Sunday, May 18, 2008

Business based on a ball. A Thumball that is. Mary Pembleton bolted upright in bed with a grand vision. For some time, she had been using a soft mini soccer ball with words on each panel in her special needs classes in Haddon Township elementary schools. Why, she wondered aloud to her husband, Gregg, couldn’t that invention be taken to the masses, not only as an educational tool, but as a marketing device? It took a year to patent the idea, form a company called Answers In Motion, then several months to find a manufacturer and attend toy conventions before Thumball came to fruition. The Maple Shade couple took out a home equity loan to get things started. The concept of the colorful Thumball is simple. In the educational versions, each panel is imprinted with a word, picture or phrase. Players toss the ball, look under their thumb, and answer the question, identify the picture or list a category. They’ve sold about 50,000 of the balls, mostly through their Web site, since the first shipment last September. It’s also been featured on a Philadelphia television station and they got to ask a question and show their product on a recent CNBC episode of “The Big Idea With Donny Deutsch.”

1 comment:

The Pembletons said...

Taking an idea from thought to a finished product is the most rewarding and terrorizing things we have ever done. Of course taking an infant from thought to adulthood is equally so. I hope more and more people will follow their true sense of self and take those unheard of risks and revel in the new way life feels when you do.Well meaning friends and families may try ardently to dissuade you but you will know inside what to keep and what to toss from their advice.Go forward brave new inventors and share your story on the way.