The majority of entrepreneurs get their start by inventing something that solves a problem in their own life, and then concluding that enough others will enjoy their "solution." Such is the case for Joanna Rein, inventor of the Soggy Doggy Doormat, and quite possibly Larchmont's newest entrepreneur.
It all began with her dog, or more specifically, a rainy day mess made by her dog. Joanna tried towels, piles of sweatshirts, and doormats of all types, but nothing she tried worked effectively to prevent the dog's muddy paws from tracking into the house. Then one day about three years ago, while watching a ShamWow commercial, the lightbulb went off for Rein. That absorbent chamois fabric might be just the thing to solve this problem!
She bought some microfiber towels at Foley Hardware, brought them to The Clothes Doctor, and created her first prototype. The trouble was, it was bright orange and her dog was terrified of it! Wouldn't go near it, no way, no how. Just stepped over it! Rein put the mat in the basement and gave up for awhile.
Then last winter, with this recession already over a year old, Rein read several articles about the pet market being the one bright spot in this economy, growing over five percent despite most other industries declining. She began to think again about her attractive absorbent door mat idea.
Countless hours of research were needed before she finally found a fabric manufacturer willing and able to work to her specifications. Many local Larchmonters helped her along the way, including Caroline Delassa, a freelance graphic designer.
Her first shipment of Soggy Doggy Doormats was finally delivered to her doorstep on November 1. She's been selling them directly to local retailers: Foley Hardware, Chow Down, Larchmont Floral Designs, Pet Pantry, and Wendy Gee.