There is something so powerful and motivating about meeting and talking with people who are on a similar journey to yours, whether it be parenthood, learning a new hobby, or entrepreneurship.
In March, we were honored to be selected to present HaloVino in the Inventor’s Corner at the International Home & Houseware Show. This show is HUGE! According to IHA, this show is “the 81-year-old voice of the housewares industry, which accounted for (US)$364.2 billion at retail worldwide in 2017.”
Some exhibitors spend thousands, maybe millions, building small temporary cities for this 5 day show. I (and our company bank account) were grateful to only have to fill and decorate a 5x10ft booth. I mean, where does one go to learn how to design a tradeshow booth???
The Inventor’s Corner, is hardly a “corner”. It consists of multiple rows of dozens of inventors debuting new products to the market. In earshot, there is a stage where topics and challenges important to inventors and startups are in constant rotation with multiple and diverse panels of industry experts, some who even started in the IHA Inventor’s Corner. The energy of innovation is palpable!
We made so many contacts and, yes, even made sales! It was the first time I fully grasped the power (and potential revenue behind Big Retail. Up until now, HaloVino has primarily focused on venues and events, but this was our first serious (and super fun!) attempt at breaking into retail. We were thrilled the response and look forward to see where it might go!
Sales are, of course, amazing, but the wisdom and contacts I garnered from my fellow inventors and startups over the 5 days was priceless… and energizing! When you realize you aren’t the only one who feels like they are constantly on a treadmill or playing a game of Whack-a-Mole, you find comfort and motivation in that. I also learned a lot of “tricks” and “shortcuts” for our next big sale or tradeshow.
We were surrounded by other talented female inventors creating everything from an egg peeler to sleep masks. The good news is that the number of female patent holders has increased fivefold from 1977 to 2016. The disappointing news is that, as of 2018, only 10% of patent holders are women. According to USA Today, “this disparity is due in part to the the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office being more likely to reject patents with women as sole applicants.” Ugh. Seriously?
And yet, women persist. HaloVino is helping improve those disappointing stats. We hold one domestic utility patent and dozens of international design patents, and we are hopeful one of our new inventions that’s bound to disrupt the landscape for casual wine drinking (again) will be patented this year.
I look forward to more trade shows where I can meet more female inventors and entrepreneurs. I also look forward to inspiring a new generation of female inventors. After all, women hold 50% of all half of doctoral degrees in science and engineering! My 8 year old daughter already says she wants to be an inventor when she grows up. Mission accomplished!
If you have a favorite retail store where you would like to see HaloVino, PLEASE let us know! Thank you for helping us get this far!