Pretty much anyone with a smartphone has experienced this common problem: You’re trying to email your boss, text a friend or read a book while in public when you notice someone nearby glancing at your screen. What do you do?
A similar scenario happened to Julie Pickens, and she didn’t know what to do, either. But as an entrepreneur, she knew how to come up with a solution. The result of her research and creativity is her first tech-related product, myFlipShade.
Her name may be familiar – Pickens is known among moms for her first product, Boogie Wipes. This product turned out to be such a success that it topped $18 million in sales and was nationally sold in over 50,000 stores.
Pickens, a mom of three, recently decided to try something new with the high-tech industry. The idea came when she noticed her husband trying to watch Netflix on his phone while they were on vacation—he couldn’t see his screen because of the sun. Her daughters, all smartphone experts, came up with other ideas, such as making a phone stand.
In May, Pickens released myFlipShade, which she says is the first and only iPhone accessory where the unique shade provides privacy, blocks the sun’s glare, doubles as a two-way phone stand, and keeps your iPhone protected from the rain.
So far, Pickens has had myFlipShade featured at Target stores and on Amazon in June 2018. She says she has faced highs and lows during the transition between industries and going all in on tech. But she feels the rewards are worth it.
Q: Why did you want to transition to a new business?
A: I have always loved bringing new things to market. I guess it’ s just part of me. Whenever I see something cool or interesting I think “I wonder how we could market that? How could we improve someone’s life with this, or at a minimum help someone to enjoy something new and have a little fun?” Ideas truly keep me up at night. When my kids were little I was always looking at things to make a mom’s life easier. I was so wrapped up in baby and toddler life day to day that it was easy to see things that could really help every mom. As my kids have gotten older I watch how their life has changed and the things that are relevant to them. I am always asking them to teach me new things with social media, new apps, etc. I feel like my product interests and ideas evolve with my lifestyle and my kids are a huge part of that.
Q: What helped you create a business different than your first? Mentors, business classes?
A: I think always working and staying active in business has helped me a lot. I currently work in CE as VP of marketing for myCharge. It is amazing to see this company move and produce new items very quickly. I love being part of that. I also think that each opportunity teaches you and provides growth. My boss now is a very attention-to-detail engineer who is incredibly smart. I don’t operate exactly like him and I think that is the best part. He pushes me to think differently and look at things through a different lens. If we were all the same no one would ever learn anything, and I think continual learning is critical.
Q: How has technology helped the process of launching a new product?
A: Let’s face it: have you ever seen anyone, anywhere without a device? It’s rare. This, although annoying at times, has really opened up a category for device accessories and creativity. It’s amazing all the things we must have or at a minimum try when it comes to making our devices unique or perform better in any situation. I think it’s really exciting to look at the possibilities of CE in general as we move forward. Technology is shaping everything we do.