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Chicago inventors and entrepreneurs

August 28, 2008 11:35:40 AM PDT
Have you ever seen a simple gadget (that works!) and said, "I should have thought of that!" Have you tried to do a task and said, "There must be a better way to do this." Or have you looked all over for a particular product and couldn't find exactly what you wanted? Well, several local people have been in those situations and have actually done something about it. They have invented products which are now being sold online and in stores:

Spare Change Jewelry

Peggy Bobrow came up with the idea of "Spare Change Jewelry" after noticing her daughter wearing a black fabric choker necklace with an old coin attached. Peggy, who lives in Glencoe, began constructing more choker necklaces with some black stretch fabric, and coins from around the world. Today, Spare Change "stretch" Jewelry is sold in over 2000 retails stores throughout North America and Europe. Now, along with coins, the line includes necklaces decorated with charms and faux stones.

PRICE: $18 to $56

WEBSITE: www.sparechangejewelry.com

WHERE SOLD: Online at www.sparechangejewelry.com and over 2000 boutiques and retailers including Neiman-Marcus, Nordstrom, Kitson in Los Angeles, and Fred Segal in Santa Monica, CA

FOR MORE INFORMATION: email peggisu@sparechangejewelry.com or 847.784-8080

Boot Bops

Kathy Lazar and Alyssa Glantz came up with the idea of "Boot Bops" while sitting together watching their sons play basketball. The two busy moms from Deerfield noticed how many other mothers were wearing Shearling boots, such as Uggs. They thought that the boots could be so much more fun with expressive pins. Now they create Boot Bops pins and zipper pulls for shoes, hats, necklaces, and other clothing items. Made in the USA, each rust-proof and lead-free pin has a tension-release backing specially designed to hide within the boot's soft sheepskin fur so you won't feel them. Boot Bops are available in 65 different designs including flowers, hearts, butterflies, sport themes, guitars, holidays and even a skull & crossbones.

PRICE: $6 to $12

www.bootbop.com

WHERE SOLD: Online at www.bootbop.com and at Little Threads, Chicago; Madison and Friends, Deerfield; E Street Kids, Highland Park; The Country Cobbler, Glenview; The Country Cobble, Wilmette; Smugglers, Highland Park; The Bootery, Highland Park; Embrace Your Style, Highland Park; Footloose, Northbrook.

FOR MORE INFORMATION send an email to info@bootbop.com.

PersLock

Vicki Ricker originally thought of the idea of PersLock while she was at dinner with her husband and shared it with close friend Martha Curnow. The two put their heads together to create an inexpensive theft deterrent disguised as decoration for your purse. Their research found that over 200,000 purses are stolen in the United States each year. The PersLock has many different features to help stop purse theft including a zipper-lock and a retractable mechanism. Vicki and Martha both live in suburbs of Chicago.

PRICE: $39.95 for limited time on website

WEBSITE: www.perslock.com

WHERE SOLD: Online at www.perslock.com and at VonMaur, Glenview and Lombard; G Whiz Boutique, Barrington

FOR MORE INFORMATION: 847.891-8413 or vricker@voomenterpriseses.com

40somethingtshirts

Alisa Bay and Andrea Foreman-Brook, came up with the idea of 40somethingtshirts one day as they were discussing approaching the big 4-0. The t-shirts are available with 15 upbeat, age-appropriate sayings for woman that are 40 and proud of it. The t-shirts come in short sleeve, long sleeve, and night shirt style. These two 40 year old Moms live in Highland Park and Buffalo Grove

PRICE: $21 to $25

WEBSITE: www.40somethingtshirts.com

WHERE SOLD: Online only at www.40somethingtshirts.com

FOR MORE INFORMATION: 847.368-1895 or andreaforeman@aol.com

Ticklebugbaby Changing Kit

After having a baby, Tina Pavlou-Chip realized that there was no easy way to make a diaper change easy, especially when she was out of the house. With the help of her mom Kathi Pavlou, the Ticklebugbaby changing kit was born. They launched the product in January. The Ticklebugbaby kit has a comfortable changing pad, and puts everything you need for a diaper change at your fingertips. It is made in Chicago and can be washed and dried. After your little one is out of diapers you can take it with you and convert it to a tote bag.. Tina is a two time breast cancer survivor so each kit includes a breast self-exam card to help educate woman. Kathi lives right in Hobart, IN, and Kathi lives in Indianapolis.

PRICE: $49 and $54

WEBSITE: www.ticklebugbaby.com

WHERE SOLD: Online at www.ticklebugbaby.com and 12 boutiques in 5 states

FOR MORE INFORMATION: tina@ticklebugbaby.com

Shuella

Inventor Beckie Miller, a Chicago resident, was sick of ruining her shoes in the rain and looked for something to protect her them. She discovered there was nothing fashionable and functional that existed in the market to protect women's shoes; so she created a special "shoe umbrella" for her shoes. Shuellas wrap right around your shoes, heels, or boots. Sold in sizes 5 to 11, they come in hot pink, bright yellow, apple green, and classic black. They fold up into their own pouch to carry in your handbag or keep in the car.

PRICE: $49.95

WEBSITE: www.shuella.com

WHERE SOLD: Nordstrom, Michigan Ave; Sherise in Glencoe; Zitomers in New York, and 26 stores in London and Ireland including Harrods

FOR MORE INFORMATION: RMiller@Shuella.com or 312.543-0561

PODI

Inventor Dave Curry of Chicago came up with the idea of PODI while sitting on the beach one day. After looking at some shoes with zippers he came up with an idea that a shoe design could easily be changed if a zipper went around the whole base of the shoe. This would let new designs be zipped on and off whenever the wearer felt necessary, eliminating the need to buy a new pair of shoes every time a person got bored with their old design. Dave came up with the name PODI because in Greek it means foot. The company motto is "Dare to Change."

PRICE RANGE: $139 with additional design options for $19.99 each

WEBSITE: www.podiwear.com

WHERE SOLD: Online only at www.podiwear.com

CONTACT INFORMATION: dave@podiwear.com


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