The Reminder is making its archives back to 2003 available on our website. Please note that, due to technical limitations, archive articles are presented without the usual formatting.
Flin Flon entrepreneur Judy Pettersen has been invited to share her international success story on a popular American TV show. The inventor of the BabyTrekker, a strap-on infant carrier worn by parents around the world, is slated to talk about her innovative product on ABC's Good Morning America on November 10. "At first, it was disbelief. It was, 'Are you kidding me?'" said the mother of three daughters, describing her reaction to the invitation. "I didn't really say anything about it to anybody for about a week because I just couldn't believe it. It's very exciting." The plan is for Pettersen to fly to New York City to appear on the live Monday morning broadcast with three other architects of novel infant products. Producers of Good Morning America caught wind of the BabyTrekker from the small public relations company that Pettersen hired to stir up interest in the patented product. Pettersen expects the appearance will prompt "a huge jump in sales" of the soft-cotton infant carriers, which are produced locally by a staff of nine a factory on North Avenue. "I'm ready in that we have the capacity to expand our factory," she said. "We have room for more people to be hired, but then it takes time to train people. If we got overwhelmed, we might have to contract out some sewing. We'll just have to see how it goes." The former teacher has also been asked to appear on the Montreal-based show Good Morning Canada to discuss her carrier, though no date has been set. Though the BabyTrekker has sold over 50,000 units worldwide since 1989, the product has humble beginnings. "I designed the BabyTrekker about 16 years ago for my daughter, Michelle," recalled Pettersen, a self-described problem solver. "She was kind of a colicky baby who needed a lot of holding, and I was having a hard time getting things done. The carrier allowed me to hold her comfortably for hours at a time." Parents who knew Pettersen fell in love with the invention, and soon she was sewing carriers together for family and friends. Still, it wasn't until she attended a home trade show at the R.H. Channing Auditorium in 1989 that she saw the business potential of the BabyTrekker. See 'Parenting' P.# Con't from P.# "I made 30 carriers for the show, and on the Friday night, I sold 23," recalled Pettersen. "So I realized, hey, I'm not the only one who needs a baby carrier." While her sales figures are higher than she could have ever imagined, Pettersen gets the most satisfaction from hearing from happy customers. "I get lovely letters from parents thanking me for making their parenting lives easier," she said. The entrepreneur remembers most fondly one piece of feedback from a mother who was so happy with the BabyTrekker that she began crying during a phone message. "It was the sweetest thing. It was very real," smiled Pettersen. "It was a mom speaking to a mom, and that's probably my favourite part of the business Ñ speaking to parents as a parent." Good Morning America airs weekdays from 6-8 a.m. local time on ABC, channel 46 on cable.