Since we have so many members (40,000 of you!) who have taken the time to tell us about you and your family, I thought I would take the time to tell you a little about me and why I started PTPA. So here’s the deal: I had just sold my first company shortly before giving birth to my first child. I was one of those moms who knew I was not going to do well on mat leave without some grown up interaction. Don’t get me wrong, I was (and still am) madly in love with my daughter but I knew I would need something more than burping and feeding (my child of course). You know how ideas hit you at the oddest times? Well, I was bathing my daughter one evening, I was soaking wet from all of her splashing and I was struggling to get her slippery little body out of the tub and into a towel. I know you can picture exactly what I mean. Towel under your chin while you are trying to lift a baby out of the tub and bundle them up like a sausage. I had an epiphany (not to be confused with Tiffany’s which would have been nice too) moment. I thought there must be a better way to stay dry and gather up my baby safely into a towel without an extra pair of arms. Out of that struggle came my idea of the Kangaroo Towel. A pouch that a mom wears that keeps her dry during bath time and gives her a hooded pouch in which to hold the baby. They say that necessity is the mother of invention and I completely agree. I had my towel manufactured, ordered thousands of pieces and went about selling it store to store, one by one while i had a 9 month old at home and was already 3 months pregnant with my second ( yes, we entrepreneurs like to work fast!). I called every local paper, every television show I could figure out how to reach, to try and promote my towel. It was frustrating, ego deflating and I felt like I was reinventing the wheel. I looked up awards programs and came across one that looked very promising. All I had to do was pay a fee, send in a bunch of samples and in return if my towel was a winner, they would do all of the public relations work for me. They would reach out to the media, promote me on their site and tell all of the parents out there how great my product was. Plus as a bonus, I would get to read the evaluations from the testers. How cool is that? I pay them and they do it all for me! I knew there had to be a better way then what I had been doing. So I sent my samples and paid my fees and waited. 3 months later I got the fabulous news. I had won! Whoohoo! My product would for sure take off now! So immediately I went to their web site to login and find out next steps. Well, first step was to pay them to get my website listed on their site. Wait? Wasn’t that the whole point of the program? Okay, I payed to have my website listed on their site. Next I went to see my evaluations. Two sentences. you heard me, two sentences. “I liked this towel because it kept my baby dry.” Pretty earth shattering recommendation. I didn’t really need an awards company to tell me my towel worked well as a towel. Duh. Finally, the clincher, buy their Seal of Approval for $2000.00. Ummm, where exactly on your site did you mention anything about paying for your seal of approval? I get paying for it because of license fees etc. but how about a little forewarning? Well, okay, if it’s going to bring my product all of this amazing awareness, let’s bite the bullet and spend the bucks. Web site added, check. Seal added, check. Now what? Press Release that they promised? It’s been 6 years since it won and in fairness they never promised it would happen in this decade. So I sat around and waited for the orders to come in. And waited. And waited. Did I mention I am not a very patient person? The gist is that I got nothing, nada, zippo out of the program. I was right back at square one only $3000.00 poorer. Back to the phones I went, calling every retailer, making appointments, calling TV shows and pitching them on why they should feature my product. Then it hit me. My parents always taught me that if you think you can do it better than someone, do it better than someone. In the blink of an eye, while watching my daughter in a baby gym class, while I jotted down some ideas, Parent Tested Parent Approved was invented. That was it. I was going to start an awards program but the key difference was going to be that I was going to deliver on my promises. I was going to exceed the expectations of my clients. I was going to get them press, I was going to get their products on TV and I was going to give them valuable feedback at the same time from objective testers. PTPA was born. After a mere 3 years of business, we have been featured on over 40 morning shows including The Rachael Ray Show, we have featured at least 400 different products on TV shows, we ship thousands of free products to families across North America every year and our Seal is featured on over 500 products in the marketplace. We have clients who work with us continuously like Disney, Vtech, Microsoft and The Harlem Globetrotters and we have a long list of client testimonials telling us how ecstatic our clients are with the work we are doing for them. Do we have unhappy customers? Sure, every once in a while a company whose product hasn’t earned our seal gets pretty upset but the fact is, if a product is going to carry our Seal of Approval on it, it better meet our standards. I don’t care what brand has sent it to us, if it’s lousy then there isn’t a thing I can do about it. As parents, you trust the seal because it is being objectively tested by parents like you. That’s the trust our seal has earned, and we intend to keep your trust by approving the best of the best with your help.