- Why do moms make such great entrepreneurs – and taking that a step further – being great inventors?
- How do moms turn an idea into a reality? Do they need to get their idea patented? Do they create a website?
- What are the options for financing and invention or a great idea?
- Is crowdfunding a viable option to everyone, or just for those with products?
- What are the best methods for busy moms to juggle entrepreneurship and family life?
Mina Yoo is an entrepreneur who became an inventor by following through on an idea she had while training to summit Mount Rainier near Seattle, four months after giving birth to her first child. Both of these adventures – climbing and having a kid — required more hands than she had, so she reinvented the carabiner and developed a modified version featuring a clip and a rotating, folding hook. She called this the Qlipter.
After a two-year design, engineering and manufacturing process (with no prior knowledge in any of those fields), Mina finally funded and brought her idea to market via a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign – 1730 backers blew past her goal of raising $20,000 to ultimately raise more than $78,000 in 30 days, and setting her up for success in selling via wholesale. The Qlipter soon became available at major retailers, such as REI, and was nicknamed a “superhero” gadget by Outdoors NW magazine given its 5-in-1 functionality. The media love was strong: Seattle magazine said, “The life hacks are endless with this one.” There was more great press from Real Simple, Livestrong.com, Awesomer, and more.
Two years later, Mina improved upon her original invention with the Qliplet, a slightly smaller, sleeker version with enhanced functionality and a larger variety of colors, and funded it via Indiegogo, where she met her original goal within three days of launch and ended with nearly 700 percent in total funding and pre-sales. Mina is currently developing an energy harvesting to add to her line of active lifestyle products.
Mina is working on a book tentatively titled Be a Mother of Invention: How to Take an Idea from a Cocktail Napkin to a Killer Product, a sassy, savvy, entertaining how-to guide specifically for busy moms who may think they do not have the time or resources to take action on their product idea. Mina aims to guide them through the do’s and don’ts of inventing and allow them to learn from and avoid the mistakes she made during her own process.
Mina received her BA in Sociology from Brown University and her dual PhD in Business and Sociology from the University of Michigan, earning globally the Best Dissertation Award in her field, as well as awards from the National Science Foundation and the Ewing G. Kauffman Foundation for her work on social networks and entrepreneurship.
Prior to founding Lulabop, Mina worked as a professor at the University of Washington Foster School of Business and as Visiting Faculty Fellow at Stanford University. During her career as an academic, she taught Entrepreneurship, Organizational Behavior and Corporate Strategy to executives, doctoral students, MBA students and undergraduates, while researching entrepreneurship, social networks and economic development. Mina was also Co-founder/COO to a start-up currency hedge fund and Co-founder/CEO to All Things Wishful LLC, an alternative gift registry (currently re-started by co-founder).