South Charlotte

How perspiration led to an invention

Sabrina Winters moved to Charlotte about five years ago from Long Island. As a busy estate planning attorney, she, like many working women, would rush around mornings to get ready to work. Getting “ready” always involved corporate attire. For Winters, one staple was a sleeveless shell.

How often she would get dressed only to find she had white deodorant streaks on her sleeveless top. We've all been there.

But Winters decided to invent a solution. The product is Tuckinz – so simple it will have you wondering, “why didn't I think of that?”

Tuckinz is a piece of fabric you put between you and your garment before you apply deodorant. You then leave it in place as you continue your morning regimen to allow your deodorant to completely dry. Remove the Tuckinz before going out and voila, no telltale white streaks.

Winters admits she worked on this product for years before being comfortable enough to bring it to market. Many times she would work on her invention in the wee morning hours as she stayed up with her newborn daughter.

She would sketch ideas and write out business plans as her infant, Kailey, fussed throughout the night.

Winters said, “My husband had no idea that I was working on this until I was ready to start looking for a manufacturer.” To say he was a bit surprised would be an understatement.

The effort wasn't easy. First there was the design process itself, where she would make various prototypes and try them out. Some were too wide, others too narrow and some wouldn't stay in place.

The biggest problem was getting people to call her back. Most assemblers and fabric and packaging companies wouldn't give her the time of day.

The lead time on samples was nerve-racking too. A slight change to the design would demand a new prototype and as that Tom Petty song goes, the waiting is the hardest part.

She speaks proudly of her product today – as most inventors do. She's proud that it's made entirely in the United States, from the packaging to the fabric itself, it is completely sourced and assembled in America from predominantly women-owned businesses.

From her offices in Ballantyne Corporate Park, she's working on distribution deals with major retailers.

Her current following has been obtained through good old-fashioned word of mouth with purchases being made primarily thru her Web site, www.Tuckinz.com.

Winters hopes her grassroots marketing, coupled with availability in national retail chains, will allow Tuckinz to take off, proving in the process that necessity really is the mother of invention.

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