. When did you start the process of bringing your invention to fruition?
I came up with the idea in August of 2009 and believe it or not, I was on the market by November 1st 2009. I’m blessed that all my work and countless late night plans fell into place, as I have now run across many inventors that have been working on their project for 5+ years.
Q. How do you juggle going to school, running a business with your husband, releasing an iphone application (isweat2thebeat – now launched) getting an invention to market and most importantly children?
I did dress up as Wonder Woman for Halloween with the rest of my Super Hero family this year, but I no way, in any shape or form, could claim to be her in everyday life. I would like to say everything runs smoothly every day, but I think every mother out there knows it just doesn’t happen that way. My first priority, always, is my family. Sometimes I have to juggle and reschedule the rest to make sure of it, but without the support of my family, there is really nothing else to work for. I stay home with my daughter during the day while my son is at preschool, and fortunately they are great about bedtime being 7:30pm. Come nighttime, that’s my green light to go …go … go and more times than not, I’m up until the wee hours of the morning trying to get all my “to-do” lists completed.
Q. What has been your biggest challenge in getting your product to market?
Being a stay at home mom, when it came to PR and marketing, I felt HUGE limitations. Moms and parents were my ideal customers, but initially sitting in my jammies on my computer trying to get my product name out there was difficult. Once I jumped on the “social media” train of Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger mommy reviews and giveaways my business really launched and we’ve been full steam ahead ever since.
Q. What or who motivates you through those challenging moments?
I have to cheat and say three people, both my mom AND dad, and all the rest of the parents with young kids out there. I lost my mother this year on Valentines Day before I ever started this venture. I know, without a doubt that she is watching over me, and super proud of how far I’ve come this year. As for my father, he’s my silent partner in crime during this invention process, and I couldn’t have gotten this far without him. He’s my go to guy for legal questions, to financial backing, and now, being my primary shipper… we’ve developed a fantastic working AND father daughter relationship. Finally, it keeps me motivated to know that if I can save some mommy or daddy the frustration of trying to clean one of those “icky” straws… it’s totally worth it!
Q. If you had a day to spend in any way you choose how would you spend it?
If it were even the slightest bit possible, I would spend the entire day with my mom in heaven. Until then, I get to relive the most amazing memories of her everyday!
Q. Do you have a hidden talent?
Oh gosh, I can’t believe I’m even going to admit this! Since I was a kid, I have been able to swallow my tongue. I know, ridiculous, but hey, it could have landed me a spot on Jay Leno’s stupid human tricks skit!