Meet our youngest inventor yet, Matthew and his operations manager/mother Elizabeth. We are so honored to have them back at the the market in June. Read more about his story and how this 9 year old made it on the cover of TIME magazine.
Business: Grip Wizard, The Fine Motor Magic Glove
Inventor: Matthew Meyer
Operations Wizard: Elizabeth Connolly
Product: Fine Motor Skill Development Aid for Children
Tell us about your business: how did you get started?
The Grip Wizard was invented by my now fifteen year-old son, Matthew, when he was nine. This invention was a solution to handwriting and pencil grip struggles that he was having at the time. His Occupational Therapist suggested he hold a penny or small object in his palm with his pinky and ring finger while he wrote to improve his pencil grip. The distraction of holding something in his hand, while performing an undesirable (yet crucial) activity, gave Matthew the idea for a device that would hold his ring and pinky finger down for him. Matthew entered two competitions with his idea: The Cincinnati Invention Convention; and Warren Buffett's Secret Millionaires Club, Grow Your Own Business Challenge. He was awarded two Scholarships in the Invention Convention, and received the Grand Prize of $5,000 in the GYOBC. (Pretty cool, huh!?)
My (Elizabeth’s) Story:
I am a mother of four, DIY enthusiast and lover of learning. When your kid says, “I hate school, because writing is too hard,” your heart breaks. When your kid says, “Mom, I think I have a solution to my handwriting problem, can you help me make it?”, you immediately go to Hot Topic and buy a wristband to start on his project! Problem solving and making things are my jam! I didn’t expect his invention to put me on the entrepreneurial path but I am so glad that it did. I am fortunate to live in a city with so many small businesses willing to “give it a go” to help me to create a stellar product and brand.
How long have you been in business?
We have been researching and developing Grip Wizard since 2013, and have really made moves to bring it to market, since the beginning of 2018. Bringing any product to market can be a challenge, and Grip Wizard has been no exception. We are really looking forward to meeting parents, therapists and educators that understand the importance of fine motor development, so that we can provide this unique product and support to their children, patients, and students.
What makes your product/business unique?
Grip Wizard is a unique solution to pencil grip, handwriting and fine motor skill development struggles. Unlike traditional pencil grips that are worn by the pencil, Grip Wizard is worn by the child, allowing for continuous tripod grip (thumb, pointer, middle fingers) strengthening during a variety of activities.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Kids, all the kids. I have read so many cool stories about kids inventing and creating things that only a kid could dream up. They don’t get bogged down in the logistics or potential failures; they are pure genius and light. They want to make something that is good, fun and helpful for the world. My goal is to continue building Grip Wizard in that childlike spirit of ingenuity and wonder.
What would you tell someone who wants to start their own business?
I think the most important thing I’ve learned so far about starting a business is the need to be flexible. Flexibility will help reroute if things don’t fall into place the way you expect. The reroute might feel like failure, but it’s actually an opportunity to regroup, be more creative, learn and grow.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
We are creating a companion coloring book, starring Maggy and Max, The Grip Wizard Kids, to teach students the ergonomics of writing. It is my goal to have Grip Wizard become a certified Kindergarten education program that teachers can use to establish a solid foundation of writing and fine motor abilities in their classrooms.
Come meet this young inventor Matthew and his amazing mother Elizabeth at the WestSide Market on June 2nd, from 10-4PM.