|Mom inventor Kadie Flye's two|
kids, Justin and Ella, as Justin
demonstrates how the
Flyebaby works on a plane.
It was about seven years ago in 2006, that Kadie Flye took a airplane ride with her four month old daughter Ella and knew the plane ride could have been better. “I thought at the time, if only there was some way to lay my daughter down and be able to interact with her, a place to change her diaper or a place for her to fall asleep on the plane,” said Flye. It was on that plane ride Flye started designing in her mind a light-weight, portable hammock-style seat for her daughter.When Flye got home to Seminole, she told her dad, John Schramek, about her dilemma on the plane and the idea she came up with. She thought he might be able to make it for her since he’s a local upholster and has the capability to sew things.
A few months later, Flye and her daughter flew again and used what her dad had made. It worked perfectly. People on the plane saw it and asked her about it. It was than Flye decided maybe this was something she could market and sell. She decided to call the product Flyebaby because of her last name and the fact that the product was used for flying. Flye also wanted the product to be versatile so she could use in on regular chair as a well to hold the baby.
Flye started doing her research on the product. She found there wasn’t anything like the Flyebaby on the market. Since Flye has her degree in marketing she put her skills to the test, never knowing how much work really goes into inventing and selling a product. “I never thought I would sell something,” said Flye.
|Flye's father, John Schramek, |
holds the original
The next part was getting a patent for Flyebaby. Flye said it cost about $7,000 to get this. As an inventor costs can start adding up before you see any money coming in. Early on Flye and her husband, Justin, decided with the Flyebaby they didn’t want to take loans out to invest in the product. Flye would become business partners with her dad and would try and do most of the work by herself. Now when she looks back she sees that she wasted a lot of time trying to do things on her own, when she could have outsourced it and saved time. “You learn as you go and it is trial and error. You end up learning what works best,” Flye said.
|Flye sits in airplane seats she purchased|
to demonstrate the Flyebaby
Production of the Flyebaby started in 2009. Flye and her dad starting making the product by themselves. Her dad would make a few dozen here and there. After the product started selling, she knew she needed a manufacturer. Flye says that was the biggest hurdle, “mainly because I was dealing with companies in China. I couldn’t fly to China and talk to them face to face, there was the language difference and a time difference.” Flye said on her first order, the manufacturer sewed a buckle on backwards. “We couldn’t send it back, we had to fix 2,000 units. My husband and I unstitched it and my dad and a friend had to resew it. You have to spell everything out. They will print stuff backwards and upside down if you don’t,” said Flye.
The year their product launched they got their big break. The Skymall Inventor’s Corner showcased her product in their summer 2009 issue. “That was huge exposure that we didn’t have to pay for.” Another huge break was getting on the Today Show July 2011. This free exposure helped boost sales and helped cut costs for marketing.
Because of all the success of the Flyebaby it became very time consuming for Flye. “I was committing all my time to this.” In 2011 Flye had a baby boy. It was hard to continue to do everything for Flyebaby and raise two kids. That’s when she had an investor come to her and asked her if she ever thought of leasing her patent to him?
Flye says her biggest investment was going to the
New York trade show and networking. Because of her networking the Flyebaby is
with 14 retailers around the world and in airports all over Norway.
|Kadie and her husband Justin|
at a trade show
It couldn’t have come at a better time. Flye decided she would lease her patent and is thrilled by the idea to not have to do any of the work anymore and just receive a paycheck.
“My advice to anyone is you don’t have to go through inventor companies. There are so many scam artists out there. If you are willing to do hard work and not reap rewards instantly. Good things will come.”
I asked if her if she would do it all again. Flye says she would because she learned so much, but right now she wants to focus on her kids. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Kadie Flye’s inventions.
For more information about the Flyebaby click here.