When Missy and Matt Kelly invented the first CatTongue Grip, their focus was on solving the problem of slippery devices that slide in the car, in your hand, on your workspace, on your clothes, out of your pockets...you get the picture! They wanted to create a more effective, non-slip grip solution for cell phones that didn’t add needless bulk, worked with wireless charging, and prevented cracked screens and expensive device replacements. Their recyclable phone grips served as a subtle reminder to consumers that we live in a world of gravity, awkward objects, and hard, slippery surfaces. Now that humans regularly move around juggling multiple expensive supercomputer devices, it makes sense to safely manage them during everyday situations.
CatTongue Products Grip the Attention of the Disability Community
As proud as they were of developing an entire line of CatTongue Grip products, including the CatTongue Phone Grips, Phat Cat for laptops and tablets, and their newest product, the CatTongue Non-Abrasive Grip Tape, Missy and Matt never imagined that the functionality and utility of their “gription company” would soon expand into the disability market. While attending an event this past September they met an incredible new friend, Paralympic Hall of Famer Chris Waddell, who opened their eyes to the full potential of the versatile non-slip grip they had recently brought to market. Chris, who in 2009 had become the first paraplegic to climb Mount Kilimanjaro nearly unassisted in a handcycle, explained to them that people with disabilities deal with a wide range of issues that able-bodied people probably never even think about.
As a wheelchair user, Chris says that he regularly worries that his laptop will slide off his lap while he’s in motion. Just getting in the car without losing track of his phone is a process, he explained. Chris soon became an advocate for the CatTongue Grips product line, correctly predicting it would be a major boon for members of the disability community. Now when he’s wheeling along, his iPad remains snugly affixed to his lap; and when he’s getting into his car, the CatTongue becomes a third hand that allows him to mount his phone to the dashboard while he puts his seatbelt on. And that was just the beginning.
Wheelchair users expand the everyday applications of CatTongue Grips
Missy and Matt’s trajectory for their CatTongue “gription” products has evolved from a fairly narrow focus on gripping phones without bulky cases, to improving the everyday lives of millions of people with disabilities.
Meanwhile, their immersion into that inspiring community continued, as they learned just how versatile and useful anti-slip tape is to people with disabilities. At the “How I Built This Summit” in October, Missy met another wheelchair user, Gretchen, who became yet another passionate advocate for their product. Gretchen explained another common problem for wheelchair users: keeping their feet in place on the footplates. “It’s very frustrating,” she said, “my toes turn inward and don’t stay put. I put the grip tape on the footplate of my wheelchair,” Gretchen continued, “and I am so happy with it! I knew I needed something like this but I didn't really know if it would make a difference and this has.”
There are many, many different kinds of disabilities represented around the world. The possibilities are endless with the CatTongue Non-Abrasive Grip Tape which can be cut, modified, and customized to provide a moveable grippy surface in a wide variety of environments and situations. For example, one young man uses the CatTongue NonAbrasive Grip Tape to help him hold on to his silverware so he can feed himself. It’s also useful for gripping hearing aids, the rims of glasses and virtually anything on which you need to get a better grip.
Missy and Matt are pleasantly shocked. One product has become multiple products with dozens of customized designs and sizes.
"We are so excited we can make an impact on this community," Missy says, beaming.
The story is an instructive one. It’s easy for people without disabilities to take for granted the seamlessness of moving through this world without encumbrances, obstacles and limitations. For users with disabilities, however, the daily adventure of contending with gravity, awkward objects and slick surfaces takes on a whole new dimension.
The CatTongue Grips team will have a booth at the upcoming Dallas Abilities Expo (December 13-15) to provide first-hand demonstrations of their CatTongue Phone Grips, Phat Cat for laptops and tablets along with their newest product, the CatTongue Non-Abrasive Grip Tape.
You can learn more about the CatTongue product line at the CatTongue Grips website.