Amy Barnum grew up in a family of entrepreneurs – her father's family owned the popular, now-defunct Bendfelt Fine Ice Cream company – and she was inspired by the spirit of invention at a young age.
Barnum, who lives in Whitefish Bay with her husband and five children, worked for 20 years as a brand and market strategy consultant to businesses like M&M/Mars, Vosges Haute Chocolate, Sea World, Gap, Old Navy and Umi Shoes.
About five years ago, while in an airport, Barnum says she had an "ah ha" moment that eventually made her a product inventor and a small business owner.
"I was watching travelers struggle with the small personal items that they wanted accessible, but needing hands to carry," says Barnum, 41. "I kept thinking there has to be a better way and then imagined a cross-body strap that looked cool and had the right storage for personal items."
Through Kickstarter, Barnum raised more than $10,000 and went on to create Quivvers, reversible, cross-body straps that carry personal items. Quivvers are manufactured in Milwaukee with all USA-made materials.
"Quivvers are the perfect gear for adventurers, travelers, athletes and urbanists. They are technical and intelligent with such versatile utility," says Barnum. "And they're minimal. You can practically go to bed and forget you're wearing it."
The name references a hunting quiver that is also worn across the body and traditionally holds arrows. Barnum's product is a modern update that, instead of arrows, carries tools like cell phones, money, cards, lip balm and whatever else.
"We need to go out and hunt, gather and adventure through our days," says Barnum.
Quivvers come in 16 different styles / colors and all are made from rayon, spandex and nylon. Sizes range from child to adult XL and the cost is $50-55. So far, they are available exclusively online.
Christal Korfage purchased a Quivver recently as an early birthday gift to herself.
"I have never been a purse person. The great thing about the Quivver is that it's light and also it's reflective which is ideal for running and biking at night," says Korfage. "I really love it."
During the prototype phase, Barnum was challenged to find the right fabrics, trims, zippers, sewers and machines. She had to conceptualize and fabricate parts of it herself because it didn't exist anywhere else.
"I love to 'MacGyver' things and rig them to work," says Barnum. "I am always reinventing things in my head and thinking of improvements or change. Quivvers seems like a natural outcome of my training and personality."
Barnum runs the business from her home and has one full-time employee who allows her to also stay focused on her family. Barnum's husband, Scott, handles the financial aspects of Quivvers and her children are very supportive.
"They love wearing Quivvers and they ask a lot of questions about running the business," she says.
Prior to inventing the Quivver, Barnum says she struggled with leaving keys or pieces of identification in jacket or pants pockets she wore the day before. She says Quivvers are ideal for people who are on-the-go and want to stay or get organized.
"No more contemplating leaving your phone or keys behind. No more bulging pockets. No more big bags that restrict activity," she says.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.