Miami, Oct. 26, 2016- Taj Mohamed, a baccalaureate graduate of Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Kendall Campus was recently awarded first place in the 2016 National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) Entrepreneurial Student Award.
Taj, a graduate of the Supervision and Management Bachelor’s Degree Program, received a $2,500 prize for creating a durable, easy-to-clean bib for children. The 38-year-old single father said his two children, a 6-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter, inspired the invention.
“I was feeding my son rice and beans and the stuff was going everywhere, all over the table and the floor,” said Taj. “I’m kind of a neat freak, so it got me thinking about a bib and placemat combination that could catch all the mess.”
While attending MDC full-time, Taj was selling his bibs on Amazon. Never having used a spreadsheet program, Taj was doing his accounting on paper.
“We learned Excel in my finance class. I spent a couple days creating a custom spreadsheet and finally realized I was losing money,” Taj added.
Taj began by hiring employees at a local fabric store to make the prototype bibs, but he was running out of funds, so he decided to teach himself how to sew to save money.
“I went to Walmart and bought a $60 sewing machine and figured it out,” Taj said. “It was a hard process. My son said ‘You can’t quit, Daddy.’ He knew I had to see this to the end.”
After analyzing the feedback he was receiving from customers, Taj decided to create what the market wanted, rather than pushing his original product. He simplified the bib, made it waterproof and jettisoned the placemat attachment.
The new product was a hit with daycare centers across the country. His sales soared. The company, Toppy Toddler USA, took in just over $50,000 in revenues in 2015.