Tuesday April 10, 2012
Maureen Farinella knew there had to be a better way to track required reading time for her daughter, Megan. She wanted a product that would fit neatly into a book and store reading time until the reader deleted it. Ideally the product could be started and stopped whenever the reader wanted to read just a little more. And, of course, a countdown timer with an alarm would be nice so that children could get absorbed in a story without the distraction of checking on the time every few minutes.
Finding no product that met these needs, Maureen set out with her husband, Joe, to create one. And thus marked the introduction of the mark-my-time digital bookmark.
With only a cardboard prototype in hand, Joe and Maureen filed for their first patent. Thanks to Joe's extensive business and sales background, they successfully secured manufacturing and warehousing and then set out to create packaging and build a website to support an online business. A major turning point came at mark-my-time's first trade show and the inaugural launch of the bookmark—the 2004 BookExpo of America, where they had the good fortune of winning the show's "Best New Product" award. As a result of the positive publicity from the show and the award, coupled with the previous retail experience of Maureen and partner Traci Kahus, the mark-my-time digital bookmark became a regularly stocked item on the shelves of Barnes and Noble, Borders and many independent bookstores nationwide.
Holiday sales in 2004 proved to be a high point in the young company’s first few months of business, with retailers selling out of the bookmarks as quickly as they placed them on the shelf. The summer of 2005 saw mark-my-time launch into its first back-to-school campaign which also proved to be very successful with major retailers who decided to place orders to carry the product nationally. Since then, schools and libraries scattered across the country have also recognized the benefits of this unique product and have ordered it in quantities from classroom packs to bookmarks for the whole school for classroom use. This innovative product also found its way into summer reading programs for libraries nationwide.
Thus, what started as a simple solution to track their daughter's required reading time for school has resulted in a highly successful nationwide business, as well as a launching pad for future innovative, educational products.