Shirley and Addison Hayden are entrepreneurs who recently pitched their product, The Unique Seat, on Steve Harvey’s Funderdome TV show. Black Enterprise contributor Brandon Andrews sat down with the pair to find out exactly what The Unique Seat is and how in the world they came up with the invention.
Brandon Andrews: Tell us the Unique Seat story. When were you inspired to start the business?
Shirley: They often say that necessity is the mother of invention. Having a young child at the time and wanting to have an enjoyable day going to the beach created the necessity for The Unique Seat for me and many other outdoor enthusiasts. I recall how frustrating it was to pack and carry all the comforts of home with us to enjoy a family day at the beach. That’s when the idea for The Unique Seat came to me. After setting up for the day at the beach I sat thinking, “there has to be a better way to do this” and I received a clear vision of what The Unique Seat would look like. I remember coming home and drawing the vision in detail and therefore beginning the creation of my first prototype.
I showed my handmade prototype to my friend Sybil and she was so excited that she encouraged me to market “The Unique Seat.” She was so inspired she even came up with our tagline: “Carry Your Indoor Comforts to Your Outdoor Fun.”
We started the search to find a company to manufacture and make a real prototype. After some time passed, I finally started working with ProtoSew, The Unique Seat [took] form and become a real product. It has changed three times since the original handmade prototype, and each time it gets better.