Our InvENtor Spotlight for January is on Mary Kisko! Mary has been a member of the Edison Nation community since 2008 and is an active Insider!
Where is your hometown?
I was raised and still reside in Toms River, New Jersey.
What is your professional background?
I am professional Registered Nurse Case Manager.
How did you initially hear about Edison Nation?
One day, I was surfing the internet thinking about what else I could do with my invention, and I came across “Everyday Edisons.” What I quickly noticed was that the products from Season 1 seemed like simple ideas. I thought my dog leash invention would be a good fit for the show. The website was announcing open audition casting calls for a chance for a spot on Season 2!
I thought to myself; I am an inventor, I own a patent, a prototype and live in New Jersey. I knew I could easily travel to Washington, D.C. and attend the casting call. I just needed to get my husband on board to travel with me. I remember telling him it wasn’t going to cost anything to attend, just the hotel. It turned out to be a very memorable and exciting weekend for us! I auditioned and was chosen as an Everyday Edison for Season 2!
What inspired you to start inventing?
I have always been a dreamer and I was inspired by my first invention idea.
While I was out walking my dog I wanted to be hands-free, allowing my arms to swing up and down to get a good power walk while simultaneously walking the dog. The rest is history.
I invented “Walkies” which the show re-named AeroLeash. Being a Nurse, I thought the leash should have an armband that fits on the humorous portion of the arm similar to a blood pressure cuff allowing the user to be hands-free. I took my product idea to a patent attorney and he said that it wasn’t able to be patented because it could be argued that you could take any leash and slide it up the arm. My partner, Lisa Glickstein, thought about the pulling tension and the need to separate the pulling tension between the user and the dog. We added a bungee cord and that’s what made the product able to be patented.
Do you find that invention ideas come to you or do you have to go after them?
I find that I invent very simple products that I wish for, or do use myself. In other words, I have to relate to and have some passion for the product. I would probably never invent a kitchen product because I am not a fan of cooking. Instead, I invented a great doggie toy that I enjoy playing with my dogs. I got the idea for the product from Edison Nation submission challenge. The challenge provoked me to come up with a game that I love to play with my two dogs. The invention idea, as I recall, was developed instantly and easily. The product was presented twice but unfortunately not licensed.
I also listen to people’s complaints all day and I think of myself as a problem solver. Ideas can often come to me through listening to people complain about how something works or should work. I think about the problem and I want to solve the problem for them.
When did you come up with your first great idea?
Probably over 20 years ago, with my dog leash product.
Have you ever collaborated with another inventor(s) on a project? If so, how was that experience for you?
Yes, as stated, my co-worker at the time and friend Lisa Glickstein thought of the bungee cord component of the AeroLeash invention.
I think I work better with a partner. I like having a partner to not only share my ideas but also to slow me down. When I get an idea, I find that I am very impulsive and I want to get the idea out of my head and I immediately want to submit it to Edison Nation.
It’s funny, recently working with a partner, I discovered that by collaborating with someone assisted me to slow down. This actually helped us make a more attractive prototype and presentation. I find the other benefits of working with other inventors are accountability, creativity and hopefully honest objective feedback. I also find it very helpful to play off each other.
What are some general industry trends you have noticed recently?
More invention TV shows like “Shark Tank,” which have helped normalize the public thinking that invention ideas comes from everyday people. Companies also seem to be more open to listening to new ideas from ordinary people and that’s a good thing.
You have been an EN member since 2008, can you provide us with some details around your experiences and journey to date?
Being a member of Edison Nation has definitely been a positive experience for me. I was here in the beginning and was at that time considered a more active member then I am now.
In this community, we share the commonality of hoping and dreaming of one day getting our product on the store shelf.
Members are always there to support, encourage, intellectualize and even, at times, allow the member to vent. It’s a wonderful community and I hope to always to be a member.
What advice would you tell others embarking on their own invention journeys?
My lovely mother Jean Gosnell, assigned me an adjective and it seemed to stick with me, she said, I have persistence. I believe it because it took a lot of persistence to get my first idea patented, developed and then to become an Everyday Edison. Inventors need to be persistent, objective and understand that inventing is really a business.
What would you consider as your biggest failure and what did you learn from it?
Maybe I held on to my dream of AeroLeash obtaining a licensing deal way too long. I needed a reality check. I learned that you have to let go of that invention and move on.
Having a fear that you’re never going to get a product to market is a big failure and “wasted energy.”
To me, not trying is failing.
I learned not to be afraid to fail because I truly believe that there are no failures, only lessons to be learned.
What are some other fun facts about yourself that you’d like to share with the EN community?
I love the nursing profession. I truly believe I am doing God’s work every day in helping people. I also get to be a wife, mom, grandmom and inventor! I am an extremely outgoing individual and enjoy being with people! Oh yeah, and I love Zumba classes!