The speaker at yesterday's meeting of Sheffield Inventors' Club was Rowena Mead. Rowena is a 24 year old mother whose little girl, Saskia, seemed to accept anything in her mouth except the bristle end of a conventional tooth brush. The handle was fine. Saskia chewed that up good and proper - just like a puppy. Rowena produced one of Saskia's old tooth brushes as evidence. That sparked the idea in Rowena's mind of a colourful, bendy tooth brush that was all bristle. It is now the subject of a registered Community design (000710330-0001 ) together with its container and various patent applications.
In contrast to most of our speakers (and indeed members) who tend to be male and of a certain age, Rowena is a very personable young lady. She had appeared on the BBC TV Money Programme on Friday, 2 Nov 2007 so we had a better than average attendance yesterday. But what impressed everybody about Rowena was her get-up and go. She had taken her invention from idea to finished product in less than a year. While it is not yet in the shops it is well on the way to market.
Now Rowena is not alone in doing this. Other young women who have done the same sprang to mind yesterday. Jane Lawton of Manchester who invented the Grobox, Martine Pascal also of Manchester who has invented emergency footwear for girls with sore feet (GB2425454A), and, of course, Mandy Haberman. Tony Hanson, Gilholm Harrison's sales manager, hit the nail on the head when he said that most middle aged male inventors see only problems to developing and marketing their inventions. These young women find solutions!
Now of course they don't do it on their own. Rowena, Martine and many other inventors have had help from excellent advisors like product designer Richard Hall of Pd-m in Harrogate who seems to know everything about design, manufacturing and marketing and also to know every possible manufacturer from Shanghai to Brazil. Rowena also had a good patent agent, Steve Gilholm, who was in the audience. Richard, Steve and others, such as patent solicitor Kate Reid (whose offices are in the same building in Harrogate as Richard's), are part of a network of good local intellectual property specialists to whom I often refer enquirers from my inventors' clinics and advice sessions.
But I return to the original point. Most members of most of the inventors' clubs are middle aged men. A disproportionate number of the inventions that succeed are made by bright young women who just do it. What could these chaps learn. Well maybe you should click the link and read the article.