Meet A Mom: The Inventors of Unbuckleme
This mother/daughter duo invented a product to make it easier to get your kiddos in and out of their carseats! UnbuckleMe is genius, you guys, and a must have, specifically for grandparents who have a hard time!
Barbara is a Licensed and Registered Occupational Therapist, who has experience adapting equipment for patients with disabilities of the hand.
After becoming a new grandmother in 2015, she began to help her daughter, Becca, with childcare when Becca returned to work. But she quickly realized that because of arthritis in her thumb, she was unable to push the button of the car seat. As a result, she avoided taking her granddaughter out of the house, which was getting dull for both of them.
She knew there had to be a way to feel more confident and comfortable taking her granddaughter out in the car, so she invented a solution. She used thermoplastic, splint-making material to begin constructing prototypes. When she finally arrived at her favorite design, she happily began to use it on a weekly basis with her granddaughter.
Becca is a working mom in the corporate world, and recognized a broader market opportunity for Barbara’s invention. They have teamed up, and Becca is managing the business side of UnbuckleMe. The product is patent pending, and they spent a full year navigating the journey from prototype to manufacturing.
They are incredibly grateful for all of the encouragement and support they received while working to bring their product to market. UnbuckleMe was successfully funded through Kickstarter in early 2017, and is currently sold in hundreds of retail stores across the US, Canada and a growing number of international locations. It is also available at buybuyBABY and Amazon. Follow UnbuckleMe on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more exciting updates!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in Houston?
Born in Houston, lived here for 18 years until college. Went to Vanderbilt University, then moved to NYC for almost 8 years. Moved back to Houston in 2014 and have been here about 4 years.
Child(ren) and Age(s)?
Two girls. Eve is 2.5 and Hadley is 10 months.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
In high school I worked as a sales associate at Anthropologie in Highland Village. I still love that store!
Favorite local things to do in the Houston area?
We love visiting the West U pool as much as we can in the summer. We love parks—Weir Park, Levy Park, Firetruck Park. We also love the Children’s Museum and the Zoo.
Little Matt’s is a favorite, of course. We also love Mia’s!
What is your go-to activity for yourself for pampering or for fun?
Life at home is loud, so I love to sit and relax in a nice restaurant or coffee shop, and either work or read a book. I also love running around Rice University, when it’s not too hot.
Funniest shortcut/routine for helping you through parenthood?
Take a deep breath and let things go. Let things be messy. At the moment, the inside of my car is a disaster.
Yes, I recently left my corporate job at IBM to grow my own business, UnbuckleMe. When my first daughter was born in 2015, my mom realized that she couldn’t unbuckle her car seat, due to some arthritis in her thumb. That meant that she couldn’t help me with childcare, which was troubling for both of us. Together, we set out to solve this problem. My mom and I are the inventors of UnbuckleMe, a small product that makes it easier to unbuckle car seats—for grandparents, moms with long fingernails or helpful siblings!
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now? (this means the Houston neighborhood community).
When we were originally testing our prototypes, we reached out to my high school physics teacher and he was very helpful in guiding our ideation, and letting us borrow his equipment. We also worked with a Houston-based engineer to help us with CAD design and 3D prints. When we launched on Kickstarter, the West U and Houston communities were so supportive, and people shared our campaign across so many mom blogs and Facebook groups. And when we started growing with buybuyBABY, the store in Tomball was one of the first national stores to opt in to carrying UnbuckleMe.
What is the best advice for juggling mommyhood and running a business (or volunteering, working, etc)?
Focus on the near term, do what needs to get done now and the rest can wait.
What would you tell the old “You” before you had kids?
Enjoy the freedom of staying out late and sleeping in!
Please hyperlink anything that you would like linked. Thanks!