May 2007 | Vol. VI - No. 5
LilyBugs Let Babes Chug-a-lug
Animal Holders Have Kids Hitting the Bottle Alone
BABY TAKES MATTERS IN HAND
“For the first time in her life, Lily grabbed the bottle, held it, and started drinking out of it herself. It was an amazing thing for a mother to see.” It gave Kane the idea to create LilyBugs, which is also her daughter’s nickname.
According to Kane, her daughter’s reaction to LilyBugs is almost universal. Mothers testify that babies grab the soft, plush cover by its big “ears” or handles, look at the face of an animal staring back, enthusiastically drink from it, and carry it around with them afterward.
BONDING WITH BOTTLES
Both Kane and her husband have backgrounds in psychology. Though no formal studies have been done on these effects, Kane’s own research suggests that it might have something to do with the bonds that infants can develop with animal faces.
“It’s something mothers are telling me they’ve never seen before,” Kane told TDmonthly.
Kane said that an inventor’s class she’d taken previously with her father helped transform her idea into a budding enterprise. She called the instructor and he advised her to get a functional patent for the LilyBugs, which essentially means that no one else can create a product with the same use.
According to Kane, “There really isn’t anything out there like it.”
She said that there are baby-bottle insulators and blankets on the market, but LilyBugs are the only bottle covers that can be used to teach an infant to drink from a bottle.
BABY BOTTLES BUILD BUSINESS
The company’s website has been its primary place of business to date. With a retail price of $10 per unit, Kane said they have sold 800 units so far. The plan, of course, is to sell a whole lot more.
Part of that plan is to send samples and brochures to 200 small retailers across the country. Kane said that seeing the LilyBugs in action usually convinces purchasers to buy even more. They’re machine washable, so they can last through more than one child.
Asked what she has learned most during this experience, Kane almost immediately responded, “I have learned to be a tough business woman and to trust myself. Unless you can stand up for yourself, you’ll never get things done.”
Here’s more information about LilyBugs:
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This award-winning, patent-pending product uses a fun bottle cover designed to help babies and toddlers learn how to lift and hold their own bottles and sippy cups. Each machine-washable LilyBug features a soft, cuddly animal friend with an embroidered face and vibrant colors, and provides visual and tactile stimulation. The company requires a minimum order of 50 pieces. The product “is an innovative learning tool that children are instantly attracted to. … We provide an alternative to the hard, plastic baby bottle or sippy cup by offering a comforting animal friend during the developmental years of feeding and growing,” CEO Crystal Kane told TDmonthly. Launch date: April 2006.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11287 (added 1/29/2007)
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Writer's Bio: Dennis Furlan is a freelance writer who lives just outside of Toronto, Canada. He works on a variety of writing and editorial jobs with clients and publications worldwide. Dennis is proud to be part of the TDmonthly team, serving as a regional correspondent for the northwestern U.S. Read more articles by this author
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