A Highland Park mom’s design for a pre-arranged floral insert mold is heading to the International Home and Housewares show in Chicago in March.
The inventor Patricia Schmidt has long had a creative streak, having done design work for shopping centers and supplied a line of products for e-commerce furniture and home goods company Wayfair.
“Since people know (about the line on Wayfair), I’m often asked to help with (designing arrangements for) charities and parties (in the area),” Schmidt said.
Her design experience led her to come up with the idea for the pre-arranged floral insert, the Koo-toore-a, about two years ago.
“Charities are limited in what they can spend for their events,” she said. The Koo-toore-a makes floral arrangements “cheap to do.”
The inserts feature five tubes to place flowers in surrounded by mixed greens. The inserts can go in vases or other containers, and the flowers are easily switched out in the tubes. The tubes come with caps, so the arrangements can also be hung or tilted. The inserts can also be combined to create larger arrangements.
“I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have something interchangeable that looks like fresh greenery?’” Schmidt said. “Today’s trend is all about re-usable (items).”
Now, she’s filed a patent application for her product, which, while she’s a supplier for Wayfair, is exclusively available through her floral design studio, A Fleur Couturier.
Jeanne Claire of And! Sales, a marketing firm that represents houseware and gift lines, said the patent application puts Schmidt among a comparatively small group of other women.
“Only 12% of all patents applied for are those by women,” Claire said. “However, not all inventions are necessarily manly, and an idea that comes out of a woman’s head can be just as… rewarding and successful.”