Whether you've lost weight, gained it, or you're somewhere in between, I'm willing to bet that you've experienced ill-fitting pants at least once in your life. Short of wearing a bulky belt or having them tailored to fit you, there isn't much that you can do. For Dana Contey the temporary fix to loose jeans was safety pins.
She'd just had her third child and she found herself wrestling with her loose fitting pants daily. She soon found that belts were too bulky and, while they did provide a temporary fix, she was often poked by the safety pins she used to tighten the waist band. Eventually she created her own solution, the Instant Button.
Tell us a little about the Instant ButtonÂ® and what inspired your product.
Instant ButtonÂ® is the original patent pending removable and reusable button that allows you to add or reduce your jeans and pants size instantly for that tailored fit, without requiring a belt or an alteration. I designed the Instant ButtonÂ® to solve the common problems that most of us have (weight gained, weight lost, in-between sizes, gapping in the back, and missing button) that can impact the waistline and therefore, the fit of a pair of pants/jeans.
The idea for Instant ButtonÂ® started after my third child. I was constantly adjusting the waistband of my favorite jeans’ because I was stuck in-between sizes. I tried using belts to secure my jeans, but it was bulky and added another layer of thickness to my waist. Then, I tried using safety pins to shrink the waistband. After months of poking my fingers and body with the pins, I knew that I was on a mission to find a solution.
How many different buttons do you currently offer? How much do they cost?
We currently have three different buttons — copper, silver, and clear rhinestone. Prices range from $13 - $15.
How does it work?
By simply moving the Instant ButtonÂ®’s placement, you get the tighter or looser fit instantly. Just insert the Instant ButtonÂ® into the desired location, and secure it with the special lock fastener. No sewing required.
How long did it take for you to bring the button from idea to final product? What was that process like?
It took me about 5 months to bring the button from idea to final product. After discovering the need to tighten my waistband without the bulkiness, I immediately browsed the net to search for any existing product and a manufacture to help create my prototype. The process was pretty lengthy. Also, we had a couple rounds of artwork designs. Finally, we were able to complete the final product.
In what ways has your business evolved since your launch in late 2008?
Since the launch of the Instant ButtonÂ® in October, 2008, the Instant ButtonÂ® has been featured on 3 national TV shows (TODAY, The View, & Martha Stewart) and other shows across the nation, various print magazines (including Cosmopolitan Portugal and Woman’s World), as well as a handful of blog sites. In addition, we had a very positive launch with QVC home shopping network. As a result from all the above, our sales catapulted 3705% in 2009 from 2008.
What are some of the goals that you still hope to accomplish?
We are a small company with a big dream. I want to focus on different marketing avenues in 2010 to better brand the Instant ButtonÂ® and get into some large retail stores. When this goal is met, I will be able to create job opportunities for those who have lost their jobs at the downturn of the economy.
What are some of the lessons your business has taught you?
One of the lessons that I’ve learned is that there are big companies out there preying on private inventors with good products to only steal their idea and create an imitation product.
I’ve also learned that Direct Response TV is the best way to market any product.
Have you always been entrepreneurial minded?
I’ve never been entrepreneurial minded but like everybody else, I’ve always wanted to run my own business so I can be my own boss. Little did I know, being my own boss, requires so much more work and time! But, I love what I do so it is all worth it.
What helps you balance your time between the business and your family? Do they help out at all with the business?
Prioritizing my time and keeping my business and family separate helps me balance my time between the business and my family. I have three beautiful children ages 9, soon to be 7, and soon to be 4 are too young to help me with my business, so the only person who really helps me is my husband who is also my business partner. Sometimes I seek help from my siblings, as well.
Do you have any tips that you'd like to offer fellow mompreneurs that are just getting started?
Believe in your product and always be passionate when talking about your product. When hiring a patent attorney, make sure you do your research and hire the best one. If you know in your heart that you have a great product, don’t share it with anyone, have it featured on any show, or take your time in marketing it. When the time is ready, you must go full force and mass market it before someone else has a chance to imitate your product.