:Brooke Simpson can change, feed and burp her daughter Rileigh, 1, with the MOGO, an invention by her aunt Donna Phillips. - Staff Photos: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith
COVINGTON -- Donna Phillips has observed mothers struggle to feed and change their babies while on the go, and she's seen how difficult it can be for moms to remain tidy when caring for a little one.
Phillips' niece, Beth Kelly, complained to her one day that her clothes were always soiled due to her baby Cassidy's acid reflux, and she felt she couldn't go anywhere without needing to bring a change of clothes. Burp cloths often fell off her shoulder.
The two began brainstorming, and took to cutting up a beach towel in an attempt to create a solution to the problem. The result was the MOGO, short for "Mommy On the Go," an invention that Phillips created to make moms' lives a little more convenient.
A former flight attendant, Phillips witnessed moms changing their babies on floors, tray tables and seats of aircrafts and using blankets provided for passengers as a pad or to cover them while breastfeeding, a less than sanitary situation. She also spent a lot of time helping moms clean pacifiers that had fallen on the floor or the seats of the plane.
Phillips decided to create a multi-functional product that could help mothers on the go address all of those issues. MOGO can be strapped over a mother's shoulder and includes a modesty flap for mother and baby while feeding. It can also be used as a burp cloth. The product is partially made of the same material used to create parachutes, so that it can be easily cleaned by wetting and wiping. It can also be machine washed and dried. Pockets on each end serve to collect fluids -- and yes, that includes spit up that may occur down a mother's back when burping. The strip of material goes a good length down the mom's back, with a pocket at the end to catch the spit up, so moms can avoid soiled clothes. It's something folks don't really like to talk about, but it's a reality for mothers, Phillips said.
MOGO can be flipped over and used as a changing pad and there are additional pockets for wipes, diapers and other incidentals, as well as a pacifier holder.
Phillips' niece, Brooke Simpson, who has a 1-year-old, Rileigh, said she loves MOGO because the strap stays put, unlike a lot of covers that she's tried out that fall off when feeding.
"If you try to feed in front of people it can be embarrassing. I like it because it's very durable and easy," she said.
Phillips has been making MOGOs for about four years, giving them away to family and friends. She's now ready to launch her business and has obtained a provisional patent, a temporary patent that provides protection for a year, until a final patent is obtained.
It takes about three hours to make each MOGO and Phillips creates each one by hand. She can customize to a customer's wishes, with a variety of patterns, buttons, bows, a choice of snaps or Velcro and monograms.
"This is my passion. I love to sew, I love to create," she said, adding that this new venture is in honor of her grandmother, Annie Mary Eskew, who taught her to sew.
A website, www.mommy-on-the-go.com, is in the works and Phillips is ready to start taking orders. She said she plans to price MOGOs "in the $50 range" and will donate at least $5 per sale to three charitable organizations -- a foundation for those suffering from Guillain-Barre Syndrome, in honor of her niece, Cassidy, who inspired MOGO; Great Pyrenees Rescue Atlanta, in honor of her rescue dog; and hazingprevention.org, a national anti-hazing organization.
She'd like to eventually go on the TV show, "Shark Tank" or QVC, but that would require mass production, and right now her operation is small. Phillips said she'd love to someday have a warehouse where she could employ grandmothers and others who like to sew to help her craft MOGOs. "Personalization is the key. I want to keep them as personal as I can," she said.
Phillips can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-843-9602.