Punch in “Toni LaCava” in the search field found within Edison Nation’s forums and you’ll find some 40 pages of Toni’s words, comments and of course, that happy little girl smiling back at you in her avatar photograph. Toni is an early adopter of Edison Nation’s inventor community and has transformed into a super user and power inventor. Whether she’s welcoming a new member, cheering on another’s product successes or sympathizing with the inventor’s plight, Toni is a recognizable voice on EdisonNation.com. We’ve asked Toni to step away from the computer, the forums, her dashboard or maybe her latest, greatest invention to lend her voice to this month’s installment of Five Questions With…
ID: What event, person or occasion inspired you to start inventing?
I like to think that I was born with a knack for creating and problem solving, but I have to honestly say that my father was a huge influence on my inventive nature. He was a gifted carpenter and woodworker and would simply build anything his mind could imagine. Some of my fondest memories were growing up and helping him out in his shop, hours and days on end as he explained things, encouraged me and let me be his assistant. He was a remarkable man!
ID: What was your first invention?
I learned early on that necessity is the mother of invention. When my dad helped me build a beautiful dollhouse, I constructed every stick of furniture and stitched together each and every little accessory for my dollhouse family.
Later in life, the first invention I actually filed patents on was a special nasal air pillow holder for CPAP machines that helped alleviate the huge discomfort and problems I had experienced while using this breathing equipment. I really felt that others would benefit from this as well.
ID: You get a real sense of camaraderie when reading through the Edison Nation forums. You’ve even joined the Thomas Alva or “Talva” inventing group that has enjoyed some ASOTV success. What’s your take on the inventing journey; is it a solo sport or meant to be collaborative?
I was so excited to come across Edison Nation and find that there are so many other thinkers and problem solvers such as myself! I have enjoyed meeting and partnering up with some terrific people these past few years. For me, brainstorming and bouncing different ideas back and forth with my inventor buddies is not only fun, but also perhaps the more practical way to go about inventing new things. Rare is the person who is highly skilled at all phases of the innovation process. Sometimes two heads are better than one when tackling problems. Our “Talva” group has been together for over a year now and we have gotten to know our individual strengths and weaknesses. I really love how well we work together as a team!
ID: Do you have a favorite innovation or inventor that inspires you?
Well, I am frequently tuned in to QVC and HSN and enjoy checking out all the great, innovative products in the marketplace, but I also have a true passion for the ASOTV type items. I am extremely inspired by my best friend Betsy Kaufman’s recent success with her Eggies® and hope to achieve that same level of “wow-what-a-neat-idea” greatness as Bets! I’m so happy for her!
What advice or words of wisdom would you give to inventors working to bring their innovations to the marketplace?
Be careful, diligent, patient and levelheaded. There are many in this industry that will personally and financially take advantage of you if you’re not. The “sharks” in these waters like to feed on emotion… don’t let them!
Also, become an Edison Nation member! It’s free to join and a great resource for inventors!
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