Message from Mom: Zomm Founders Mark Product's Introduction into Best Buy

Article excerpt

A year after Laurie Penix came up with the idea, the first and only wireless leash for mobile phones hit Best Buy shelves this week.

The award-winning device has been shipping to consumers through June, but is also going into retail stores. Using Bluetooth technology, the key-chain-sized Zomm prevents users from losing their cell phone by vibrating, flashing and sounding an alarm every time the owner walks too far away from their phone. The device also features call notification and a speakerphone and acts as a safety device, sounding a panic alarm.

The device is the brainchild of Penix, a mother of three, who kept hearing stories from her children and her friends about losing their mobile phones. With her husband, Henry Penix, she created Zomm in a year.

Since her idea came from hearing about her kids losing their phones, Laurie Penix came up with the name: Z-O-M-M, which stands for Zac, Olivia and Madison's Mom.

Laurie Penix is co-founder and president of Zomm LLC. Henry Penix is CEO. They are humbled by how the device went from an idea to concept to retail so quickly.

"People invest so much into their phones," Laurie Penix said. "It is virtually impossible to walk away from their cell phone."

Laurie Penix knew the device would have to be small enough to carry on a key chain.

"People never leave the house without their keys," she said. "We thought this would be perfect."

Performing their due diligence led the couple to Peter Hauser, who has extensive experience with consumer electronics and insider knowledge of the Bluetooth wireless technology industry. While working for Microsoft, Hauser created the wireless keyboard and wireless mouse. The couple brought Hauser onto their team. Soon, the concept took shape as they refined the device into the product it is today.

"We realized that this product had the potential to become a true 'must-have' accessory for the mobile phone," Laurie Penix said. …