Livliga

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Friday, July 29, 2016

Adventures of a Healthy Lifestyle Start Up--Becoming an Inventor Out of a Personal Need

A Drawing of the LivSpoon Invention

Somehow we think the only place we can really measure up food is in our kitchen in our own home because we are relegated to using ugly measuring cups. Even then it seems so awkward if we are only measuring our own food. The challenge is to be consistent, inclusive and be able to measure all servings whether we are serving up meals in our kitchen, at the dinner table, at a backyard barbecue, as an alfresco dinner or on a picnic. This has certainly been one of my frustrations and, honestly, pet peeves.

I have always believed that there had to be a solution for measuring up right sized portions wherever we eat...and in a way that was discrete, attractive and easy. I am a firm believer that healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle is relevant for everyone, not just the person challenged with weight management or healthy issues. In fact, the greatest gift we can give ourselves and the ones we love is the gift of health. It starts with the food we prepare and serve. But how to make it part of your everyday way of life?

It wasn't easy finding a solution. In fact, I had to become an inventor to solve the problem. There was nothing out there remotely close to what I wanted. I wanted a serving spoon with measurement; something you could use at the table as well as in the kitchen... or on a picnic. I wanted to use it for cooking as well as serving. It had to be attractive and it had to be comfortable in the hand, more like a serving spoon than a measuring cup.

There were other features I wanted as well. It had to be durable and portable so I could use them where ever I was serving up food. I also wanted to be able to hook it on the side of a bowl or pot for convenience. I hate when spoons fall into the middle of a bowl so you have to fish then out and then clean them up so the next person can use it. It is no better having to put a dirty spoon on a counter top or table surface, making the area all goopy and adding to your clean up. I even imagined being able to hang the spoon upside down over the bowl or pot so whatever sauce, soup, batter remained in the spoon could drip back in the bowl, leaving the spoon clean and ready to serve up a fresh serving for the next person.



Of course I would need a set of spoons so I could have different measurements for different serving sizes. I loved the idea that you could hang the appropriately sized spoon with the specific food you were serving-- a cup for the vegetable or half cup for your grain/starch, for instance. And they had to be dishwasher safe and stackable so they would be easy to store. I wanted them to be able to sit flat on a surface so if you were measuring out ingredients for a recipe it wouldn't spill as you were getting your recipe organized. It was important to me that the material used for the spoons, as well as the packaging, be eco-friendly. And it needed to be competitively priced so it could be accessible to as many people as possible.

What complicated it even more was that I had also invented dinnerware with measurement in the form of circles of varying sizes on plates. The spoons needed to map to those circles. We also wanted the food served to look plentiful. This meant the bowl of the spoon needed to be deep and rounded.



Inventors can seem a little crazy because we tend to imagine what other people think is impossible. Listing everything I wanted in a serving spoon with measurement....what was to become LivSpoons, seemed an impossible mission to most I talked to. Then I was introduced to a young man studying to become an architect, Dusty Buck, who believed in what I wanted to accomplish and, even better, was not daunted by the challenge. Meeting and partnering with the right people is key when you are creating new product. Guaranteed you can't do it alone and you certainly can't do it with people who don't believe in what you are trying to achieve. It takes an ever changing team of believers. It also takes time...and patience...and perseverance...and a never ending attitude that all problems can be solved, regardless of the stage of your invention.

After a number of years, including several iterations of prototypes, hiring an engineering firm for big bucks and multiple fits and starts to find a factory that could manufacture our spoons, we succeeded in producing the spoons I imagined. Believe it or not everything on my wish list was incorporated in to each spoon! Recently we also received a patent for the spoons. Dreams do come true.

Now I have the spoons I have always wanted. They live by my stove, ready to be used at every meal, when I measure for recipes, when I am canning or baking and when I want to grab and go for a fun picnic at a local park. They are a cornerstone for my healthy lifestyle. And more and more people are discovering LivSpoons too. It can't get better than this--transforming a personal need into a problem-solving business.









Interested in owning your own? Check out the Livliga Website for more information.