Making Something From Nothing: Mia Monzidelis Of Power Pony On How To Go From Idea To Launch
An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis
Every challenge you face is an opportunity to make the product and brand more meaningful.
As a part of our series called “Making Something From Nothing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mia Monzidelis. Mia Monzidelis Founder and Inventor (11 years old) started making Power Pony when she was five years old. A horse enthusiast, this young lady always wants to ride a horse, so she invented one that she could ride anytime! Imagined by Kids for Kids and built to ride like a real horse. A handcrafted Power Pony is powered by a patent pending ZüME engine. It is iOS connected, fully interactive, and guaranteed to provide fun, smiles and laughter on many exciting riding adventures.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?
My name is Mia Monzidelis and I am the inventor and founder of Power Pony. I am 11 years old and in fifth grade. I live in Long Island, New York. When I was four years old, I begged my dad to let me begin riding horses. He took me to my first lesson and I was so happy. I have been riding ever since. I LOVVVVE horses and ever since I was a little kid, I have wanted to own a horse. Living where I do, I can’t own one because mom and dad said we don’t have the space. I never gave up on my dream, so I came up with a solution, the Power Pony, which rides like a real horse that I can ride anywhere, anytime.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I’m a little young to have a life lesson quote, but now I always say, “Never underestimate a kid.” I know that many inventions start with an imagination, a passion, and a dream. I believe that you should keep your creativity alive no matter how old you are. If you have something that you want or something that you believe in, you should try your hardest to make it happen and don’t be afraid to fail.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
A book that helped inspire me is called “What Do You Do With An Idea.” I received this book when I was a very little girl. It’s the story of an idea and the child who helps to bring the concept into the world. The story helps to inspire an idea and let the idea grow and then see what happens. I loved this story because I am a child who had an idea and I worked on that idea and have watched it grow into an actual reality! Now it’s out in the market and many kids are having so much joy using Power Pony. It has been super fun and very successful.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. There is no shortage of good ideas out there. Many people have good ideas all the time. But people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. Can you share a few ideas from your experience about how to overcome this challenge?
Like myself, I knew that a lot of kids like to ride horses, but it’s not always possible. I wanted a horse to ride whenever I possibly could. The products out there didn’t excite me, so I took my “want” and made my own. Lucky for me, my dad was blown away by my idea, and thanks to him, we were able to take what I imagined and make it come to life. My advice is if you really want to do something, don’t let anything or anyone stop you. Turning my dream into reality took a lot of time, hard work, research, and many failures to get it right. Failure was an opportunity for me to learn and help make it better. We tested many samples and at times it was frustrating, but we kept going until we got it perfect — I never gave up. I wanted the product to be great and the entire team spent so much time working on the Power Pony to make that happen. Being patient and finding solutions were sometimes tough. Even though I am a kid, it is possible to imagine something and bring it to life with a great team’s help, belief, and determination.
Often when people think of a new idea, they dismiss it saying someone else must have thought of it before. How would you recommend that someone go about researching whether or not their idea has already been created?
My dad always said to me, it’s not just the idea, it’s our application that will set us apart. Ride-on horses have been around for a long time, but NONE of them do what the Power Pony does. The first thing we did together was look at and review anything we could find in the market to understand what we had to make ours more unique and much better than anything else out there. We worked very closely with our design team and our patent attorney to make sure that what we imagined in the Power Pony was unique and could be patented. My recommendation is that no matter what you find, if you really want to do it, you should because how you do it will set you apart. Our brand statement is “imagined by kids for kids” and one day, I would like to help other kids bring their ideas to life as my dad did with me.
For the benefit of our readers, can you outline the steps one has to go through, from when they think of the idea, until it finally lands in a customer’s hands? In particular, we’d love to hear about how to file a patent, how to source a good manufacturer, and how to find a retailer to distribute it.
Imagination, a need, a want, a passion all lead to an idea.
● Identify the problem — is what I am looking for or want available? For me, what I wanted and envisioned didn’t exist — we knew the Power Pony could be the solution.
● Consult a design firm to sketch the idea and create drawings, come up with ideas for materials.
● Create a proof of concept in a prototype to make sure what is imagined works.
● Research and meet with various manufacturers to choose the right ones.
Do the Research — A good attorney will help.
● Trademark searches.
● Patent searches.
● Retain a law firm to apply for patents if applicable.
● Conduct consumer market studies and validation of the product.
Build your brand.
● Decide what you stand for.
● Develop a marketing strategy.
● Graphic design for logos and branding.
● Website development.
● Spend appropriate time testing samples, redesigning, and coming up with solutions.
● Alpha product testing — these were the first rideable samples.
● Beta product testing — better and improved but not final.
● Final production field testing.
Building the Team
● Marketing team.
● Social Media.
● Operations and finance.
Obtain Licenses & Certifications.
● Find out about what business you plan to be in and make sure you are applicable to each country’s laws for safety.
Shipping, Storage & Delivery.
● Retain a shipping company to get the product into containers and shipped ● Contract trucking to get the product to warehouses for storage and, ultimately, shipping to customers.
We are currently not selling in any retail stores. My product is only sold on our website, powerpony.com.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Started Leading My Company” and why?
● Be patient because the process takes a long time — it takes a lot of time, energy, and patience to get it right — for Power Pony, we started planning in the Fall of 2017. Everything that we needed to do to get it ready for launch, all during Covid, was A LOT. It took about three years to get the product done and ready for launch.
● Every challenge you face is an opportunity to make the product and brand more meaningful.
● Pick your partners wisely — when we first began the planning phase, we partnered with team members we thought shared the same excitement as us, and who were aligned well with our goals. Along the way, this changed, and we made some decisions to find and partner with the right people. Having the right team is critical for success — we now have that team!
● Videos are very impactful, and boy, do I do A LOT of videos — in getting ready to launch, I filmed a few videos that shared my story and that we thought would be helpful for our consumers. We learned that many consumers weren’t reading our manual and our instructions, so we decided to make it easy for them and create videos instead — check them out on powerpony.com. I have been making fun videos since I’m four, so this is a breeze for me!
● Every failed sample brings learning and, ultimately, success — as various versions of samples arrived and we continued to test them, we found things that we needed to enhance. We wanted to make it better, perfect. The testing allowed us to do just that. In addition, we have made cosmetic enhancements along the way that more clearly align with our “imagined by kids for kids” branding.
Let’s imagine that a reader reading this interview has an idea for a product that they would like to invent. What are the first few steps that you would recommend that they take?
Identify if their product is a “need” or a “want” and who their consumers will be. Research to see what else is out there. If there are similar products, understand how they can make their idea different, better, and stand out. Ride-on horses and unicorns existed when I came up with my idea, but nothing rideable with a powered engine, which is what I created.
There are many invention development consultants. Would you recommend that a person with a new idea hire such a consultant, or should they try to strike out on their own?
I believe that if you have an idea and you think it will spark interest in others to purchase it because either it doesn’t currently exist or maybe you can create something better, just go for it. You will need help from people you can trust and people who have expertise. If you need to hire a consultant, they should sign an agreement of confidence and if they believe in your product as much as you do, maybe that will be easy, but please pick your partners wisely and make sure that your best interests and your idea’s best interest are being looked after. Nobody can replace what you bring to the table, so don’t simply rely on experts.
What are your thoughts about bootstrapping vs looking for venture capital? What is the best way to decide if you should do either one?
First, you need to understand how much money it will cost to make your idea come to life, and my dad was super helpful in teaching me about that. Once you know that, BOOTSTRAP as long as you can. Prove everybody wrong, and prove to the people that believe in your idea that they were right. At some point, you may need to raise funds, and that’s OK, but getting past many of the first hurdles like trademarks, design, and working samples will make your idea more valuable quickly. I would suggest a friend and family round first, when and if you need the funds. If you believe in what you are doing, it will be so worth it.
Ok. We are nearly done. Here are our final questions. How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
I learned about the importance of being charitable and giving back at a very young age, and I know it means a lot to others to be able to help them. Since starting Power Pony, I have partnered with the Family and Children’s Association to donate some of my profits to help the many people their organization supports. Not only did I make my own donation, but I also created a video message to help bring in other donations during their year-end appeal in December 2021.
You are an inspiration to a great many people. 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.
I am currently partnering with an organization that provides services to children and families within my community. If I could inspire a movement, it would be to encourage all capable people within all communities to support organizations such as this — providing shelter for those in need, including runaways and people living in homes where they are abused; healthcare support for those in need of wellness and mental disabilities, etc. Helping and supporting our communities is important to me and should be for everyone.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
I would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with Aaron Judge from the New York Yankees. I wish to meet with Aaron because he is my favorite player on my favorite baseball team. I mainly want to meet with him because he started an organization, the “All Rise Foundation,” that inspires children and youth to become responsible citizens. I would love to hear more about this, especially how and why he started this foundation and everything he is doing with it.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.