Sharon Soloway of Tucson, Ariz. and creator of Tady Tote®, was named the winner of The Next Big Thing for 2013 during the June Dallas Total Home & Gift Market. The Next Big Thing is Dallas Market Center’s national search for the best new products. Sharon shares more about her winning product in this Q&A:

Describe the Tady Tote:
Tady Tote provides an indoor/outdoor cushioned area for children, ranging from infants who need tummy time to youngsters napping at preschool. The Tady Tote converts from bag to mat instantly and has waterproof backing and a snuggly bear blanket inside that is removable and easy to launder. It’s large enough for parent and child, and has pockets for baby bottles and snacks. And there’s quick clean up. You just leave toys on the mat and simply fold and go.


What inspired you to create Tady Tote?
When my daughter was a baby, I wanted to go outside with her to let her get some fresh air and play with toys. All I could find were thin baby blankets, which had no cushioning or water resistance, and an old comforter, not great for laundering. I also wanted to gather up her toys quickly and easily.
What do you think sets Tady Tote apart from other similar products?
I think the Tady Tote is special because of its all-in-one aspects. There are other infant play mats, but can they be taken outside? Are they large enough for Mom to sit on too? Can they carry items inside them? Do they come with large pockets? Do they come with an adorable teddy bear blanket that is plush, removable and washable? Tady Tote has all of these features. They really “wow” at baby showers and can be used when a child goes to pre-school – a great investment.

How would you describe your experience showing at June market?
My experience at the show was outstanding! I met buyers from many different states and even Canada. It is an excellent market for both new products and well established businesses alike. Our prime booth location lent itself to great foot traffic throughout the show. I can’t say enough about the top-notch team at the DMC; they were incredibly professional, yet warm and friendly.
As the winner of The Next Big Thing, Sharon Soloway receives a $12,500 prize package, which includes $2,500 in cash, a complimentary booth in the Dallas Temp Show for January 2014 and consultations with industry experts on marketing, visual merchandising and more.