Hi! I'm Dane Carlson, and welcome to the Business Opportunities Weblog. I've been publishing this website, by myself, and sometimes with the help of others for over twelve years now. You'll notice two things about this site right away:
When your toddler’s pants begin to droop, what do you do? Sometimes parents use a built in adjuster that makes the pants bunch up. Others may try tying loops together to make the waist tighter. Michelle Cazella invented Drapper Snappers.
The Drapper Snappers are made to be easy on parents and even easier on the kids. Instead of adjusting the waist where they bunch near the button of the pants — a potential problem for potty training kids, her unique waist adjusting band helps tighten the pants in the back. You just need to pass the Drapper Snapper through the back loops of the pants and snap them.
I recently asked Michelle a few questions about her unique product, and the inspiration behind it.
Tell us a little about Toddler Tech USA and the Dapper Snapper.
Toddler Tech USA is our own USA Children’s Products Distribution company. We formed Toddler Tech USA so that we could manage the USA distribution of Dapper Snappers as well as other mom-invented products. We are more that just a typical distribution company. We help other mamapreneurs launch their products, provide free business consultations and marketing advice, and help build brand awareness campaigns.
Dapper Snappers is a toddler belt unlike any other. Simply slip the ends through the back belt loops on any pair of pants and snap to the correct size! The Dapper Snapper makes any pair of pants with belt loops into adjustable waist pants. Extend your child’s wardrobe and save with a Dapper Snapper! It’s perfect for potty training toddlers; no bunched up fabric near the button or snap and zipper so it’s easier for little fingers to take care of business.
Dapper Snappers are:
Versatile in a wide range of colors for girls and boys
Recommended for ages 9 mo-6 yrs and One Size Fits All
Perfect for kids who are in between sizes or wearing hand-me-downs!
Convenient – no need to remove for diaper changes & doesn’t impede potty training
Made in the USA
What inspired it?
Being a mom has been the most amazing thing I’ve ever done. In February of 2005, my son Jacob was born and my life has forever been changed. He was a quick leaner and very determined, so it came as no surprise when he started to walk at 8 1/2 months old. Immediately, we realized that we had a problem. Jacob was too skinny to keep his pants up. That’s right…my son was a 9 month old thug. I bought some jeans for him, you know because jeans go with everything. All of them were just right in the length but way too big in the waist. I couldn’t see using a safety pin because he would likely poke himself with it. I didn’t want to try to take in the waist with a sewing machine because mine couldn’t handle denim. So I wasn’t left with many options. A belt was out of the question, what with all the diaper changes. How could I fuss with a belt when my toddler wouldn’t sit still for 2 seconds?
My husband noticed my frustration and asked, “If you were to do it differently, what would you do?” I began to describe to him what my needs for the perfect solution would entail. Within an hour I had created a prototype of the Dapper Snapper.
What makes your product unique?
Dapper Snappers are unique in that they were the first half-belt on the market and they provide a comfortable fit that doesn’t bother little ones. Kids completely forget that they are wearing them! They don’t get in the way of diaper changes or potty training so Dapper Snappers help moms too. Dapper Snappers are made in the USA, right here in our Port Orange, Florida manufacturing facility! They have become so popular, we sell to stores in 14 countries.
Do you have any plans to expand your product line in the near future?
We are growing every day! We’ve already started expanding our Dapper Snappers line to include Dapper Snappers for moms, mitten clips, add-on clips (for pants/skirts without belt loops), and our very own patterns. In about a month we will be announcing 2 new Big Kids belts! We are always looking for ways to meet needs in the children’s market.
Do you have any goals you’d like to accomplish in the next year or so?
My goals have changed so much in the past 3 years. The main focus I have now is the same one I had when we moved from Oregon to Florida a year and a half ago; Go BIG or Go HOME (and I don’t wanna go home)! This means that we do everything in our power to make our business work. This means that, aside from sacrificing our family and our values, we do what we have to. Sometimes it means staying up until 2 am. Sometimes this means budgetary restrictions. Believe me when I tell you that so far it has been worth it.
What are some lessons your business has taught you?
My business has taught me to see my product through other’s eyes, to delegate what I can’t do or don’t have time for, and to be patient. Not everything is as it seems.
What tips or tricks do you use to help balance your time between family and work?
I plan out my days a week at a time and stick to my schedule as best I can. If the work day is over, I don’t bring it home with me. Work will be there tomorrow.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Be good to yourself. There will be days, and nights, that your brain will be 100% focused on work and you can easily get overwhelmed with everything on your plate. That’s a good time to step back and breathe. Listen to some calming music. Take a long hot shower or bath. Get a manicure/pedicure. Go somewhere you can find an hour of peace.
Do you have any advice you’d like to offer fellow entrepreneurs who are just getting started?
1. Research, research, research. And when your done with that? Research some more. Become the expert in your field.
2. Get involved with an entrepreneur support group. You’ll need like minds to bounce ideas off and commiserate with.
3. Become social media savvy so you don’t have to pay someone else to do it for you. You know you and your product better than anyone else could.
4. Know your strengths, delegate your weaknesses.
5. Get some good rest. It’s good for your brain and for everyone else around you.