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Beach safety is key

    When I look back on the last 20 or so years of my life, I realize that safety is a big theme.
    For three years I fought forest fires in Alaska as a Chena Hot Shot, working with chainsaws, axes and knives in swamps and mountains, among bears, moose, bugs, helicopters, airplanes, flares, gas and fire. Another three years of my life I was a mate on charter fishing boats, dealing with knives, hooks, anchors, ropes and the great big ocean.
    I have been a nurse for eight years, where patient and staff safety is my most important nursing issue. Now I have children and their safety is the most important thing in my life. And that’s why I developed The Noblo Umbrella Buddy.
    Eight years ago I had my first son. I brought him to the beach every day in the summer, even as an infant, and needed a beach umbrella to protect him from the sun. But some days I could not put up my umbrella because of the wind and my fear that my umbrella would fly off and hurt someone. I would have to leave the beach on a beautiful day because I could not use the umbrella.
    As they say, necessity is the mother of invention, and that’s where The Noblo Umbrella Buddy really began.
    I improvised by tying a bag of sand to my umbrella to hold it in place, and it worked. I could use my umbrella safely to protect my son and I could stay at the beach. Over the years I had two more sons and continued to use the device, which drew positive attention from many other beachgoers. Many people told me to patent it, but I had three young children and no time.
     That was where my friend Bess Abraham came in. A woman with a history of launching successful businesses, she had been persistent, trying to get me to develop my device into a product. She had witnessed a horrible beach umbrella accident and was forever worried that one of her children or another child on the beach would be hit with a flying beach umbrella.
     This past summer, she finally convinced me. I think it is because my children have become more independent and I have found more free time.
     I agreed to develop the product as long as she would do it with me, as partners.
     We founded The Noblo Umbrella Buddy LLC in September 2010 and we have been on quite an adventure getting the product to the marketplace. We have transformed my simple device into a beautiful sturdy product. It is a colorful nylon bag that is filled with sand and attached to the umbrella above the spokes to keep the umbrella from blowing away. It gives peace of mind about the beach umbrella for the day, and at the end of the day one simply dumps the sand, folds the bag up small, and goes home.
     The Noblo Umbrella Buddy has brought excitement and adventure to my own personal life. It has been nice to have faced the challenges of starting a company, creating a product, having it manufactured, and having it distributed. The brainstorming and problem solving has fulfilled a void in my life that I never knew was there.
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