They say that necessity is the mother of all invention. In other words, when people really need to do something, ask a mother (or a father!). Parenthood is all about needs: what your kid needs emotionally, physically, nutritionally, creatively – you name it, there’s a need for it.  And sometimes what you need doesn’t exist yet.  We were inspired by these parents who were inspired by their kids needs to invent something new.  Check out these cool products that our very own LA moms & pops have been busy inventing.  They might just solve one of your own pressing needs – or inspire you to get inventing!
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So, you’re making your kids lunch, and you’re stumped. You want to be environmentally friendly and pack reusable containers, but there’s only so many of those things you can shove into a lunch bag. So, you reach for the plastic baggies, and suddenly you’re not feeling like Mother Earth’s best friend. Cue LA native Rachel Ostroy to the rescue with Neat-O’s, her invention to solve this lunch-packing problem. These baggies can be reused hundreds of times, let you see the contents without opening it, and can even be personalized with drawings or labels.  They come in multiple sizes and all close with zippers, so you don’t have to worry about trying to scrape off dried food from velcro – yuck! With these awesome little gems, you might actually look forward to packing lunches every morning.
Get them online at: neat-os.com

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The Yes Bar
Speaking of lunches, wouldn’t it be great to reach for a pre-packed snack that wasn’t loaded with tons of sugar and preservatives? Most kids snacks on the market are stuffed with the sweet stuff (and other unpronounceable ingredients), and we either have to say no, or guiltily send our little ones off with an impending sugar high. Flashback to a kitchen in Laurel Canyon, where mom Abigail Wald was struggling with the same dilemma. Her youngest son has allergies, and not only did she need to avoid certain foods, but she wanted to give him a snack she could feel good about. These tasty treats are free of gluten, dairy and soy, and they’ll satisfy your little one’s craving for “yummy”. With these bars, you’ll get the fun of saying yes when your kiddos ask for a treat! (Note: the Coffee Cayenne is for you, while the Macadamia Chip if for your kids.  The pepper packs a bit too much punch for teeny tastebuds, but if you’re looking for a not so sweet lunch on the go for you, you’ve found it.)
Get them online at: theyesbar.com

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Ice Cream Heads
And from healthy snacks we’ll ease on over to desserts…and the one food that kids everywhere can agree on: ice cream!  But we’re not talking about the edible variety. Huh? Let us explain.  When Los Angeles parents Brittany & Harold Perrineau and Jeff & Dr. Stefanie Phelps tried to wash their little girls’ hair, they were met with tears. Bath time was decidedly not fun. But you know what is fun? Ice cream. So these creative parents cooked up the idea to invent Ice Cream Heads, a line of sweet-smelling shampoos and conditioners that are gentle on sensitive eyes and effective on both curly and fine hair. The bottles look like ice cream cones, which means your kiddos will be begging to have their hair washed. With classic “flavors” like chocolate, strawberry and vanilla to choose from, you can’t go wrong. These folks have definitely made bath time fun again
Get them online at: icecreamheads.com

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Belly Buds
All that ice cream talk has us thinking about cravings, and of course that reminds us of pregnancy. Sardines and gummi bears, anyone? And while you’re downing that late night snack, wouldn’t it be great to chat to the baby inside your tummy? Los Angeles Dad Curtis Williams came up with the idea for Belly Buds when his wife was pregnant. She wanted to play music to her baby bump, but couldn’t move around while doing so. She needed something that stayed put so she could carry on with her day. So, Curtis created Belly Buds: specialized speakers that gently adhere to the belly & safely play memory-shaping sound directly to the womb. No more awkwardly holding up your iphone to play junior the latest hits. Belly Buds let you play music, your own voice or even recordings from far away family. A baby’s hearing begins to develop at 20 weeks, and memory forms at 30 weeks, so he or she can start to recognize the voices of every loved one before birth. We can’t think of a better way to connect with your baby before their much-anticipated arrival.
Get them online at: bellybuds.com

mothersqueekykneesuseSqueeky Knees
It’s only natural to segue from babies to…baby attire. But we’re not talking about ordinary baby apparel. How about cool clothes that squeak when worn? You know babies will go gaga for something so fun! Mom Lisa Evans was inspired by her own mother, who used to tie bells on Lisa’s shoes so she could keep an ear out for her. When Lisa had two tiny crawlers of her own, she realized they were always on the go, and well…hard to keep track of! Thus the idea of Squeeky Knees was born. These well-made, adorable pants and leggings incorporate foam padding and a built-in squeaky device so little knees stay protected from bumps and scrapes, and of course crawlers adore the fun noises they make as they move. Clothing as entertainment? (And kid-tracking devices.) Yes please!
Get them online at: squeekyknees.com

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Homespun Vintage
If you like innovative design, then you’ll love filling your kids’ closet with a few bespoke pieces from Homespun Vintage. Kathlene Linehan & Corrie Sullivan were new moms in LA, sick of seeing the same old, same old baby clothes everywhere they looked, when they came up with the idea to start a clothing line that introduced vintage wear to the younger set. Meetings were held over coffees at the park while their little ones played, or when they could grab a few hours after the last bedtime story was read. These two designers set about re-purposing clothes of yesteryear to create unique outfits for little ones. Their line allows your tots to showcase the flair and charm of their personalities, and stand out from the crowd. This one-of-a-kind “wearable nostalgia” will only get better with time, so you might just want to tuck away a few pieces to pass on to your grandkids. And with outfits designed for newborns all the way up to 8 year-olds, your kiddos will be stylish for a long while.
Get them online at: homespunvintage.com

We’re so inspired by the awesome Los Angeles parents who had great ideas and nurtured them into fruition. Cheers to them and to the kiddos who got that creative energy flowing.

Let us know if there are other local companies created by parents. We’d love to hear.  Or are there any products you’ve been dying to create?

-Elena Wurlitzer

Photo credits: Neat-O’s, The Yes Bar, Ice Cream Heads, Belly Buds, Squeeky Knees, Homespun Vintage