Yes, women develop apps too!

You’d be forgiven for thinking that developing mobile apps was just for the boys, but there are some very successful women out there developing apps, too. Don’t think you need to be one of the boys, either. Sally Huang, Lead of Visual Technologies at Houzz says “Maintain your own personal identity and be selective about who you work with. You’ll feel connected to the best people you work with, regardless of gender”.

So where should you start? It could really pay to learn a little code even if you don’t see yourself coding the app yourself. That’s because it’s much easier to understand your product if you know how it works ‘under the bonnet’ (hood) . It will also help you spot the differences between a good coder and a not-so-good one when you reach the point where you’re ready to hire. There are many places online you can learn to code, some are free and there are even some specifically for women including Girls Who Code and General Assembly.

But if coding really isn’t your thing, there are other roles in app development that might be right up your street. In this interview, with Caroline Thompson talks about what it’s like to be business development manager at Ask Bongo Australia’s biggest SMS information service.

If you’re wondering where to find your great app idea, Ask Bongo ‘s story is a good example of how ideas can pop up in the most unlikely of places. Caroline says “The initial idea was the product of a casual remark made by one of our founders, who, while trying to verify a hard-to-believe assertion about a historical figure — Genghis Khan, if I remember correctly. While struggling to quickly find such a specific piece of information, he said something along the lines of “Wouldn’t it be nice if I could just text this question to a history prof or some omniscient monkey?”

You can start small, too. In fact, Samantha John of Hopscotch Technologies says you should. “Whatever you do should start as a side project. If you have constraints on your time you’ll only work on stuff you really believe in. We did this at Hopscotch and within a couple of months it became very clear to me I had to quit my job and go full-time”.

Finally, Liat Zakay co-founder and CEO of Donde says “If you have an idea you believe in don’t wait and watch. Act! Find a partner that completes you and work hard. Don’t be afraid, fear is your worst enemy.”

So what are you waiting for?


Five tips for getting your product manufactured

manufacture_in_chinaMany mums have found that a baby isn’t their only new creation and go on to invent a new product too!

Often, inventor mums find themselves frustrated with the baby products on the market and invent their own product to fill a gap – just take a look at the mumpreneur profiles here at Business Plus Baby for some great case studies. The trouble is that the next stage – getting your product manufactured- is daunting, especially as most mums have never done this before and it usually involves working with manufacturers overseas.

Here are  five tips to help you along the road to getting your product manufactured:

1. Start with the internet

As with most things these days, the internet is a great place to start learning about getting your creation manufactured. For many product inventors, Asia is going to be the best place to find a manufacturer, especially if you want large numbers and your product’s design isn’t likely to change much over the next few years. But for items with a design that changes regularly where you need smaller batch sizes (e.g. fashion), a local manufacturer might be the right choice. The internet can help you weigh up options like these when you’re in the early stages of your project.

2. …but don’t rely on the internet alone Continue reading “Five tips for getting your product manufactured”

Mothers of Innovation

mother and baby with rockin hoodBeing a mum can be a real boost to your creativity. I have huge admiration for mums who spot a niche for a new product, then go ahead and bring it to market themselves.

Mothers Of Innovation was created by Sarah Dawnay to bring together mums who are selling a product they have developed themselves and parents who want to buy quirky, ethical and innovative items for their children.

Sarah is the inventor of the Rockin Hood, a fast alternative to a coat for babies who object to wearing sleeves! Having wrestled a wriggling child into a coat many times, I might just get one myself..

If you’re thinking of developing your own product, check out Sarah’s blog post Hints For Mumpreneurs where she shares her own experience of developing and manufacturing the Rockin Hood.


For Inventor Mums : Roundup of the Week

Inventing a new product must be one of the toughest businesses to run as a parent of young children.  Running a business and bringing up babies at the same time is never going to be easy, but keeping your confidence and patience during the long research, design, production and marketing process takes a special kind of determination.

PR Genius

Which is why I take my hat off to Keira of Mamascarf.  Rather than be dismayed by the postal strike this week, she turned it to her advantage and invited the BBC, Sky News and Central News round to her place to talk about it! You can read about it on her blog.

Free Training

Getting the right support and information is vital if you’re developing your own product. Did you know that Business Link offers a huge range of free courses for anyone starting a business? Check out what’s going on in your area here.

Support for Inventive Women – for just £1!

This week I discovered a  great resource for women developing or inventing products – She’s Ingenious!. She’s Ingenuous has practical advice, inspiration, mentoring  and the opportunity to meet like minded people.  All with a trial membership for only £1.

Mum Product Designers Have The Edge

Have you been watching Design For Life on BBC2? French product designer Philipe Starck was looking for the next great British designer by inviting twelve young product designers to his HQ in Paris. The best designer of the group would win a six month placement with Starck.

Now I know designing isn’t as easy as it looks and that these guys were right at the start of their careers. But I’m convinced that the inventor mums I know could do a much better job, even though they don’t have a degree in product design.

What’s the difference between a 21 year old product design graduate and an inventor mum? The mums have creativity, determination and  know how to squeeze the maximum out of every spare minute of their time.  And unlike the young designers, they start with a problem that needs a solution, usually a problem that they have lived with and understand inside and out. That has to be the best starting point for designing a new product.

The ability to turn your challenges into great PR could come in handy too!

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