By Tyler Miles
The Sentinel, Carlisle, Pa.
When Martha Stewart has enough interest in your product to feature it on her website’s blog and to line her stable’s beams with them, you may have something valuable on your hands.
That’s what Cynthia Garry, owner and inventor of the Scratch n All, found out after being approached by Stewart’s stable manager at a 2011 trade show, after word of the product reached the television personality.
The Scratch n All is a 5-inch by 6-inch by 1-inch bendable rubber scratch pad that can be applied to corners or flat surfaces, allowing animals — typically barnyard, domestic and zoo — to scratch themselves by rubbing against it. It can bend 90 degrees so that it fits over corners, and a smaller, softer-bristled Scratch n All is available for small animals or those with sensitive skin.
“You don’t have to cut this thing to make it fit, you design whatever you want,” Garry said. “You can stack them low if you have a smaller animal or higher it you have a larger animal so that everybody can get in their scratch.”
The self-proclaimed senior entrepreneur came up with the idea in 2007, during a time in her life when she said she “knew there was something I had to do for myself.”
After standing in her barn one day and noticing her mustang, Sundance, trying to scratch himself under his chin the only way horse can — straddling on three legs and bringing a hind leg up to reach its chin, Garry had her epiphany.
“I thought, ‘You know, there’s got to be an easier way for a horse to scratch under its chin,’ so I made a prototype, and I put it over his door,” Garry said. “He began using it immediately. About two days later, I went out and started finding hair, and that was when I knew I had something.”
Garry originally reached out to a cousin of hers who is an inventor, who referred her to Rod Hoffmann, a toy designer based in Oklahoma. Garry said that Hoffmann’s ties to a manufacturer in China were helpful, though not what she preferred.
Due to high costs up front for molding and manufacturing, shipping and her first shipment of Scratch n All’s coming to the United States with a 20 percent defect rate, Garry quickly soured on the deal. And with the charges for buying her mold back from the Chinese manufacturer, packing and inspections, Garry faced the only “rough-patch” in her business venture.
“Everything you do in business, when you make a mistake, it costs money,” she said. “But I don’t think the general public has an idea of what it costs to run a business.”
Now, Garry has a new deal with SE Moulding, 6 Mill St., Mount Holly Springs, a manufacturer specializing in unique and creative products.
The Scratch n All, which is now FDA approved and patented in the U.S. and Europe and sells for $15.99 a pad, has reached more than 17,000 in total products sold, Garry said, with sales occurring daily.
Garry sells her product through her website, www.scratchnall.com, and at trade shows, which she said are great for meeting people and promoting the invention. The Horse World Expo held in Harrisburg earlier this month, and November’s Equine Affaire in Springfield, Massachusetts, are the two major trade shows Garry attends each year.
Carole Iverson, of Wrightsville, bought her first Scratch n All five years ago and said she finds the product “brilliant,” especially during the current time of year, when many animals are beginning to shed.
“I love it, more so my horses — my horses love it. I don’t use it for scratching my back, but they do,” Iverson quipped. “Oftentimes, they’ll find anything to scratch on, and it injures them, yet once they know that there’s something that relieves that itch, they go right to it.”
While the Scratch n All has seen enough success to provide for Garry, and garner the attention of Martha Stewart, Garry continues to push her invention with the hopes of achieving her ultimate goal, one with humble roots.
“My goal for this business is to make enough to where I can generously donate to reputable spay and neuter organizations to get this population down and to pay for spay and neutering so that the unwanted are never born,” Garry said. “That’s my mission, that is my goal with this company. It’s for what I believe in.”