Celebrating OwnHers (aka Black Women Entrepreneurs) during National Inventors Month
Written by Tanesha Dixon
"Necessity is the mother of invention." ~Plato
OwnHers! April is National Inventors Month and the team at OwnHers could not be more excited to give two amazing women their just due; who in confronting and meeting their own needs, endowed the world with invaluable inventions and intellectual real estate, shaping and shifting the lives of women everywhere.
"Honey, I’ve got things to do." ~Women
I can almost hear those words hovering over the universe in just about every language, as I consider the “ole heave hoe” of working women today. History has taught us that the need for change or improvement is the driving force of an invention. Whether you are an aspiring business owner or Mogul, we all share common needs. In my opinion, the common need that has always leveled the playing field is convenience. If I could redefine the word Inconvenience, it would probably read “a space where time and tasks collide, reducing the Wonder Woman in you to just the basic chick.” I mean, you could almost take offense to the long lists and short days of life. If this is in fact the case for most of us, then it is also safe to say that the “convenience” of brilliant inventions would allow us to be great and get more done in less time with excellence as the “sugar on top”.
"You are your best thing." ~Toni Morrison
Allow me to introduce to you Mrs. Crystal Bennett-Harris, an OwnHers member and “Mommy Mogul” and the inventor of the Brauxiliary Band, the very first hands-free pumping attachment for bras which offers mothers the convenience of pumping breast milk without the inconvenience of undressing. The innovation of the Brauxiliary Band allows mothers to simultaneously fulfil the demands of motherhood and work, whether inside or outside of the home. During a 2016 interview with HelloFlo, Crystal revealed the motivation behind the movement. “I was inspired to create the Brauxiliary Band out of pure necessity! I was going back to work and needed to be able to pump breast milk without my hands being occupied for 30 mins at a time…” When asked what advice she would give to up- and- coming female inventors Crystal’s replied, “remind yourself that you are the NEW guy and not the LITTLE guy. Give yourself permission to be new at whatever you’re attacking.” Brauxiliary Band has been featured on multiple social media outlets and parenting websites and is available to purchase on brauxiliary.com and Amazon.
"The thing that irritates you the most, is probably the one thing you’ve been placed on this earth to solve." ~Anonymous
If I could, I would make this super-heroin an honorary OwnHers member.
Mary B. Kenner was born in Monroe, North Carolina in 1912. She was brilliant and ambitious with a love for inventing and helping others. At a time where being black and being a woman was an unavoidable obstacle, Mary audaciously and voluntarily challenged the barrier of being a black woman inventor. In the 1950’s, Mary confronted the inadequacies presented in the use of cloth rags used during a woman’s menstrual cycle, by developing the first moisture-proof sanitary belt. The development of this product would revolutionize the sanitary napkin and its design, creating a tool for sanitary pads to stay in place and giving women a sense of freedom. In 1957, Mary was able to save enough money to obtain a patent for the sanitary belt; after being rejected by a big company upon their realization that she was black. “One day, I was contacted by a company that was interested in marketing my idea.” “Sorry to say, when they found out I was black, their interest dropped.” Despite the odds, Mary continued to create and by 1987, she had five patents under her belt. It would be 30 years before Mary was recognized for her contribution to the feminine hygiene industry. She died in 2006 at the beautifully lived age of 93.
Today, we benefit from the inventions of women who saw the need and answered the call, so today we bestow upon those greats, the Invincible Invisible Cape for your heroism in ingenuity!
How Did She Do it?
So glad you asked! Let’s put some action to your idea:
- Write down your ideas and record the process.
- Do the research! Assess the need for your invention, who will benefit from your invention? Is there anything like it currently on the market?
- Get an Inventor Coach! Find someone you trust to walk you through the process, provide the knowledge and hold you accountable.
- Go to https://www.uspto.gov/patent to get general information.
- Need some money for your start up? Banks are usually an immediate go-to for most people, but you may want to consider other financial resources. How about crowdfunding? https://www.uschamber.com/co/run/business-financing/crowdfunding-sites-for-startups
OwnHers would love to celebrate you as their next Life-Changing Inventor!