Growing upwith Sand and Surf
I grew up in the sand and surf of beautiful St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Eastern Caribbean. Life was very simple then. And as a preteen, my mother insisted that we learn basic sewing and hand embroidery. For recreation, we had the sand, sea, sun, and the local library. We had no iPads, iPhones, video games, or social media. Most girls learned crafts at a very early age.
We had no large retail stores, so most families had seamstresses (for ladies) and tailors (for men), who made the family’s clothing.
My family had two great seamstresses. One lady made more formal wear, the other, much younger lady, made the fun and fancy wear.
A Budding Designer – Teen Years
At fourteen, I realized that I would have more clothes if we did not have to pay the seamstresses. I bargained with my mother to allow me to make my own clothes, she relented but limited my creativity to home and play clothing only.
I basically sewed free hand since I had no access to patterns, or created my own patterns out of newspapers. My Mom was right in initially limiting me to home and play clothes since there was much trial and error.
I finally got the hang of things; and at 16, I made lined bridesmaid dresses for myself and my sister, Sylvia. But I didn’t stop there. I began making mini skirts for my classmates and friends who actually paide me! And thus was my introduction to entrepreneurship.
The Need Arises – Career & Travel Years
Fast forward years later, I am living in the USA, working for IBM, and traveling globally. I had the problem that all female travelers have – dirty pants hems from dragging on the ground. But having no other solution, once I returned home from a trip, I would spray and clean the hems with a mixture of vinegar and water as the rest of the garment was usually clean.
I struggled with this problem for decades.
What to do?
All of my entrepreneurial readings said “find a persistent problem and solve it.” Well, I had found the problem, I lived it, now.. how do I solve it? I knew the basic structure that was the solution, but had no idea how to hold it in place.
My Light Bulb Moment!
Then, I received a gift from my sister Sherry-Ann. It was a folded bookmark that had magnets at either end. Sorry, Sherry-Ann, but I hated to use it. One night as I was reading my Bible, I wondered why I was still using this bookmark. Then, I had an “aha!” moment. It struck me that I could solve the pants hem problem with the use of magnets. Klip’em as we now know it was beginning to take form.
I was not the only Sufferer
Then I heard my sister Sylvia complaining about the bathroom at her job, and that she needed a solution to her pants hem dragging on the dirty floor. Ta da! Klip’em to the rescue!
I quickly made a prototype and asked Sylvia to test it out. She tried it and loved it!