What Makes Us NEAT
It all started with a road trip. Our parents had decided to drive across the country from New York, where they were born and raised, to Idaho where they now reside. They chose the northern route, with destinations like Cooperstown, Niagara Falls, the Badlands, and Mt. Rushmore populating their list. The grandkids had rallied for an Airstream, but Gramma and PeePop opted for inns and hotels located near great golf courses situated along their route.
On an early June morning, their car departed Manhattan. Packed with 10 days worth of golf clothes, two sets of golf clubs, ample golf balls, some well-recommended books on tape, a collection of Aaron Copland CDs, and a bag of pistachios from Costco, they hit the road.
An email arrived later that morning alerting us, “We’re off, and we’ll be in touch when we arrive somewhere.” They kept in touch via the “Daily Dribble”, a correspondence sent to family, close friends, and curious acquaintances. It mused on the various sites they had seen, the regional foods they had consumed, the unique people they had encountered and the various bumps in the road they had experienced.
We welcomed them to Idaho 10 days later, weary and scarred by food stains, but totally invigorated by their adventure. They were hardly out of the car when our father, a man of endless creativity and entrepreneurial vigor, propositioned us with his next brainstorm. “We have this great idea. It’s called the Drippy Dickie.” Yes, the name made us blanch, but we were rapt in attention.
Our parents went on to explain that they had wrestled with over-stuffed tuna sandwiches, sloshing cups of coffee, crumbling muffins, cream cheese sandwiches that inevitably landed face side down, fizzing sodas and dripping barbecue. In an effort to keep their khakis and polos neat and stain free as they hustled between golf courses and points of interest, they covered themselves in ripped bags, open newspapers and splayed cardboard boxes. The results were neither pretty nor successful.
“So here’s what we want you to invent for us. It’s kind of like a napkin, but much more, because it wouldn’t leak through or leave the daily news on you. It would stick to your shirt and cover your pants so it isn’t awkward like a pizza box or unwieldy like a paper bag.”
Then he said with confidence, “It’s a no-brainer. Think of how many of our friends would also love a Drippy Dickie.”
We got to it immediately…especially a name change! As parents who carpool our kids to school every morning and then race off to the office, we could totally relate. We joked how we had each emerged at some point, if not several and perhaps many, sporting an unwanted stain, of course, in the most obvious and awkward place, at the most critical time. And if it wasn’t us wearing the stain, then it was as uncomfortable to be sitting across the table from a friend or colleague in a similar situation.
When we shared the idea, everyone got it and then had another way or two or five to use it. Lobster dinner, arts and crafts project, taking grandparents out for dinner, outdoor concerts, picnics, at food trucks, dining in front of the tv, eating on airplanes and trains, on boating excursions, at the office at your desk and between meetings, and on and on.
So, we are now off on our own road trip with NEATsheets. We do not have a set destination, but our journey is to offer great design, keep all of us stain free and have a lot of fun along the way.
“Life’s Messy. Stay NEAT.”
Heidi & Greg
Who Makes Us NEAT
Educated in architecture and design and driven by an entrepreneurial spirit, Heidi is inspired to develop exceptionally well designed solutions for everyday needs. So when her parents brought up the idea for NEATsheets, she immediately got it. Within hours she was making prototypes and trying them on herself and her kids. Living in the country where every destination can be a road trip, countless family meals have been consumed on the go racing between activities. “It’s amazing the artwork that can be created from hummus and a carrot stick. Life’s too busy for extra laundry.” What motivated Heidi to further develop NEATsheets were the other uses that kept arising — summer barbecues, team picnics, an outdoor wedding, graduation parties, Friday night pizza on the couch, dining out with her grandmother, kids’ art projects, and eating in front of her computer at work…and that’s just to name a few. Always motivated by a creative challenge, Heidi now looks forward to creating products that enable people to embrace life’s messy moments. And when Heidi is not obsessing about design, her attention is focused on her family.
Greg has so much to thank his parents for, but the seedling of the idea to create NEATsheets with Heidi is near the top of the list. No longer does Greg have to avoid the inevitable stain as he wolfs down breakfast in the car on the way to a meeting or battle the errant sauce-laden noodle at dinner. And probably most excited is his family who on several occasions have had to do the embarrassing “um, dad, you have a big stain on your shirt” aside at a restaurant, picnic, or soccer sideline. Greg has a background in marketing, product management and strategy for large, national companies but is completely energized by this amazing entrepreneurial opportunity to offer a product that can keep us all neat. When he is not adjusting the company’s business plan, unloading boxes, fielding midnight calls from overseas, or stuffing samples, Greg finds the ultimate pleasure in coaching his kids’ soccer and hockey teams or enjoying a movie with his wife, not to mention eating ribs stain free!