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National September 11 Memorial & Museum
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People On The Move: Wendy Neuberger and Stephanie Phillips
03/05/2009

People On The Move: Wendy Neuberger and Stephanie Phillips

TURNING A SIMPLE IDEA INTO REALITY


Watch out Holmdel! Two local entrepreneurs are about to put you on the map. Meet Wendy Neuberger and Stephanie Phillips, designers and creators of the disposable toothbrush holder. If you’ve ever wondered where to keep your toothbrush while traveling then keep reading. This invention promises to keep your toothbrush bristles clean and dry. You haven’t seen their product in hotels or amenity stores yet, but keep your eyes open; pretty soon it’ll be just as popular as disposable utensils.

Wendy and Stephanie, two Holmdel moms (with two children each) have been living in Holmdel for more than two decades combined. Both ambitious women had successful careers, as a speech therapist and meeting planner, respectively, at McGraw Hill, until they had children and took on their next important roles…playing mom. When their kids started getting older and advancing in the Holmdel school district, these stay-at home moms were ready to move forward with their careers again, only this time they wanted to try something different. With full force, Wendy and Stephanie ventured into the world of business. What better time to do it than in this economy? They are guaranteed to hold onto their jobs, since they are the only two people in the company.

These leading ladies didn’t start their business yesterday. It has been 2 years since their adventure began, and the road has been filled with bumps and turns. The idea came to Wendy and Stephanie since they are both avid travelers…always on the go. When they stayed in hotels, they wondered where to keep their toothbrushes without resting them on a dirty counter or in a glass. The idea for a disposable toothbrush holder hit them while discussing the issue on a long walk for Breast Cancer in New York City.

First, Wendy and Stephanie needed to put their product idea on paper, find a lawyer, patent it, and finally, secure a manufacturer willing to make the prototype at a reasonable cost. United States manufacturers wanted to overcharge for the sample toothbrush holders, so Wendy and Stephanie found resources in China where their creation could be made at a low enough cost to be profitable. If you’ve never invented something this may sound like a nightmare, but it wasn’t for these two determined women. Their biggest obstacle wasn’t even creating a name for their company (W & S Designs). “That was simple,” Stephanie says, pointing to the monogram logo where her initial appears second to Wendy’s. “There’s already a company name that is S &W, so W & S would suffice.”

The most complicated part of the process, they said, came at The Javits Center showcase last November, when they argued over throwing out a carpet or not. So far, that argument has been the roughest part of their journey as entrepreneurs. Wouldn’t everyone wish for that to be their biggest issue? Wendy and Stephanie did say that there were times they wanted to throw in the towel, but their hard work, persistence, time, and effort kept them going. As they like to put it, “Nothing comes easy.”

That’s a lesson they’ve taught their [collective] four children in these past 2 years. Their kids have watched as their mothers spent countless hours writing, researching, and making business phone calls. Wendy and Stephanie’s persistence has taught their kids to keep trying, and eventually good fortune will follow. Their success has already inspired other Holmdel residents to follow their dreams. Wendy and Stephanie said that some other friends are now working on creating businesses, too.

Right now, W & S Designs is pitching the disposable toothbrush holder, meeting with hotel management leaders and amenity distributors. So, look out hotel housekeeping… your carts will soon be filled with W & S Designs!







STATS
FAVORITE RESTAURANT

Wendy – Bay Avenue Trattoria,Highlands
Stephanie – Copper Canyon,Atlantic Highlands

FAVORITE MUSICIAN
Wendy – Eric Clapton
Stephanie – Billy Joel

FAVORITE MOVIE
Wendy – Bridget Jones Diary
Stephanie – Pretty Woman

PET PEEVE
Wendy – no place to keep your toothbrush at a hotel;
Stephanie – cars that take up two parking spaces

THREE PEOPLE YOU’D LIKE TO HAVE DINNER WITH
Wendy – Zadie Smith,Ina Gardner, and Al Gore;
Stephanie – Ellen Degeneres, Oprah Winfrey, and Jim Carrey




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