Five years ago, Julie Kang was a new mom to a 6-month-old daughter. It was summertime in Phoenix, which means hot cars and even hotter car seats.
Kang was concerned about her infant daughter’s comfort and safety.
“I didn’t want to put my daughter in a hot car seat,” Kang said. “There wasn’t anything at the store, and the one product I found online only stayed cold for about 10 minutes.”
She started carrying gel ice packs in the car when she ran errands and invested in a sewing machine to create a cover for the packs.
But she didn’t stop there. Kang started experimenting with different fabrics and layering techniques until she found a combination that allowed the ice packs to stay cold all day long. This is no easy feat in Arizona, where seat temperatures inside a vehicle can exceed 120 degrees after being parked in the sun for only an hour, according to researchers at Arizona State University and the University of California.
With a background in sales, Kang realized that other parents might be interested in the cooling device she created. This led her to start Cool Carats LLC and place an initial order for 4,000 Cooltech Car Seat Coolers to be produced.
“Thanks to word of mouth and social media, we sold out our first year,” Kang said. “And sales have continued to double every year since.”
The coolers retail for $39.99. To use, parents fold and freeze them overnight for at least 12 hours. The coolers are placed on empty car seats once children exit the car, where they do their job of keeping the seat cool. Before securing the child back in their car seat, the cooler is removed and stored until its next use.
Kang sells the coolers on her website, CoolCarats.com, Amazon.com and at buybuy BABY. She has a goal of seeing her product on the shelves at other major retailers. She’s also in the development phase of creating a cooling product for adults and a new heating and cooling product for kids.
“I’m a concerned mom who wants to help others,” Kang said. “And I want parents to get their money’s worth out of my product.”
For more information, visit coolcarats.com.