"Meet Mina Yoo, Inventor of the Qlipter"Meet Mina Yoo, Mom, Business Woman, Inventor

• Tell us about your invention? What does problem does it solve?

Unlimited utility in one super clip. One early reviewer called it, “ingenious” and “infinitely useful for campers and anyone living on earth.” The Qlipter is a multi-purpose tool that combines inventive design with function. A re-imagined carabiner clip, the Qlipter has a 360 degree rotating hook that swivels to allow you to hang your gear securely over just about any surface. The tapere nose fits into narrow openings and the clip stays securely closed with a securely placed magnet and rubber gripper. The Qlipter can hold up to 50lbs.

The Qlipter solves the problem of not having enough hands to handle all of your gear at once. We like to call Qlipter the ultimate “life hack” because it genuinely makes life easier by allowing you to keep your hands free while hanging your gear safely and securely.

• What was the inspiration for your invention?

There were twp events that inspired me to create the Qlipter. The first event was the birth of my son. As most moms know, going anywhere with a baby is hard and you never have enough hands to hold onto your child and all of their gear. Instead of having to put bags on the ground, I wanted a way to be able to hang a bag so that I could hold onto my son and still keep his gear within my reach.

The second inspirational event was when I was summiting Mt. Rainier. During our training hikes, I wished that I had a way to hang my backpack so that I didn’t have to put in on the muddy ground. Carrying a wet, muddy backpack for miles is really unpleasant! I searched the market high and low and just couldn’t find anything that would work. These 2 events inspired me to create the Qlipter.

• At what stage in the invention process are you?

The Qlipter launched as a Kickstarter project in April 2014 and received almost 4 times the original funding goal. After our goal was reached, we went into production and currently sell the Qlipter on our website and through various retail outlets. This summer, the Qlipter will make its debut in several large retailers.

• What is the number one goal you have with regards to your invention?

I am all about efficiency and making the most of the time we have and getting the most enjoyment out of everything we do. My number one goal for the Qlipter is to get it into the hands of everyone who leads an active life so that they can do whatever they do more easily, more conveniently and more enjoyably. I am also using my experience gained through this invention and its related inventions to launch a new initiative that will turn moms’ ideas into products with little effort on their parts (we all know how busy moms are). Moms have such great product ideas, but they don’t always have the time, desire, funds or know-how to get their ideas to market. I think this is a true shame for all of us consumers, and I intend to change this.

• Who is your product for (target market)?

Our target market is large because we feel that the Qlipter has uses and makes life easier for just about everyone. Currently, we are specifically targeting parents, outdoor enthusiasts and travelers.

• How long did your invention take to get to this point (from the time you conceived of the idea to now)?

It took 3 years!

• When you had your idea, what was the first thing you did?

The first thing I did was to sketch out a design, and then keep sketching until I came up with a design that could be turned into a crude prototype using moldable plastic. My second step was to hire a local blacksmith to create one for me in metal. I used whatever I could find at the hardware store to make sure that the concept was sound. Here is a rough timeline in product development.
"Qlipter Product development Timeline"

• What has been the greatest challenge getting your idea from your head to something tangible?

Making something tangible is extremely difficult and time- consuming. Without a doubt the most challenging thing has been sourcing and quality control. I found a local company that helps with sourcing and quality control overseas. Besides quality control provided already, I use a third-party quality control inspection service. This summer, I am going to have a dedicated quality control person from our company who will travel to the manufacturer’s site for every production run.

• How did or are you funding the development of your invention?

As previously mentioned, the Qlipter was initially funded by our Kickstarter launch. We currently sell the Qlipter on our website and through various retailers.

• How do you currently market your invention?

We market the Qlipter via our social media channels, through gear and press reviews and also at trade shows. We have several wholesale customers and are adding more retailers almost daily. We also use distributors and sales reps in specific markets.

• Tell us about your background?

I was born in Seoul, Korea, and grew up in Dubai, U.A.E., and Jakarta, Indonesia.  Moving to the United States, I earned my B.A. in Sociology from Brown University and my dual Ph.D. in Business and Sociology from the University of Michigan, earning nationally the Best Dissertation Award in my field with my work on social networks and entrepreneurship.  Prior to founding Lulabop, I worked as a professor at the University of Washington Foster School of Business and as Visiting Faculty Fellow at Stanford University. During my career as an academic, I taught Entrepreneurship, Organizational Behavior and Corporate Strategy to executives, doctoral students, MBA students and undergraduates while researching entrepreneurship, social networks and economic development.

• Who are your favorite inventors and why?

I have many favorite inventors, but right now, one that stands out is Ole Kirk Christiansen, the inventor of Lego. Not only did he come up with an innovative product that is still going strong after more than half a century, he persevered through some very challenging times both personally and with the product. I love the nature of the product itself. It promotes creativity in both kids and adults and is a great group activity as well (I loved Lego when I was little, and I still love it and am thrilled that my kids are old enough to play with it now as well). Lego as a business is also commendable; I admire how adaptive it has been over the years, always staying relevant to other things going on in the entertainment and gaming world.

• What’s been the most surprising part of your inventor’s journey so far?

I have been really struck by how many people have come to me to ask for tips and advice. Everyone has great ideas, but there really is a dearth of information on all the nitty gritty involved in making a product.

• What is a typical day like for you?

After I say goodbye to the kids, I wear about a dozen hats to run the business. Even though I have several team members helping me, I need to be involved in most of the operations and strategy. Currently, we have 3 additional products in the works so that entails working with the designers (industrial, package and graphic). I also try to identify several retailers a day to reach out to. I am also in the process of launching a new initiative that requires outreach to partners, website building and marketing plans.

• Who have been your role models, mentors, etc?

I am lucky to be surrounded by many entrepreneurs. Each entrepreneur has kernels of experience that are relevant to my business, no matter what industry s/he is in. I also belong to two business groups; we meet every month and discuss our various successes and challenges and have problem-solving sessions.

• Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

At Lulabop, the company behind the Qlipter, we feel that women, especially moms, really have the best ideas for new products and inventions. They are problem solvers by nature and know what it takes to keep a household running smoothly. We want to encourage women to harness these ideas and make them reality. Anyone with an idea can truly be an inventor!

• What’s the best way for the readers/audience of Inventing Women to connect with you?

We have several ways that readers can connect with us:

Website: http://qlipter.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/qlipter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/qlipter

Instagram: https://instagram.com/qlipter/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/qlipter/

What is the cost and how can we  learn more, purchase your invention?

The Qlipter sells for $19.95 on our website and includes free shipping to the U.S. and Canada. You can learn more here: