A Perfect Match: Two Tennis Loving Moms Team Up To Turn Passion into Cash.

You may not see this year's tennis Olympians wearing a new product invented by two tennis loving moms, but just wait.

Recently, I met
two amazing women entrepreneurs whose new product launch has the power
of a Venus Williams serve. Ernabel Demill and Meredith Kasun,
co-founders of Bodystyle Athletics™, were selected for the Elevator Pitch segment on MSNBC's "Your Business". As luck would have it, Benjamin Nemo, CEO of Scorpio Ventures
and I were the two panelists. Now, I'm not a tennis player. In fact,
I've never been good at or interested in anything sports related, but
their product, the TennisRAQ, blew me away. It's so simple it makes you
ask: Why hasn't this been done before. Perhaps, that's the reason,
after only six months in business; Ernable and Meredith are enjoying
some success.

Before I tell you
more, let me first explain the product. The TennisRAQ (pronounced
tennis rack) is an accessory for tennis enthusiasts. It's a type of
belt that fits around the waist, fastens in the front with a Velcro
closure, and holds up to three tennis balls.

Ernabel and
Meredith met at a tennis clinic where they became perfect partners.
They'd been playing at the same level for about the same amount of
time. And they are both passionate about tennis. Their personal lives
were also on parallel tracks. Both were stay-at-home moms who were
looking for their next career move because their children had reached
school age. One day, they started talking about how they were tired of
chasing after and picking up tennis balls because their tennis attire
didn't have pockets. Of course, you can always place balls underneath a
tennis skirt, but they're bulky and not very flattering. Plus, neither
of them liked wearing skirts when the weather gets cooler. Some women,
including Meredith, prefer pants year-round and because they don't have
pockets, there is no place for your tennis balls.

Then it dawned on
them: How about a belt that holds the tennis balls for you. So they
went to work. Drawing upon Meredith's background in fashion, the duo
put their heads together and created a functional tennis belt they
named the Tennis RAQ.

Next they took
the necessary steps to protect their invention and set up their
business as a Limited Liability Company. With the newly manufactured
products in hand, they headed to the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells,
California where they set up a booth and created a buzz at the event.
(First picture to the left.) Since then they've sponsored other tennis
events, successfully obtained positive media coverage and secured
placement in a number of posh tennis stores. Check out their Facebook page.
It's
difficult to launch a new product, even if you're already an
established business because start-up costs can be expensive. Then once
you've got the product produced, you need additional funds for
marketing and distribution. That's why Ernabel and Meredith were
pitching on "Your Business" – they need seed capital to help them
promote and sell their product. During her pitch (Meredith modeled),
Ernabel said, "There are 25 million amateur tennis players in the U.S.
Even if only 10 percent find the TennisRAQ a "must-have" tennis
accessory, then we'll be a successful business."

 

You can find pictures of the TennisRAQ on the Bodystyle Athletics web site. 

If
you have a great idea and you'd like to more about launching a new
product, or if you have thoughts, ideas or questions feel free to
contact me. (SWS@sbtv.com)
Enjoy this great quote I found on the Bodysytle Athletics web site: 

In tennis, one can learn a good lesson for life:
The person who serves the best, quite often,
is the winner.

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