"Family HangUps" into Business Venture

"Family HangUps" into Business Venture

Kathy Ragan-Masters, a Kansas City, North graphic artist and mother of two, was rocking her youngest daughter, Korinne, to sleep one night a couple of years ago when an idea came to her. "My daughter loved to look at pictures of our family," Ragan- Masters said, "And I thought how nice it would be if I had a way to hang photos on the side of her crib to comfort her and help her get to sleep."

She shared the idea with her friend Brenda Maynard, a talented seamstress.Maynard, also a Kansas City, North mother of two, agreed to partner with Ragan-Masters to create some prototypes of the product she envisioned. Each was "test marketed" by two-year-old Korinne, who was delighted with the concept.

"Every night she would point to each picture and talk about it and then lay down for sleep," Ragan-Masters said. Scientific studies support Ragan-Masters discovery. "Several studies have shown the importance of visual stimulation on a baby's growth and development," she said. And, the value of the photo panel grows exponentially with the child.

"Korinne grew out of her crib, but she still loved her HangUps," Ragan-Masters said. The solution was an easy one. Simply hang the photo panel on the wall in the toddler's room. Now, four-year-old Korinne enjoys talking about the pictures of her. It's a great way to build conversation skills. "Korinne even counts the 'twinkle stars' at top, " Ragan-Masters said. And, her six-year-old big sister, Kala, asked for her own "Hang Ups," too."She likes to fill hers with photos of friends and her latest accomplishments all by herself", Ragan-Masters said.

Maynard saw another group that could appreciate some "HangUps." She realized how much her grandmother would have appreciated one when she was in a nursing home. The product fits nicely on the front of a walker, so she could have taken her family photos along with her wherever she went. "In fact," Ragan-Masters said, "we've had several customers order them for relatives that have Alzheimer's to help them remember family and friends." At the suggestion of one pleased customer, a panel has been added to the back of the product for seniors with walkers to use as a tote. Ragan-Master's said there has been positive feedback about the photo panel being made of cloth with no glass to break and possibly injure children or older adults.

"We offer nine colors to blend with any decor, too," she said. "We've had so much fun creating it, "Ragan-Masters said. "Now," she said smiling, "we want everyone to have HangUps." Some stores have already signed up. Recently, some local Hy-Vee grocery stores started carrying the unique photo panels.

For more information about "Family HangUps", visit the Web site, write to P.O.Box 902026, Kansas City, Mo. 64190, or call (816) 746-6705.