The Canton Repository 3/4/2019
Louisville-area couple have launched production of a clothes hanger for small children.
LEXINGTON TWP. For youngsters who stretch their arms high in a struggle to reach closet hangers, James Smith is sending some monkeys to lend a hand.
Through his small business Tree Top Products, Smith and his wife, Sandra, have introduced to the world Monkey Hangup, a plastic clothes hanger for kids. The long, curved stem reaches low enough where children age 3 to 6 should be able to hang jackets and coats without having to use a stool.
The stem, or monkey tail of the hanger, is a little more than a foot long.
“We designed the hanger so that it would be fun for kids,” said Smith, an engineer employed at HP Products in Louisville.
“We designed it with a monkey face with a smile. Like you see on nature (television) shows where the monkey hangs by the tail, we tried to simulate for fun a monkey hanging by its tail.”
The hangers are produced in the Sare Plastics plant at 14600 Commerce St. NE, about a mile north of Alliance. For preschool or early-elementary school-age children, grabbing a garment off a closet hanger can be tricky.
“They just yank it down so it breaks the hook or the hanger,” Smith said. “We give the kids a lending hand by making the long neck on the hanger.”
The Smiths developed the idea for the product.
“Then we built a mold,” James Smith said. “So we needed someone to run the mold. So we hired Sare Plastics. We hired them to be our workforce. They are happy to mold our parts.”
The hangers are produced using an injection mold machine and copolymer plastic as the raw material.
“This is his product,” said Thomas Timperio, quality assurance manager at Sare Plastics. “He designed, he set the standard. We do the injection molding. His last order, he ordered 1,250 pieces of each color. He has four total colors: pink, orange, green and blue .... in the manufacturing world, that is not that large” of an order.
The Smiths live in the Louisville area. Sandra Smith is assistant fiscal officer for Nimishillen Township.
Monkey Hangups are not sold in brick-and-mortar stores, at least not yet.
“We haven’t made that connection yet,” James Smith said. “We are so new we haven’t had a chance to talk with some of the stores yet. Right now we are selling them on the internet.
“We are doing this as kind of a hobby, I guess. But we hope not to lose money. We just started about two weeks ago. They are being well received. But we haven’t sold very many. But people are leaving nice comments on our website. It is very encouraging.”
A customer named Marissa wrote on the company’s site, “My daughter absolutely loves these hangers! She no longer asks me to hang up her coats and dresses....insisting on doing it herself!!”
The website address is www.monkeyhangup.com. A set of five hangers sells for $22.95.
Smith said he plans to set up a sales station soon at the Hartville MarketPlace & Flea Market.
“We want to sell them nationwide,” he said. “We have to get started, so we are selling them locally first. If things really take off, we will open up a fulfillment center. It is a place that would get all the hangers in bulk from Sare Plastics. It we get large orders, it would make sense for us to hire a couple people and pack them ourselves. We are trying to take care of the sales and marketing now. We are trying to build up demand.”
Monkey Hangup is Tree Top Products’ initial endeavor.
“We have two other products that are in the works,” Smith said. “I have to wait until we get further along before I reveal the products.”
Reach Malcolm at 330-580-8305 or firstname.lastname@example.org