This grandma went from unemployed to entrepreneur in no time. Learn how a grandchild inspired a whole new kind of photo frame. The story of Zat’sWho
Playing with her granddaughter inspired this successful business.
If you’ve ever shown a one-year-old a photo, you’ve probably had the experience: a big glop of sticky drool on your precious family picture.
It’s a common experience. And it was duly noted by grandma Trish Cooper when she was helping her granddaughter identify family members with snap shots.
The year was 2009, and Cooper, 52, had just been let go from her job as chief financial officer for a telecommunications company. To comfort herself, she began spending more time with 8-month-old granddaughter, Gianna, using pictures to teach her who’s who in the family.
Inspiration struck when Gianna started destroying Cooper’s family photos.
It was a million dollar idea: Why not create soft, water-proof picture frames, flexible frames that could be used like a flash card game with babies and toddlers?
Cooper did some research on the concept, and found nothing remotely like it on the market. So she moved forward, designing a variety of colorful non-toxic see-through frames, with easy-slide slots for pictures. To Cooper, they were more than picture frames. Instead they represented “a hands-on-sensory teaching game that protected family photos at the same time.”
She gave the product an appropriately fun name: Zatswho.
With her granddaughter as her inspiration, Cooper knew who her business partner should be – her daughter Carrie Schwinof, little Gianna’s mom.
After all, Schinof, who holds a marketing degree, was already giving her feedback.
Together mother and daughter churned out a variety of colorful frames and packed them into little tote bags. In fact, they put together the first 500 sets — and sold them all! Soon they were mass-producing 6,000 sets.
Today, preschoolers across American are benefiting from what Cooper’s website describes as “an innovative family themed educational and sensory flashcard game” that teaches facial recognition and other skills.
Cooper says she loves watching her granddaughter’s face light up when she recognizes family faces. It’s a thrill she’ll never grow tired of.
The revenue Zatswho generates is good too.
But money isn’t the only goal, says Cooper’s daughter Carrie Schwinof. The family business is also about love and staying connected.
Carrie Schwinof and Trish Cooper exemplify an axiom featured on our website: Think unique.
Together, they invented Zatswho – a soft photo frame flash card game for babies. Now Why Didn’t I Think of That?