In 1996 I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, my third and last child. At the time my children were 8 and 5 so I had forgotten, all to fast, about the missing sock problem that parents go through with new born babies and toddlers. When my youngest was born, however, I was quickly reminded that her socks were falling off before we even got home from the hospital. As the months passed, I had my fill of looking for the missing socks, buying socks, and throwing away unmatched socks. At that point in my life, as a mom of three, buying a package of socks meant doing without something else. It was beginning to get overwhelming and out of hand quickly.
About the time she was around 7 months old, she was sitting up and pulling her socks off. I remember that she would be sitting in the car seat going down the road, or going to the store with her, and we would always start with socks on both feet and end up with one adorable, but sock-less, foot. I knew there was no way I was the only mom dealing with that and wondered how such a small thing be so aggravating?
I thought to myself, “I really need to come up with something to keep those socks on”. I pondered on that for awhile, not really sure how in the world I would solve a problem that had been going on for mothers everywhere for years. I was a busy mom of 3, so it wasn’t like I had time to give it serious thought. There were times when I thought I could just sit down and focus on the problem, times where I was so frustrated at throwing out another pair of socks, or putting in yet another new pair of socks in the cart, but I just couldn’t fathom any way to keep those socks on that I hadn’t tried already. Now, as a mom of three normally when I put the kids down for bed it was time to relax and crumble into bed. I’d all but given up the hope that I would figure out a way to solve the problem, but it kept eating at me as I lay in bed. As exhausted as I was I just couldn’t get myself to sleep. This sock problem, though it seems really small on the surface, was really something that was getting to me. Then, BAM!, out of nowhere as I’m laying in bed just trying to get some sleep, the idea hits me. I know, everyone with any idea always says that, “it just hit me out of nowhere” but there’s always some bit of truth to that. Sure, I had thought of a few different parts and pieces before, but for whatever reason tonight, all those different ideas kind of molded together and I just knew I had to put this one into action.
I seriously jumped up and ran into the kitchen to open my junk drawer. I was looking for something to put together with what I had in my head. It was about midnight, and I found some bread ties that I knew would be plenty long enough. Then, as disgusting as it may sound, I went to the trash looking for a wet dirty diaper. I wanted to use the tab that closed the diaper together. I couldn’t afford to waste a new diaper on my idea. I had no idea if this would even work and if it didn’t using a new diaper just wasn’t in the cards for me. I had this idea that I thought would get rid of this problem, but I just couldn’t invest enough into the idea to use that new diaper until I knew it worked. I cut both tabs off the wet diaper and then cut 2 slits in each of the diaper tab. I then threaded both onto the 2 bread ties that I had twisted together. I placed one tab each onto each bread tie . I quietly then went into the babies room and turned on a hall light so I could see. I slipped off one of her socks and put the bread tie around her ankle. I then twisted the ends together and closed it . The fasten side of the diaper tabs were facing outward so it could grip the sock . I put her sock back on over the little band that I had made. I only made one, but I made sure her other sock was on. I covered her back up and was finally able to get some sleep. When I got up the next morning, I couldn’t wait to see if the sock was still on. Sure enough, it was. The one with diaper strap modification was still in tact, and the other sock was gone. It was a normal night to have both socks kicked off, but not anymore.
The first thing I did that morning was plan a trip to Walmart. I got the kids ready and headed to town. I was so excited that the band kept her sock on. I knew I had to go find some type of material at the store to make a set that I could use daily. I found just what I thought would work. I went home and started measuring and cutting the material and then sewn it by hand. I put them on her, and I never had the problem of the missing socks again. As she grew and got stronger, no matter how hard she tried, she could never even pull the socks off. She finally quit trying. I had finally found a resolution to losing the sock. Now, I knew the idea would cost a lot of money to turn it into something big to share with moms all over the world and I didn’t even know if it was as big of a problem to other moms as it was me. I knew the product was great, I knew that it solved a problem, but even if I had the money to invest would it have been worth it?
I started talking to mom’s everywhere. I would see a small baby or a toddler and I just started asking their parents questions. I wanted to know if they were having the same sock missing issue that I was having, if they had any solution to the problem, if it even was a big issue for most parents. I had so many questions running through my head and sure enough, most of them claimed to have the same issue. After some thought and so much more research, I found someone that I thought could help me figure some of this stuff out. I had hoped that this person would help guide me in the right direction. As I said I was a mom of 3 wonderful, but young, kids at the time. My focus was on making sure my kids were taken care of, that they had a great life. I didn’t know about business. I didn’t know how to take this idea I had and turn it into a company, but I knew that it would be something great. Or, at least, I thought I knew it. After so much thought, research and passion went into telling this person about the idea all I got back was discouragement. There was no level of excitement from them, nothing that would suggest it was worth the time or work to try and bring this to the public. The idea was dead. I thought I had solved a problem, I thought I had something great, but the idea of sharing it with the world laid dormant for many years. I was discouraged. I didn’t have the support I would need to go anywhere and so I let it go, for now.
I always knew I would do something with this idea. I didn’t know when or how, but I knew I would someday.
After my daughter grew out of her toddler years, I put that set of Grip-A-Sock up. I looked at it from time to time. After my children were grown and I was divorced, I met my soon to be husband of now. We talked about things, and I had mentioned my idea to him. He had no idea what I was talking about. I tried to explain what it looked like and how it worked. My original bands that I had made were packed away in storage. He told me to make a set and show him so back to Walmart I went . I knew exactly what I needed to put a demo together, and he was blown away . I put them around his wrist and used his socks to show him how it worked . He actually said, “ this is genius.” I was at a different place in life at that point, financially and otherwise, so all I needed to hear were those encouraging words. Over a few weeks time I dedicated myself to the business fully. I wasn’t going to let anyone, or anything, stop me from taking this idea and turning it into a business. I knew it was time to move forward. I hired an attorney to file for a patent. The Lord also blessed me and my soon to be husband with a business partner that has helped us move things forward . Now it’s 2016, and we have this item for sale and ready to share with mom’s everywhere.
Finally, after so 20 years, my idea was coming to life. I gave it the name Wittle Britches Grip-A-Sock.