Extol Magazine

OCT-NOV 2016

Extol Magazine Celebrating Southern Indiana is a local publication that covers stories about businesses people places or events throughout the cities of New Albany Jeffersonville Clarksville Sellersburg and Louisville KY

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t's an old and familiar saying: Necessity is the mother of invention. Well, here's a local, real- life spin on that saying: Invention was the necessity of a mother. Twelve years ago, Kim Strong was that mother, with three little ones: a four-year- old daughter, two-year-old son and three-month-old toddler who still ate in a highchair. "Just going anywhere with them was burdensome," recalls the Clarksville native. "Especially figuring out how to feed the baby when we got there." Carrying a highchair with them was out of the question. Highchairs were big, bulky, heavy, difficult to manipulate, unwieldy to fold up and a headache to store. "Wouldn't it be nice," she mused to Jamye Baker, a former colleague at work, "to have something lightweight you could fold up and stick in the trunk of the car?" "Wouldn't it be nice" is the kind of thing almost all of us say in stressful moments, only to forget a half hour later. But Strong had been in sales, Baker in marketing, and they were used to setting goals and seeing them through. After some research determined that there was nothing at all like this out in the market, the pair based their new concept on those folding camp chairs people bring to soccer games and concerts. "Something portable and easy to fold," Strong says, "great for the soccer field or the beach, camping, traveling, any time you have to feed your baby outside the comfort of your own home." Twelve years later, Ciao! Baby has sold about 200,000 chairs, an "overnight sensation" that took years of actual overnights – late hours, midnight oils and both ends of the candle – to perfect. "You don't just come up with the idea of a product for kids and take it to market," says Strong. All the problems of creating a new product that actually meets a need were complicated, in this case, by the safety guidelines, regulations and restrictions required for any children's product. e idea of a converted camp chair with a tray just for baby? at simple solution was long gone. e material used had to pass a flammability test. e food tray had to meet medical-grade food-safety standards. ere I BY STEVE KAUFMAN PHOTOS BY TONY BENNETT ASTRONG INVENTION TWO LOCAL L TWO LOCAL TWO LOCAL ENTREPRENEURS ARE THE ENTREPRENEURS ARE THE E ENTREPRENEURS ARE THE CRE ATORS OF F CRE ATORS OF CIAO! BABY , THE FIRST T , THE FIRST PORTABLE HIGHCHAIR PORTABLE HIGHCHAIR PORTABLE HIGHCHAIR PORTABLE HIGHCHAIR R PORTABLE HIGHCHAIR 59

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