WAXHAW – A Waxhaw woman is one step closer to making carrying your baby around much easier and more fashionable.
Lily Winnail recently won a $15,000 grant in the Huggies MomInspired contest for her Padalily, a device she’s created to wrap around the handle of a baby car seat to provide padding for a person’s arm. The grant money will go toward the production and distribution of Padalilies.
When she had her third child, Winnail knew she wanted to find a way to help mothers with the pain and bruising that results from carrying a car seat. With the size and weight of most car seats, she says carrying them with your hands is difficult so most moms hook car seats on their arms, resulting in soreness and bruising.
“After my third child was born I realized how much my arms hurt. It was killing me because the car seat is awkward and heavy,” Winnail explained.
She began the process by creating two-dozen Padalilies with different materials by sewing them and handing them out to her friends. After hearing positive results from those who used the Padalilies, Winnail decided it was time to go out and see what local stores thought of her product.
“It was such a rewarding thing to walk into Charlotte stores and have them want my product,” Winnail said. Charlotte now is the largest base of stores that sell her product.
Five years after the creation of the Padalily, in 2007, Winnail finally received her U.S. Patent last month for the product and hopes to see Padalilies reach stores all over the United States. The Padalily currently is in 1,000 stores ranging from some in Charlotte, to up and down the East Coast and in Dallas.
Winnail learned about the Huggies contest on Facebook while looking for ways to expand her product. The grant has allowed her to find manufacturers and sales representatives to help get her product into stores across the U.S.
“To have someone else make them, ship them out and take the orders really frees up my time to be the creative person I was when I came up with the idea,” she said.
With others now helping her business, Winnail spends her time designing new patterns and fabrics for the Padalilies, which is what she’s wanted to focus on from the very beginning. She also hopes to develop her new addition to the Padalily – a canopy that can be added over the car seat.
“I just came up with a new idea of a canopy for the Padalily so that moms can cover their children from the sun,” she said.
Without the Huggies grant, Winnail said she would not have been able to grow her business in the way that it has.
“I’m really thankful for the opportunity that Huggies has given me to grow and expand my business. I just want to tell all of the other moms out there if you have an idea to go for it,” Winnail said.
The Huggies MomInspired Grant for $15,000 was given to 11 moms in 2012. Applications for 2013 open in the spring.