And I did! I met Sally, the inventor of My Car Step, and I was really impressed by her, and by My Car Step itself. So much so, that I'd like to introduce her to you. Sally kindly agreed to answer my questions, and despite me not really rivalling Jeremy Paxman in the interviewing stakes, here's what she had to say...
How did you come up with the idea for My Car Step?
My little girl Jessica is now 4, but when she was 18 months old she started to get agitated and upset before every car journey. She wanted to climb into her car seat herself but physically couldn't do it because she wasn't big enough to reach the seat. So either myself or my husband tried lifting her in, often with her kicking and screaming or crying, out of frustration. This kept getting worse rather than better and every car journey was very stressful to say the least.
I started to look on the internet for a solution – some sort of step that Jessica could use to climb into the car seat herself. With no luck finding a product, I started using a foot stool. However it kept getting in the way, taking up space in the footwell – plus of course it wasn't secure, wobbling precariously when Jessica tried to use it. So I had what only can be described as a 'brain wave'.
When Jessica first started using the prototype, she got super excited and felt really independent and grown up, plus of course we could all enjoy heading out in the car without anxiety of an impending tantrum. The problems started again when I had to take MY CAR STEP out of the car (while applying for a patent), Jessica would have a tantrum because she wanted 'MY CAR STEP' back in the car again.
Initially I was going to use MY CAR STEP just to help me, but then I noticed other people struggling to get their young children into their car seats – from pregnant woman who couldn't lift and twist, to 3 door cars, to grandparents who couldn't lift and twist. After researching back pain and discovering that most back problems occur from lifting and twisting children, I thought lets see what the general public think about MY CAR STEP, and I was really pleased and pleasantly surprised with the outcome.
|My Car Step, in use|
What's been the biggest challenge so far?
Because I have no experience in running a business, the hardest part for me has been trying to get it off the ground. Especially knowing how to approach the right people and how to communicate with them. In my profession as a teaching assistant, I know what I'm talking about, and am confident in speaking about it, but this is completely out of my comfort zone, so it's been finding that confidence to approach people.
And what's been the best thing that's happened in the My Car Step journey?
All the fantastic feedback that I've had from the public has been the best thing so far and makes it all worthwhile. There was one occasion that has stuck in my mind over others though, and that was when I had the safety test results back. Finding out that MY CAR STEP had passed all the relevant testing was a relief and a moment of celebration.
Was this your first "big invention", or are you a really clever person with great ideas springing out all the time?
I'm far from creative and inventive! But because this was causing me a problem I came up with a solution, so this has been my first big invention. But trust me — if I can do it, then so can anybody.
What advice would you give someone else starting out in their own business?
There'll be a lot of struggles, ups and downs, but if you believe in your product and business then stick with it. Don't be afraid to ask people for help, and do your research!
Is there anyone in business you'd love to be seen as "The New ..."?
Honestly as long as people like and enjoy using the product, that is good enough for me. I want to be as successful as I can and grow the business the best way I can. I would love to be the next Mandy Habberman or Cara Sayer (snoozeshade) — to see what these women/mums have done with their product in the space of time that they've achieved it, is honestly remarkable.
|My Car Step|
My Car Step is available to buy online through the My Car Step website.
I'd like to say a massive thank you to Sally for agreeing to talk to me, and a big apology for me being so slow to get my act together. I wish her lots & lots of luck with the business, and I can't wait to see what the future holds.
Disclosure. I have not received or sought payment or products in return for this post. I simply believe that this is a product and business worth promoting, and I am happy to do so free of charge.