In our Meet the Maker series we get to know entrepreneurs who have pursued their dreams and launched a small business. To celebrate Women’s History Month, we’re shining a light on women Makers to hear what lessons they have learned along the way.
Today we’re catching up with Bonnie Tyler, the Maker behind The Negg. Bonnie invented a hard-boiled egg peeler after a frustrating experience peeling eggs. After some prototyping and research at her local library, she cracked a solution and her product was born.
What’s one piece of advice you’d share with other Makers?
To give one is impossible. There are many many pieces of advice. Things we’ve learned—take your pick. You can’t go into this half-heartedly. Any invention needs your full attention. To think you can take it on as a part-time job would be a mistake. Other Makers are out there who are eager to help you through the process. Talk to them.
It’s a big leap to actually follow through with an idea. Get your prototype, apply for a patent, and then show your invention to your family and friends and watch their reactions. We had that “aha” moment with The Negg. That feedback was invaluable and helped us take the leap.
What other things do you love to make?
An eagle on a par 5. Yes, I am a frustrated golfer. Talk about creating! Every time you hit an errant shot you have to create a plan for recovery. Golf is creation on steroids.
What has surprised you most about starting a business?
Manufacturing and selling product has so many pieces. It requires so much more than just the product. Instruction sheets, boxes, shipping boxes, customer service, and on and on. At times the learning curve is a vertical line.
Or this biggest challenge?
Around every corner is another challenge. Having enough instruction sheets to go with the product. Also boxes and shippers, matching it all up.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
Start now. It takes more time than you can possibly imagine. Move fast because there is most likely someone right on your heels.
What has been the most rewarding part of starting a business?
Solving the problem of peeling hard-boiled eggs. It really is fun to see how happy it makes people.
How has The Grommet community helped your business since your feature?
Invaluable! I cannot say enough for the Grommet community. They stepped in and joined our team of Negg heads. The fabulous graphics, the first rate videos, our most incredible account manager, the whole community was instrumental in getting us to where we are today.