ACTRESS Andrea Gordon has got little feet corning out of her ears. At least, she has since she turned her hand to invention. She is the proud inventor of a foot-shaped plastic device which keeps your pairs of socks together in the washing machine.
So how did the idea occur to her for such an important breakthrough in domestic technology? Archimedes would have approved of her answer.
“It was just a string of little coincidences,” says Andrea modestly. “A group of us were having dinner after working all day in the studio, and we got talking about universal problems like traffic congestion and lost socks. One of the actors said he had ended up taking his washing machine apart to retrieve a sock and had to spend all day Saturday putting it back together again. The problem was defined.”
“I just got thinking “Why doesn’t somebody invent a peg or something just to keep them together?” Indeed. I was just thinking about it and a couple of hours later I was drying up the dishes and I put the tea-towel in one of those plastic grips you get. Eureka!”
“It seemed so obvious that it would work,” she confesses, “that I was sure someone must have thought of it already. Nobody had. So when I lost an expensive $20 silk sock, that was what finally persuaded me to go for it.”
But was this a real problem for which people really needed a solution? MIA Marketing thought so, and took on the idea.
“I don’t set out to solve the world’s problems,” says Andrea, “but at least if one annoying little thing out of the way. This invention is going to reduce stress levels, so I’ve done my bit.”
Once the real need for this gizmo had been established, the process of testing began. “It wasn’t easy,” remembers Andrea. The first plastic cracked. They eventually settled on the more expensive thermoplastic polyurethane elastoma, a plastic that retains its shape in boiling water, and even in the rough and tumble world of sock-washing.”
Now Little Feet are available from major shops at 1.95 pound for a pack of five. According to the advertising blurb on the packet, they are ‘suitable for men’s, women’s and children’s socks’ and they come in different colours for ‘all the family’.
So will this breakthrough change Andrea’s life? Will she be turning down acting work to become a full-time inventor? “Acting is what I do,” she insists. “But I’m glad I saw this idea through. A lot of people have ideas and they don’t do anything about them, or they are put off by people not listening to them.”
So now you know – marketing people will listen to anything that might make money.