This article is adapted from AQ’s print issue on piracy in Latin America. To see the rest of our list, click here. | Leer en español
Priska Díaz was creative from an early age. As a child, she never used the clothes or dollhouse that came with her new dolls because she wanted to make her own. After immigrating to the U.S. from Peru at 17, Díaz kept that spirit alive, studying at New York City’s Pratt Institute and starting a dream career in corporate design.
But Díaz’s plans took a turn in 2008, when she became a mother for the first time and her baby started getting colicky pain and gas as a result of bottle feeding. The young mother’s concern would eventually turn into a successful career as an inventor and entrepreneur.
“When you’re a mom, you just can’t ignore your baby crying in pain,” Díaz said. “I wanted to make it better for him.”
Using her background in design, Díaz began mocking up prototypes for a better bottle at her kitchen table, sometimes on napkins. Her design evolved over the next three years to become the Bare Airfree feeding system, which takes cues from the airtight design of medical syringes to prevent air bubble formation and avoid the typical discomfort of gas from bottle feeding.
The bottle was a hit. Díaz herself piloted her first round of direct sales online, earning $75,000 in the first 48 hours. She finally secured a patent in 2014, followed by a 2016 sales contract with a major retailer in the U.S. A loyal customer base of moms offered feedback, leading to a redesign and ultimately a certification of Bare Airfree as a medical device for treating infant acid reflux.
Díaz’s business has since transformed into Bittylab, a holding company with over $1 million in revenue from the Bare Airfree product and plans to expand distribution to Mexico and her native Peru. A decade of innovation later, she encourages moms, entrepreneurs and inventors to collaborate and share ideas, rather than keeping them secret.
“From my experience, it’s not easy to copy a product … so talk about it with as many people as you can!”
Miller is production editor at AQ