Like many inventors, Lizzy Martin’s inspiration came from the pressing need to solve an everyday problem. As the mother of three young girls, she was getting frustrated with what was becoming a constant battle – getting her kids to brush their hair. She would chase them down as they ran screaming all over the house, just to teach them basic hygiene and help them develop healthy habits.
On a whim she decided to try a new approach – combining something they hate (the hair brush) with something they love (their favorite stuffed animal). Her first prototype was actually nothing more than a hair brush glued to one of her daughter Gracie’s plush toys. To her delight, it worked like a charm. Her kids were now thinking of brushing their hair as playtime. Something that they dreaded was now something they looked forward to.
Lizzy knew that her creation could help other moms, and like any great entrepreneur she saw an opportunity to capitalize on her discovery. Her father was also an inventor, so Lizzy understood the challenges of raising funds to launch a new product. Many people these days turn to Kickstarter or Indiegogo, but Lizzy had a much more novel idea. She decided it would be more fun to apply to be on the TV game show $100,000 Pyramid. In 2016 she was accepted as a contestant and went on to win $50,000. This windfall became the seed money to produce a market-ready version of her product, which she named Tangle Pets.
The successful rollout of Tangle Pets led Lizzy to another idea. Tangle Pets had become a cherished possession for her daughters, so she decided to use them to combat negativity by adding messages of positive affirmation like “I am brave, I am strong, I am loved”. Not only were her children developing good hygiene habits, the ritual of hair brushing became a chance to build a positive self-image.
Tangle Pets brushes are available in several characters (Tangle Kitty, Tangle Ladybug, Tangle Lion, Tangle Puppy, and Tangle Turtle), each with their own personality and message. Tangle Puppy is adventurous and loves exploring, while Tangle Ladybug is an artist who wants to make the world a more colorful place. The brushes are easily removable from the plush, which is machine washable.
UPDATE: Tangle Pets is no longer in business.