Karin Davis and daughter, Kate, have a pretty normal mother-daughter relationship in many ways. They talk about the joys, frustrations and journey of motherhood. They look forward to the memories they’ll make as the years go on. They try to make life simpler and easier for their families. This is where the normal relationship is shaken up a bit.
While trying to simplify life, the Tumwater duo found bath time for Kate’s son, Dominick, to be one of the more discouraging tasks of the day. While looking after Dominick, Karin said she was transported back in time.
“It felt like déjà vu. I was instantly reminded how difficult the final stage of bath time—drying—can be. Getting the towel ready, trying to pick him up with it and remaining dry myself? It was all but impossible! It was around the time he was six months old when we all got fed up. We were all tired of struggling to get him dry and stay dry ourselves. We started wondering if there was a way to achieve both,” says Karin.
After searching for a product that would be more helpful in this endeavor, Karin and Kate realized they weren’t going to find an existing product that satisfied their wants and needs. They started looking at different ways to keep everyone dry, free from fuss and safe.
While doing research on infant accidents and their causes, Karin and Kate found an alarming statistic. There are over 43,000 injury-causing accidents involving toddlers and bath time. The two knew they were onto an idea that would help more than just their immediate family.
Karin and Kate knew they’d need to create a product that was simple, fun for children and easy to use time after time. They ran into a few design issues at the start. How to make sure both the pad and the towel stayed in place was a difficult one. By remaining focused on solving their own problem (and helping the countless other families with toddlers) they were able to come up with the current design.
Getting it manufactured was a different story. Karin was told by over 40 different manufacturers there wasn’t a way to design and build the product the way they wanted. This forced Karin to take a trip of over 3,000 miles from Tumwater with Dominick to meet with fellow inventors and discuss how to get Matimals to market. “If you don’t think that took determination and many meltdowns by both my two-year-old grandson and myself then you don’t know me,” says Karin, only half-jokingly.
Matimals aids in the bath time routine in a few different ways. One, with suction cups behind the animal’s ears, any Matimal quickly and easily snaps right onto the tub. Two, there are also two plastic hooks that hold your towel in place before you need it. You’ll never again have to hold your squirming, wet toddler in one hand while trying to prepare a towel. If you’ve ever tried to, you know that this can be an accident waiting to happen. Lastly, the landing pad is highly versatile. You can use it to kneel next to the tub, using it to comfortably play and keep a watchful eye on the baby.
When a baby is done getting clean, Mom, Dad or any other caretaker can lift the child onto it, with the dry towel held in place, and dry on a padded surface. Kate says this is a lot easier than trying to hold him against her body or lay him on a hard bathroom countertop. This way the child stays comfy and the adult stays dry.
Karin and Kate are hopeful their new product can help reduce the frustration and mishaps surrounding the bathing of a baby. They are now one step closer to that goal. In December of 2016, they received a response letter from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It was a difficult process to complete, but going through it was worth it.
“Repeatedly, I was told we’d never get granted a patent without multiple rejections from the patent examiners. But in my heart, applying for a patent meant I truly believed in my idea. It proved I felt the drying mats solved a problem in a way that nobody else had thought of, a way that hadn’t been done before.
She adds, “As a small business owner, I felt overwhelming happiness and gratitude when I was granted approval for not one, but two patents on our Matimals drying mats without any rejections. It feels great knowing the patents provide our company with legal protection.”
You can learn more about the product and see the four Matimals available at Matimals.com.