Tomima Edmark, is there anything you can't do?
--Inventor of the Topsy-Tail, the Bowrette, and the Halo, a collapsible hat.
Also something called the Kissing Machine, which is billed as "the first kissing accessory ever." Hm.
--Former IBM Marketing Executive
--Kissing Expert and author of The Kissing Book: Everything You Need to Know and 365 Ways to Kiss Your Love
--Romance Expert and author of 365 Ways to Date Your Love: A Daily Guide to Creative Romance and 365 Romantic Gifts for Your Love: A Daily Guide to Creative Giving
--Gender Studies Expert and author of It's a Guy Thing: More Than 300 Tics, Traits, and Tendencies That Uniquely Define Men and It's a Girl Thing: More Than 300 Qualities, Quirks, & Quibbles That Uniquely Define Women
--Cigar Expert and author of Cigar Chic: A Woman's Perspective (Which neatly combines both the cigar thing and the gender studies thing, I think)
Now something of a hero to home inventors, especially those in the hair acessory field, Edmark financed production of the Topsy-Tail
with the proceeds of her first kissing book. She invented the Topsy-Tail
in 1989 after seeing a woman with a French Twist
She was working for IBM at the time, but was frustrated with the "glass ceiling" she encountered there and decided to try her hand at something else. So, inspired by the French Twist, she experimented with masking tape and knitting needles until she came up with a version of what we now know as the Topsy-Tail, a plastic loop that can turn a ponytail inside-out, creating a Fabulous New Style!!
After patenting the Topsy-Tail, she invested $5,000 to begin manufacturing the product, and started selling it by mail order in 1990. It was a modest success at first, but didn't really take off until 1992, when she produced an infomercial that demonstrated its use. This was apparently the first hair-accessory infomercial, and it was a spectacular success, earning her over One Hundred Million Dollars.
In recent years, Edmark has authored the various books mentioned above, written a column for Entrepreneur Magazine, appeared on Oprah, and produced an information kit for aspiring inventors called The American Dream Fact Pack.
Edmark lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband, children, two Shar Pei dogs named (wait for it) Topsy and Smooch, and a bull terrier named Stogie.
She enjoys flyfishing, knitting, and smoking cigars (Hmmm, all those phallic objects, interesting), and is a supporter of the SPCA and a school for the dyslexic.
SWAK Ventures website: www.iscool.com/swak
Finding Business website: www.findingbusiness.com/rs/tips/edmark.htm
Weekly Wire: http://www.weeklywire.com/ww/08-23-99/boston_feature_1.html