Tamar Migdal Azous and Paul Azous both attended Camp Solomon Schechter as kids, but they didn’t connect until years later. Now married seven-plus years, they have two curly-haired daughters ages 5 and 2 with another on the way. Last year they launched their own product, the Grubby, a lightweight coverall jumpsuit for babies and toddlers to wear outside, during mealtime, for art projects, and anything that involves making a mess.
How did the idea for the Grubby come about?
Tamar Azous: As you know, here in Seattle it rains — a lot. I like to make sure my kids get outside as much as possible to one of the many beautiful playgrounds in our area. But after a steady drizzle many months of the year, playgrounds are a damp and muddy mess. If I forgot to bring a towel to dry off slides or swings, my daughters would be cold, wet, sad, and dirty. Even when it isn’t soggy outside, my kids love to play in the sandbox and roll around on the ground, so their clothes were constantly getting grass stains and their pockets would be filled with sand after a play date.
How did you end up inventing it?
TA: I would complain to Paul about the playground situation, and he would say, “Someone should really invent something to go over kids’ clothes.” So I began to test out different outerwear options and eventually developed the Grubby. Whenever I took my daughters to the playground in their Grubbys, other moms would come over and ask where we got such a wonderful product. So we decided to launch Grubbywear as a family business.
What was the process like?
TA: It took us about a year from the “aha” moment to market. We worked with a designer off Craigslist on the perfect design with the best materials. After testing out prototypes and getting feedback we created the final version. We then figured out the manufacturing with the designer so we could produce the Grubby in bulk.
What makes the Grubby different from other gear?
TA: It is mudproof, waterproof, grassproof, sandproof, easy to put over clothes, and machine washable. It opens and fastens from the back, so that your child can easily slip into and out of it, with no need to remove shoes.
What advice would you give parents interested in creating a product for kids?
TA: If you feel that there is an unmet need for a product, chances are you’re not the only one. Poll your mom friends — they will let you know if your idea is awesome or not. They’ll also be your free testers and viral marketers. It’s been wonderful to share the Grubby with friends and lots of other parents who want their kids to have fun while staying dry!