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How To Clean A Play Yard

Let’s think about everything that goes on in a play yard.  Babies eat, drink, drool, teethe, play, sleep, pee pee and poo poo, (yes, we said that).  All of this can create a germ-filled and pretty dirty play yard.

Cleaning a play yard is not so easy. Not only are we going to tell you how to clean them, we are also going to show you a video on how to clean them. This you have to see!

First, fill a bathtub with hot boiling water add baking soda, vinegar and laundry soap. You can’t use everyday cleaners — they may be toxic for babies.  Then put all the components of the play yard in the tub and soak it for about an hour. After an hour, go back to the bathroom to turn it over to clean the flip side. Oh and don’t be too grossed out by what you see!  The water will be dark brown and filthy.  To think your little one was sleeping in this! After you soak the play yard, bring it outside and rinse with a hose. Then, let it stay outside until it is dry. (Hopefully it isn’t winter and 20 degrees.) You may want to repeat!

Another option for keeping your play yard clean is pretty simple. Just use a washable COVERPLAY slipcover!! The COVERPLAY slipcover lines the inside and outside of the play yard, keeping your baby protected from ick and yuck.  After the COVERPLAY slipcover gets dirty, toss it in the laundry. It is that simple! You can choose from a variety of cool patterns and designs that really make the play yard look great.

COVERPLAY now offers their own brand of SAFE and affordable play yards that meet the highest safety standards. COVERPLAY play yards are JPMA certified!

Keep your little ones safe and happy and use the first play yard slipcover designed for your little ones. COVERPLAY, as seen on SHARK TANK, is MOM created and WOMAN OWNED.

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Coverplay: Building A Business By Addressing A Small & Simple Need

COVERPLAY was discussed again in a blog called A Consultant’s Chronicles: The business blog for Means to an End — a mediation, HR training and organizational consulting service in the SF Bay area. The author discusses why COVERPLAY’s slipcovers work — it’s a simple and smart idea that is necessary. The author goes on to talk about some of the features of the pack and play slipcovers, how to build a business with the right idea and the frustration we get when we hear of an idea explode that we probably could have thought of. I have included the blog post below.

Although I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to making fun of “reality TV,” there is one sub-category I watch with genuine interest & that is any reality show about business. Until this summer, success in this area belonged only to Donald Trump. This month there’s a new show I like a lot called Shark Tank where real venture capitalists compete with each other to fund real Shark Tank entrepreneurs using their own money.

Building A Business By Addressing A Small & Simple Need

Sunday night’s episode was a classic case study in building a business by addressing a small & simple need. The name of the product is Coverplay, which was developed by Allison Costa & business partner Amy Feldman. It is a specially treated [& patented] coverlet for playpens. Why do parents need it? Think about what happens in a playpen: it’s a venue for [pre] toilet training, children bring food, toys & well, frankly, anything they can get their little hands around [not to mention what their brothers, sisters & playmates may contribute] making your child’s playpen host central to all kinds of bacteria. Clearly, an uncovered playpen is not a safe place for a small child whose immune system is just developing. Enter Coverplay, which:

  • Protects against viruses
  • Is machine washable
  • Comes in a selection of colorful patterns
  • Pediatrician recommended
  • Great for travel

A “Silver Lining” In a Down Job-Market

In short, it’s a fantastic idea that’s really simple & really necessary. As soon as you look at it you can’t help but think, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Its utter simplicity reminds me of other really basic ideas that turned into big businesses, like Post-Its or even the tops of take-out coffee cups with a small sip hole in them. The list of simple products like these goes on & on. They all have at least one thing in common: they are examples of small, simple ideas that fill a void. It is exactly what Madison Avenue adman & TV host Donny Deutsch talks about when he encourages potential entrepreneurs to develop their “big idea” & bring it to market. In a job market filled with bad news, this product is a ray of sunshine capable of inspiring anyone with a little “big idea” to put forth their best effort to make their dream a business reality.

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Shark Tank Helps Educate About Angel Investing

Raising money for your start-up is difficult. There are few people that are willing to invest their money in someone else’s relatively unproven business, but even if you have those people, fewer businesses have the right characteristics to be financed through an external capital raise. featured an article that discussed Shark Tank, its use as an investing/entrepreneurship educational tool, and what many professors thought of the show and its hopeful business-owners that have appeared on it.

The Shark Tank is actually a U.S.-spin off of popular British television show Dragons’ Den. Most of the academics said that Dragons’ Den and Shark Tank are useful educational tools. Part of the programs’ benefit comes from having a celebrity deliver a message. As Sarah Dodd of Alba Business School puts it: “Three minutes with Dragon Theo Paphitis convinces my students far more than three hours of me saying the same things.”

Check out what Hispanic Business had to say about our Shark Tank Entrepeneurs in their article below:

Raising money from business angels is difficult. Few people are willing to invest their money in someone else’s startup and fewer businesses have the right characteristics to be financed through an external capital raise.

Still, people raise money from business angels all the time — not a lot of entrepreneurs, mind you, but enough to indicate patterns that account for who obtains angel financing and who does not.

These patterns have led a lot of people, including me, to write books and articles about how to raise money from business angels.

While the printed word teaches some aspects of raising angel money, it falls short in other areas. Books and articles fail to capture the money-raising process well. They don’t show the messy reality of persuading people to provide you with capital. They aren’t good at revealing the nuances of human behavior that are involved.

The limitations of the printed word led me to wonder if the British TV show Dragons’ Den and its U.S.spin-off Shark Tank complement books and articles at teaching about angel investing.

Does TV Falsely Speed The Process?

To figure out if these shows offer an educational benefit, I sent a message to the members of the Academy of Management’s Entrepreneurship Division listserv (a group of business school professors who teach entrepreneurship) to obtain their perspective. Below, I’ve summarized the views from this decidedly unscientific survey.

A few professors were negative on the value of these shows, largely because the format crams a relatively long process into a TV schedule. For instance, Benson Honig of McMaster University asks: “How many investors would read a plan, view a five-minute presentation, and make a decision?”

Honig makes a good point. A couple of years ago, I did an analysis of the Angel Capital Assn.’s survey of its member groups, which showed that the average amount of time an entrepreneur took to present to the group was 21.1 minutes. (The median was 20 minutes.)

But the ACA survey also showed that some angel groups did allow entrepreneurs only five minutes to present. While these groups didn’t make investment decisions after such short presentations, they did choose whether or not to conduct due diligence. Perhaps the short period to present is real.

Another criticism of the shows is that they make angels look foolish and illogical. John Bunch of Benedictine University writes: “I think it is the last thing I would recommend to my students, unless I wanted to show how foolish and illogical business angels can be.” But if business angels are sometimes foolish and illogical, isn’t that valuable for entrepreneurs to know?

A Lot of Positive Reviews

Most of the academics said that Dragons’ Den and Shark Tank are useful educational tools. Part of the programs’ benefit comes from having a celebrity deliver a message. As Sarah Dodd of Alba Business School puts it: “Three minutes with Dragon Theo Paphitis convinces my students far more than three hours of me saying the same things.”

But the academics also think the shows help for other reasons. Here are a few aspects they find particularly valuable:

  • Eden Blair of Bradley University says that the shows “help [students) see what criteria investors use.”
  • John Stavig of the University of Minnesota explains that they offer “good examples [of] how entrepreneurs need to hone their elevator pitch.”
  • Roberto James Lopez of Tecnolgico de Monterrey says that the shows illustrate “how to tell the story of your business.”
  • Sean Wise of Ryerson University says the shows “illustrate the type of questions investors ask.”
  • Steve Phelan of the University of Nevada (Las Vegas) says the programs show the tradeoff that angels face between “leaving enough equity for the founder to retain an incentive [and claiming] as much equity as possible.”
  • Geoff Archer of Royal Roads University says the shows demonstrate that “some stupid ideas get funded,” that “great ideas fail to get funded because of negotiation failure [and] greedy pre-show valuation,” that “founding teammates can really muck up a presentation and/or a deal,” that “having even a few customers and some real sales makes a great impression,” and that “body language, poise and listening skills are very important in an elevator pitch-type environment.”

Some academics even pointed out specific lessons about raising angel money taught by individual episodes. For instance:

  • Noah Wasserman of Harvard Business School says that the Shark Tank “Cover Play” episode addresses “the choice of control vs. value addition.”
  • Sarah Dodd of Alba School of Business explains that the Dragons’ Den “Golden Rules for Success” episode “provides a very clear dose of reality about four critical, down-to-earth elements of any new venture (cash, common sense, contingency and homework).”
  • Dodd adds that Levi Root’s musical pitch for Reggae sauce helps remind students that “they need to be creative and compelling” when presenting business plans.
  • Gary Dushnitsky of the University of Pennsylvania says that the Dragons’ Den episode on the personal air vehicle explains why entrepreneurs’ optimism affects the deals that they are willing to take.
  • Chris Welter of Ohio State University says that the “Blue Tooth Ear Implant” episode of Shark Tank shows “what types of opportunities should seek funding.” He also says that the “Belt Buckle Venture” episode teaches about “realistic business valuations.”

The example of business valuation illustrates the kind of lessons that these shows teach. An entrepreneur asking for $100,000 in return for a 10% stake in the company is valuing the business at $1 million. Many entrepreneurs on the show fail to justify these implicit valuations on the basis of anything other than their personal beliefs. In fact, when Sean Lux of the University of South Florida asked the 62 MBAs in his class what was educational about the shows, the class said the single most valuable lesson was the importance of developing “a rationally based valuation of their company (appraisal, venture capital method, NPV, First Chicago, etc.) prior to engaging investors.”

In sum, despite the negative reactions of a few entrepreneurship professors, the consensus is that Dragons’ Den and Shark Tank help to educate people about angel investing.

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Daymond John’s missed opportunity with COVERPLAY

Daymond John from Shark Tank

Daymond John puts his money where his mouth is, and who’d expect anything less of a hungry, sharp-toothed shark? Yes, John is the CEO and Creator of the apparel giant FUBU label and as well as the author of Display of Power: How FUBU Changed a World of Fashion, Brand and Lifestyle, but he’s also one of the sharks that missed out on the opportunity to support, finance and promote COVERPLAY’s own Shark Tank Entrepreneurs Allison and Amy. The TV series will wrap up its first season at 8 p.m. ET/PT tonight, and TVStar sat down with one of Shark Tank’s sharks, Daymond John, to talk about the show, his experience on it, and the odds of a second season. Check out what TVStar found out in their story below.

What was your initial reaction when you heard about Shark Tank?
I don’t know why anyone would want to invest and spend their own money. And then I remembered my own start as an entrepreneur. I remember my drive, my passion, and the sacrifices that I had to make in order to start my career. I borrowed my mom’s sewing machine in the morning and then sold hats on the streets of New York at night. And in order to grow the business, we mortgaged our home for $100,000 so we could come up with start-up capital for FUBU. And then my mom moved out so we could turn the house into a makeshift factory and office space.

Some businessmen prefer to stay behind the scenes and others are very much the face of their company. How comfortable were you with the idea of suddenly being on TV and potentially recognized by millions of people? Has it been good for business?
I have been the face of my company, FUBU, for many years, so there was no difference. I have been on TV many times before. That is nothing new. In terms of business, yes, it’s good for me. It helps bring awareness to my personal brand and the aspect of how I work with other brands by consulting and advising them as well as running own company.

What have been the most interesting people/things you’ve seen when it comes to entrepreneurs and products? Anything you’re kicking yourself over for not biting on or not biting hard enough?
The most interesting people I have encountered have been Lisa Lloyd, Treasure Chest Pets, Gayla Bentley and Mr. Todd’s Pie Factory. And I am kicking myself on COVERPLAY. Should have hit that harder. That slipcover was a great idea.

What’s the likelihood of a season two? And how interested would you be in doing another season?
Season two is in the hands of the powers that be. I like the cast and the concept of the show. And depending on my availability, I would love to do it again.

What else do you have going on at the moment?
I am currently running my fashion business, releasing my new book in early 2010, and consulting with a few new brands.

If they had a show like Shark Tank on the air when you were an aspiring businessman starting out, how likely would you have been to go on as an entrepreneur?
I wouldn’t have made it on the show. I would have overvalued my company and I would have failed.

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Update on those SHARK TANK Entrepreneurs

So what are the SHARK TANK Entrepreneurs up to now? In this video, they are at the largest baby product show in the U.S. According to Allison and Amy, since making the deal with Barbara, their business has shot through the roof and many new deals and attractive propositions have opened up to them. Soon, COVERPLAY slipcovers will be sold in Babies R Us and they have more orders than they can keep up with.

Recently, they contacted one of the largest hotel chains in the U.S., and they are in the process of closing a deal that will put COVERPLAY slipcovers into every one of their properties. “Closing the $350,000 deal on SHARK TANK with Barbara was the best thing that could have happened to the company and we wouldn’t have been able to just walk into a bank and get a loan that size,” says Amy. The show allowed their successful business to explode.