Female Disruptors: How Shari Hammond is shaking up the community of inventors
My goal in life is not to shake things up. My goal is to continue to do what I love — to continue to invent and bring to market consumer products that make people’s lives easier and more efficient. My goal is to make a living for my son and I. If what I do happens to shake things up for the consumer, then that is an added bonus.
As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shari Hammond, Inventor of Cabinet Caddy and Go Hang It. Shari Hammond is the inventor of a number of consumer products including Cabinet Caddy and Go Hang It. A single mother of a super ‘tween 12-year-old son, she is a woman of faith, an entrepreneur, a product developer, graphic designer, lacrosse/basketball mom, 9Round kickboxer and dog lover. Her company, now called Inspired Product Design Group, first started as a hobby between Shari and her father, Ron Hunt, while he was an engineer for IBM. Ron enjoyed designing products made of wood that were functional; LP holders, bookends, calendars. Having success at local trade shows, the two decided when Shari was 8 years old to open a kiosk store in Highland Mall in Austin, TX. It was a big hit. Shari recalls late nights decorating and stocking the kiosk, taking naps in the car and working weekends at the mall.
About 10 years later, her dad took early retirement from IBM and together they launched CD3 Storage Systems, Inc. with the design of our Discgear compact disc holders. At the age of 19, Shari had her first patent. Next came Perfect Petzzz, lifelike breathing puppies and kittens, followed by a break when Shari went on to handle marketing for Ronco.
In 2018, Shari and her father went back to their roots — — developing products. Through Inspired Product Design Group, products include Cabinet Caddy, a modular organizer for kitchen cabinets/cupboards and Go Hang It, an all-in-one picture hanging and leveling kit.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was born to invent. Tinkering with products runs in the family. From a young age, I always remember my dad working on “projects” in his off time. At work, he was an engineer for IBM, holding over 100 patents. And, in his off time, we worked together in the garage on our latest ideas. In fact, at the age of 8, we began selling our first products in a mall kiosk. We were able to work full-time together once he retired and was out of school in the 90s.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
All of the products I have invented are disruptors in the home. They disrupt the “status quo” and change and impact your home for the better. One of my products, Cabinet Caddy, offers a better way to organize your cluttered spaces and unorganized things. The other, Go Hang It, is a game-changer in picture hanging, with zero measuring required and no more swiss cheese walls.
We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
This one is EASY. My father is my biggest mentor. He is my sounding board and biggest fan. I am a single mom and have been through many rough patches in life that I didn’t plan on. When I first got divorced, my father took care of my son, then only 18 months old, on Friday nights so that I could have a break. Now that my son is 12, he helps me shuttle him to school, basketball and lacrosse practice and he is at every single game.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
1. “How do you eat an elephant…one bite at a time.” This is a big one for me. My company, Inspired Product Development Group, is a small, startup company meaning I have to wear many hats. I constantly make lists, prioritize and start marking things off, one-by-one.
2. “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” There are multiple ways to get a job done. Sometimes you end up on a path that just isn’t working. When that happens, you can’t give up. You just have to dig deep and figure it out which is what I have done with both Cabinet Caddy and Go Hang It.
3. “Fight. Grind. Repeat.” Every day brings challenges. You have to get up, tackle them and move on to the next thing. Daily tasks can sometimes get to be mundane. In fact, my dad and I sometimes greet each other in the mornings saying “It’s Groundhog Day!” Each morning, the first thing we do is print and get the orders ready to ship. Then we ship them. Sometimes there are a ton of orders and some days there may just be a few. However, nothing is more gratifying than watching something you created get boxed up and shipped out of the door.
How are you going to shake things up next?
My goal in life is not to shake things up. My goal is to continue to do what I love — — to continue to invent and bring to market consumer products that make people’s lives easier and more efficient. My goal is to make a living for my son and I. If what I do happens to shake things up for the consumer, then that is an added bonus.
Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?
I love the podcast “How I Built This with Guy Raz”. He interviews successful entrepreneurs and they discuss their businesses and the challenges along the way. It’s inspiring to hear about these amazing house-hold brands and business owners that have had the same or similar challenges that I have….and they MADE IT!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
My movement would be that single moms (aka supermoms) can be entrepreneurs too. This makes so much sense to me because single moms are in the business of overcoming obstacles. They have to constantly develop ways to make their lives work and be more efficient. They have to think outside of the box. Single Super Moms ROCK!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Poop or get off the pot,” I say this all the time. Ideas are great, but implementation is key. Turning those ideas into tangible concepts such as Cabinet Caddy and Go Hang It are the only way to move forward. The grit is in the daily tasks…in other words “Poop or get off the pot”.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!