Mobile-Pack Owner Kay Washington knows the hospitality industry. Having spent 22 years in the industry, opening and operating numerous hotels, she saw the need for an alternative to hauling those heavy and bulky cleaning carts through hotel hallways. Her solution was the invention of the Mobile-Pack, a cartless method to simplify the cleaning process. What began as a $25 product sketch came to fruition and is now used internationally by hoteliers.
The idea came about in 2006, when Kay didn’t see anything on the market quite like the Mobile-Pack. Kay did much of her own legwork in getting the product manufactured and distributed. Her team has always been small, with just five employees maintaining operations and distribution of Mobile-Pack to all continents. In the early stages, she took her industry knowledge and quickly identified her product and set about getting it placed within her industry, but hindsight is 20/20. Kay offers the following tips to other manufacturing, distribution and retail companies:
- Seek legal counsel early. Document review is critical and impacts your business for the long run. Be smart about who you partner with and who you seek guidance from.
- Cover all your manufacturing bases. When selecting an overseas manufacturer, Kay wanted to ensure she was getting genuine information despite language barriers. She hired a translator because she needed someone to interpret the dialogue with potential manufacturing partners. She was then able to determine which manufacturers offered the best rate.
- Have a method in place for strategic planning. Kay works with an advisory board consisting of financial professionals and others associated with the hotel industry to discuss new product ideas.
- Find resources when working overseas. Verify all the information you find on business ownership and factory protocol when selecting the manufacturing company to work with.
- Stay ahead of the competition. With emerging competitors entering the market, make sure you’re prepared to continue to serve your customers and maintain those relationships.
Mobile-Pack is represented by Schwabe.