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busy baby mat

Rochester is full of diversity, history, and interesting stories of visitors, new comers, and locals alike.  I’m here to share the untold stories of Rochester and I can’t wait for you to hear this one.

Getting a personal invite to Shark Tank from a producer isn’t your average Tuesday inbox type of experience.  But that’s what happened to Beth Fynbo.

(Insert screeching halt noise here).  But let us back track 18 months to where this all began.

A brand new mother was working 14 hours a day, driving to LaCrosse and back daily decides owning her own business is what she wants but what it looks like is still up in the air.

busy baby mat

Being a new Mother, lunch dates with girlfriends (and their toddlers) was a normal activity for Beth.  But one day, while pumping gas the big idea came to light.

“There’s gotta be other Mom’s out there who just want to enjoy a distraction free lunch with their girlfriends without bending down to pick up utensils, phones, and whatever else their toddler throws to the floor.  I wonder if a placemat of some sort can solve this problem”.

And so began Beth’s journey to becoming the founder of Busy Baby Mat.

Here’s a brief rundown if you’re not familiar yet with Busy Baby Mat:

The Busy Baby Mat is the first-ever placemat to keep toys in place!
Time to end the “Toddler Toss!”

Made of 100% FDA-approved food-grade silicone, the Busy Baby Mat suctions to smooth surfaces & has a proprietary tether system that will keep baby’s things within reach & germ free!

busy baby mat

Beth’s a thinker, and a do-er so her research began immediately.  Googling products that may already exist, she came up with nothing.

And so the adventure of prototype creation began.  The next six months are truly incredible.  Making prototypes in her kitchen… Beth sets the scene:

My very first one was a tube of silicone caulk! Then I used pet food mats, suction cups and fishing tethers from Amazon. Then I bought Part A/B silicone that you have to mix together to make my own molds and prototype.

Creating a product for humans in general is tough enough, but when it’s for small children the safety standards are daunting.

Beth credits much of this progression to her network of industry experts  including Bunker Labs, which is an organization that helps Veteran Entrepreneurs create, build, and grow their businesses.

Soon after prototypes began to come together, the folks at Bunker Labs encouraged Beth to head to New York’s, Toy Fair.  An enormous expo of products for babies.  The motherland of new baby product companies.

Beth went to New York.  Not because she had to, to succeed, but because she knows what it takes to accomplish a goal and she’s not afraid to execute on those opportunities.

Opportunities there were, and ask she did.  At the Toy Fair, Beth worked on securing a mentor or two that had gone through the steps she was about to enter into.

busy baby mat

From there, she was led to a professional product development firm. Klygonyx was recommended by many at the Toy Fair so Beth reached out immediately.

Beth was flying home from New York when she reached out and the guys at Klygonyx emailed back right away.  Miraculously… they just happened to have a layover in Chicago exactly when Beth did.  They met up that day in the Chicago airport.

If you don’t believe in things happening for a reason, serendipity, or the Universe aligning for people listen up… the down payment required by Klugonyx, a very prestigious firm in the product development world, to start work on Busy Baby Mat was EXACTLY the amount of Beth’s tax return.  (Insert twilight zone theme song here).

With professional product development officially on the case things progressed quickly.  And it was now time for Beth to figure out the best way to bring awareness of this new product.

busy baby mat

In comes One Million Cups.  A weekly meet up of entrepreneurs practicing pitching their business to a group of like minded peers.

In true badassery fashion, Beth pitched to the group with one day’s notice.  With only drawings, (she was still waiting for prototypes to come back), she pitched her idea.

It just so happened that on this impromptu pitch, Beth’s audience included a retired Patent Attorney.  This connection proved highly valuable to Beth and the future of Busy Baby Mat.

Solid advice of getting first to market before waiting for a patent to clear (which can take years) was the game changer for Busy Baby Mat‘s launch.  Busy Baby Mat currently has a patent pending.

Beth met more people along the way that seemingly fell into her path at just the right time.  But the truth is, you have to be audacious enough to let an idea form, fearless enough to follow it, tough enough to stay the course, and humble enough to know when to ask for help.

Beth embodies all of these qualities.  And that’s why you needed to hear her story.

busy baby mat

Now go buy a Busy Baby Mat for yourself, for your girlfriends, for your sister, for parents all over the world who just want to eat their G.D. lunch in peace.  And have her sign it before she’s famous.

Here’s how to order

Follow @BusyBabyMat on Instagram and use the hashtag #busybabymat when you’re out & about.