Melody Hsieh-Hornstra the #Inventor and developer of Mobo Crusiers, innovative ride-ons for children. Melody was born and raised in Taiwan where she worked in a factory from the age of eight. She relocated to the United States when she was a teenager and her strong work ethic pushed her to attain an MBA and then launch her own multi-national company, Asa Products, Inc. Melody recently discussed her experiences as a minority female #Entrepreneur and her hopes for the future:

Invention

Blasting News (BN): How did you become interested in designing toys?

Melody Hsieh-Hornstra (MHH): My brothers, sister and I played hide and seek in my parent’s auto-parts factory because we didn't have any toys.

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We stayed very active running around playing tag and playing around in the warehouse which contributed to our overall #Health And Fitness level. When I came to the U.S., I noticed a big problem with childhood obesity. I wanted to help solve this problem through fun products that would get kids active. Therefore, we provide fun cruisers to keep kids active and fit.

BN: How did you get the idea for Mobo Cruisers?

MHH: The Mobo Brand and the idea for Mobo Cruisers was my MBA baby. This was the result of a marketing project while in the USC EMBA program. One of the tasks was to develop an integrated global marketing plan to analyze potential markets, competitors, barriers to entry and SWOT analysis. In keeping with the goal of improving the health and fitness of kids, I created the Mobo Brand and Mobo Cruiser.

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BN: How many items have you designed overall?

MHH: We have designed approximately 10-12 different products over the years with my favorite being the Mobo Mity. It is a small version of the Mobo which is less than $100 and brings the fun of Mobo to the 2-5 year olds that are just beginning to get active with Ride-on-Toys. It gets kids active at an early age which we hope will develop a habit of exercise with these kids for years to come.

Business

BN: What were the challenges of designing the cruiser and starting a business?

MHH: There are a variety of manufacturing and design regulations that must be exceeded and the product must function properly and be both fun and safe. One of the greatest challenges was to design packaging that protected the product in shipping while still being appealing to consumers. Solid testing, continuous improvement, and candid feedback from customers is always a hallmark to development. The company was established in 1998 while I was in college at UC Riverside in Southern California.

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My biggest challenge was starting a business while I was in school. It taught me the importance of discipline, structure, planning and organizing to be successful in both school and starting a business.

BN: What's the absolute best thing about working in the toy industry?

MHH: To see smiling kids riding the Mobo Cruisers and having fun while getting fit is truly rewarding. In addition, what you find in the toy industry is a large group of buyers, retailers and sellers that are very good people that love kids. I have so many outstanding relationships with people in this industry that even when they change companies or change jobs, we still keep in touch because they are good people with big hearts. Like me, they love helping children.

BN: Are you currently working on anything that you want to discuss such as your goals for the future?

MHH: The Mobo Spin Drifter will be launching in the summer of 2017. It enables three wheeled cruisers to have controlled steering and can also spin 180 degrees. Once kids get on this product, they have so much fun that they want to just keep on riding! I want to globally grow the Mobo Brand and continue to enhance the lives of kids through fun and fitness. We want to create a habit of fitness for kids to keep them fit for life. We want them to step away from the TVs and video games and get outside, get fit, and Go Mobo!