Mamas, have you ever needed something that didn’t exist?
Whatever stopped you from creating it?
A few months ago, I’d heard bits and pieces online about an incredible new toddler tech gadget invented by two moms from Calgary, called the Toddler Monitor.
Shortly after, a friend of mine tagged Krista and Lisa, entrepreneurs and the inventors of the Toddler Monitor, on a Facebook post. The two had been on Dragon’s Den asking for $100,000 for 20% of their company, and they received offers from all five investors. The monitor could really save a child’s life — they knew it was smart to invest in such a life-changing product.
My toddler Alex wakes up in the early hours. He also recently learned how to unlock our deadbolt and door handle lock, which meant he could literally wander out of our condo building undetected. We’ve had to install a third flip lock where he can’t reach. Yet, he can still crawl out of bed at night and climb our staircase… so the Toddler Monitor is a must.
Krista Teare and Lisa Caruso are going places fast.
Below, they share how they invented this successful toddler tracking device and share their best advice for other entrepreneurs.
* Important Note: I’m giving away one Toddler Monitor ($99.99 retail!) to one of you. Enter on my Facebook page. Krista and Lisa gifted it to me in exchange for this blog post. This weekend only, you’ll get 20% off and free shipping if you order a monitor online and use the code EDMOMTON during checkout. Offer ends Sunday night. *
1) What sparked your mutual idea to invent the Toddler Monitor?
We had discussed that we wanted something that we could hang on a door when traveling to help keep tabs on our little guys, but when Krista’s son Declan got out of their house in the night we were terrified and inspired to bring our concept to life.
So, we invented DECCO the Toddler Monitor, a cute motion sensor device that hangs on your child’s bedroom door and sends an alert to your smartphone if it senses that your child has left their room!
2) Are you both originally from Calgary? How did you know each other prior to starting a business together?
Lisa is from Picture Butte, AB and Krista is from Abbotsford, BC.
We met through a mutual friend and decided to take adult tap dance class together… yes, we met tap dancing. From there we became close friends, started working together at the same management consulting firm, started families around the same time…and the rest is history!
3) What was it like becoming a mother? Easy? Challenging? Surprising?
All the above. It’s very different than what you expect.
The hard parts are harder than I would have guessed and the great parts are so much more amazing… I’m loving toddler and childhood as it’s more active and you can do so many fun things, whereas I found parts of babyhood hard as I struggled with being stuck at home and sticking to the schedule.
4) What is your business background?
We are both Management Consultants and worked with international consulting firms (Deloitte & KPMG) before we both joined a boutique firm in Calgary called Lumina. We’ve both worked with a variety of companies from start-ups to Fortune 500s. The variety and breadth (and the pace) really prepared us for starting our own venture with Toddler Monitor!
5) What has been your favourite part of the start-up process, creating Toddler Monitor?
Seeing our idea come to life has been amazing!
It’s pretty crazy that we imagined how DECCO the Toddler Monitor would look and work at our kitchen counter just over a year ago, and now you can buy him on Amazon and the premiere baby boutiques in Canada – like WestCoast kids in Edmonton!
We were featured on Dragons Den this November which was our brush with reality television and a highlight. (Check it out online here!) We’ve also been featured by Target in San Francisco at their Target Open House where they feature new technology products!
6) Why do you think Toddler Monitor has become so successful?
We created something we wanted and needed – and we’ve had fun with it! Many parents were looking for something like this and we made it cute and super easy to use. We are also super committed to our customers and are always available to answer questions or hear their concerns and suggestions.
6) Have you received any feedback from parents who have purchased and loved the monitor?
Yes! It’s our favourite part. From parents who have been stressed by what could happen, to those who had been scared by a child wandering at night and can sleep better now, to a grandma who could finally have her grandchild sleep over because she knew she’d hear them if they got up, to parents of children with special needs who have more pervasive challenges with wandering… we get some really great notes and thanks! It’s great. Lots of kids also connect with DECCO and see him as a buddy who guards them… we love hearing that too!
7) Any advice for all the business-minded women and mothers in Alberta?
- Take the leap and then take it one step at a time. Be iterative in your approach and test your concept along the way.
- Don’t be married to your product. You need to know when to walk away if you are the only one that thinks that it is a good idea.
- Be resourceful and use your network. People want to help and talk about what they know so just ask them.
- Do it yourself. There are so many tools including Kickstarter, website tools, social media, etc. that enable you to start a company with very little financial investment.
- Leverage government funding. The applications are a crazy amount of work but the support can be invaluable.
- Negotiate. Negotiate. Negotiate. Seriously. Most of the time there is some wiggle room, and if you ask and the answer is “no” then nothing lost.
- Be relentless. There will be times when you want to quit – DON’T! Ideas are a dime a dozen…executing on your idea day in and day out is the real challenge.
- Go into business with your “ride or die partner”. We like to compare our relationship to that of a sibling… you may not agree and will probably disagree but at the end of the day, you are a team. You need to be able to have tough conversations and move on. And most importantly, you need to have fun with this person as you are going to spend a lot (like, a lot) of time with them.
8) Finish this sentence: Motherhood is ___________:
…best when shared with good friends, a supportive partner and a big glass of wine!
Thank you for the interview, Krista and Lisa!