How do you mark turning the big 50? Cory Harris’ friends decided to throw her a birthday party with a twist. It was sort of an unbirthday (she was prone to lying about her age by a couple of years) as a kindness in light of her neurosis about turning 50. The plan? A challenge instead of a party. The women were to attempt something great, or outside of the box. Something scary or bold or ??? This would be a get together challenging each other to identify and undertake a radical goal as a monumental coming of age then present what they had done to the group. Cory decided to patent a product she’d designed to solve a personal problem she encountered soon after her divorce. We celebrate Audacious Cory Harris as she shares the story of her invention and company zip my dress.
Solving A Problem
During her marriage, Cory would run next door to her neighbor Jan in the mornings. Jan would zip her dress, they’d have a cup of coffee and she would race off to work. It was her final step to getting dressed each day. Newly single and on her own in a new home she was all by herself. She no longer had the luxury of a partner or a close friend to run to for help with her zipper. She decided to put her design expertise to work in an effort to find a solution. This began a momentous journey which definitely proved to Cory that your 50’s are truly wonderful years.
Cory started creating prototypes that would work on the invisible zipper found in most dresses. As she worked through the design stage and researched zipper pullers, she became aware that no one had a workable solution. So she approached a lawyer to explore getting a patent.
Kindly, he did everything he could to discourage her; very few people are successful, there is a big cost, you don’t want to “waste” your money, can you afford to lose your investment? Feeling like crying and overwhelmed by his negative reaction she proposed if he could find any patent for a similar product she would not proceed.
He called early the next week to say he hadn’t been able to find anything like it. It was then that Cory realized how important this project had become to her. She committed to trying to get the patent.
Getting a patent is not easy nor inexpensive. Her first increment was a $3500 payment and she did not have the money. Yet Cory found the money each time a payment came due. In the process of getting that patent, she became an expert on zippers. And that expertise opened doors in unusual ways.[wpdevart_youtube width=”640″ height=”385″ float=”right” autoplay=”0″ theme=”dark” loop_video=”0″ enable_fullscreen=”1″ show_related=”1″ show_popup=”0″ thumb_popup_width=”213″ thumb_popup_height=”128″ show_title=”1″ show_youtube_icon=”1″ show_annotations=”1″ show_progress_bar_color=”red” autohide_parameters=”1″ set_initial_volume=”false” initial_volume=”100″ disable_keyboard=”0″]zcaE9ElGmvg[/wpdevart_youtube]
Taking Your Product To Market
Cory now holds the patent and she is in exclusive company. Surprisingly, Cory shares women hold only 7 percent of patents and of that number, only 30 percent are held for a mechanical device. When her lawyer called her to give her the news, he advised her to find a third party to take her product to market. He noted this is the usual route as very few inventors go on to lead the next phase of production and marketing.
By now Cory was feeling confident and thinking I haven’t listened to your advice yet, so I am not about to start. Cory purchased the machinery and began manufacturing the product herself.
Zip My Dress On The Road
Thus Zip My Dress was born. Self-financed, Cory declares it has been a wonderful journey. Serendipitously, being a zipper expertise brought Cory many firsts like:
- A Microsoft sponsorship to the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) 2017 conference in Las Vegas
- Her lanyards being used as the official ID holders at the 2017 IWEC conference
- An afternoon in Seattle shopping and lunching with the likes of Princess Noor of Jordan and Ambassador Ruth Davis
- Winning the Tech Industry Group (TIG) Scholarship 2017
- A move from landlocked Idaho to Seattle overlooking the beautiful water
- Starring in her very own commercials
- Working with two of her daughters
- And lastly an unprecedented opportunity to interact with inspiring women all over the world
A Chance to Chat
What excites you when you get up each day?
The honest truth is coffee but I’m positive that’s not the answer you were looking for so I’d have to say it’s the possibility of a new day and whatever adventure that might bring.
When have you been most satisfied in your life?
I’ve been satisfied many times in my life for different reasons and I believe that life is a journey and hopefully over the course of our lives we have the opportunity to grow. My satisfaction now does not negate previous wonderful moments in my life.
If you could meet anyone for lunch, who would it be?
That’s easy! Hillary Clinton
What was the best advice you ever received?
The best advice I ever had was to remember why I made a decision. The idea behind it is that when self-doubt creeps in, you have something to lean on… I haven’t always followed that advice. I struggle!
What do you need to make more room in your life for?
I would say balance and also forgiveness. The need to forgive me for worrying about lack of balance all the time, I think it’s bull crap. I don’t think men worry about that.
If you could learn anything new what would it be?
I’d really like to learn how to be a jewelry maker. Working with precious gems and gold!
What is your key strength?
I would say I’m resilient and optimistic. My 3rd daughter would say I’m scrappy. She says my special power is turning nothing into something beautiful.
Do you have a favorite book that totally changed the way you thought about life and why?
Yes! I like The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. It helped me to finally understand forgiveness. Specifically that nothing is personal.
Is there a key piece of wisdom you would like to share with women contemplating a renewed self?
Yes, the other day when I was contemplating a risky move and thinking I want to take the safe route a friend of mine said, “So you want to live wisely?” Instantly I laughed. He had shamed me! No No NO! I do not want to live wisely, I want to live greatly, bravely, wildly, and without apology. So that’s my advice.