Jesse A. Floyd MetroWest Daily News, Framingham, Mass.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Melissa Clayton is the creator of "The Matte." The Matte is a foldable, storable platform that can sit over a sink on a vanity top so that there is more space for a hairdryer, make-up, etc. When the user is done getting ready, it folds down to the size of an iPad — and fits in a handy drawer.
Living in a Back Bay apartment, Melissa Clayton discovered a problem: There simply was not enough space in the bathroom to get ready in the morning.
Hairdryer on the toilet tank, toothbrush here, makeup there and not enough vanity top for everything to sit comfortably. And when she and her family moved to Acton, the house might have been bigger, but the bathrooms were not and the struggle continued.
It's a puzzle she believes is shared by women everywhere.
From that, the germ of an idea — a collapsible platform that could sit over the sink on the vanity top. When done, it folds down to the size of an iPad — and fits in a handy drawer.
"I wanted to make this to solve a problem millions of women face every day, getting ready in small spaces," she said.
The result was The Matte — which is exactly what it sounds like — a foldable, storable countertop. To date, she's sold them on Amazon and on Sephora, and now she's ready to take the next step. On Friday night, she will make an appearance on the business program "Shark Tank."
She is hoping the exposure — and the experience of the program's hosts — will expedite expansion of The Matte. It is, she said, a scalable business and something that could be found in big-box stores and online.
"This is a game-changer," she said. "It's very simple to use, takes a minute to set up and keeps things clean, easy and organized."
The program, slated to air Friday night, has already been taped.
Multiple businesses The Matte is the second of Clayton's entrepreneurial efforts. Behind the Starbucks on Mass. Ave in Acton are the offices of jewelry manufacturer Tiny Tags.
The decade-old business makes customized jewelry for moms. Whether celebrating a newborn or memorializing a family member, the company is Clayton's passion.
The Matte and Tiny Tags are two different entities. She has built Tiny Tags slowly, she said, and it's a more intimate, personal business.
"It (Tiny Tags) is a real community-based business," Clayton said. "What's important are the stories behind the tags."
Family affair Clayton grew up in Tyngsborough and attended UMass Amherst and later D'More-McKim School of Business at Northeastern.
After a time living in California, she and her husband Mike (he is from upstate New York) came back East, settling in Acton, which was convenient for work.
They are raising three boys — one now in high school and two in junior high school.
A few years ago, she pitched the idea of her husband stepping off the 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. treadmill of commuting to Boston. He is now the Tiny Tags' CFO.
'Shark Tank' The TV program airs at 8 p.m. Friday on ABC. The idea is fairly simple: Business hopefuls pitch their ideas, hoping one of the hosts (the sharks) will invest in the idea.
In Clayton's case, working around the pandemic became part of the story. She was required to quarantine in Las Vegas for nine days. This was no "don't go outside," quarantine.
"Once I arrived at the Venetian Hotel, I was not allowed to leave my hotel room until the morning of the shoot, not even to get ice in the hallway," she said.
The crew of the show took care of all her needs and she used the time to hone her pitch. She's watched the show, evolving her tactics to deal with skeptical co-hosts. She was particularly prepared for the host known as Mr. Wonderful (Kevin O'Leary) — who would have no use for The Matte — and has a reputation as mean and acerbic.
"The entire experience was amazing, albeit nerve wracking," Clayton said.
"I just hope my boys are proud of me!" ___ Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.