I first met Jody Harris (virtually) when I was planning the Women of Color Travel event. She was generous enough to share her innovative travel product, Yuk-B-Gone with our attendees. If you hate the icky feeling of an airplane toilet…. you need to have Yuk-B-Gone in your life! I was immediately taken by her story and how she’s a fine boss lady, constantly inventing products to make our lives much easier. I asked her about how travel influenced her to be a successful entrepreneur. This is what she had to say:
Tell us about your first trip as an adult? What were your impressions?
I will never forget walking out of my boss’s office after finding out I was heading to a business conference in Orlando, Florida. Not only was this my first business trip but my first time to fly as well. And I was going to be spending a full day at Disney World too! Being a budding professional, I kept my enthusiasm to a minimum, but I was silently singing Disney songs in my head all the way to my car. Two weeks later, I was settled into my airplane seat. It was a little unnerving. I couldn’t begin to imagine how this huge plane going to get off the ground. I was no longer white knuckled once we reached flying altitude…..By then I was hooked and haven’t stopped traveling since.
Which place has given you a completely different perspective on travel?
In 1995, I had the privilege to go to Europe for 10 days. My first stop was Paris and after an eight hour flight, I had no idea what to expect. As soon as we landed, we taxied up to a free standing unloading dock, deplaned and were escorted to a bus by armed guards. I was very uneasy and kept thinking something bad had happened. Once inside, we were hurried through customs and I quickly realized this was normal protocol in Europe. Later that day, I went to the Gare Du Nord train station where I encountered more armed guards making their presence known and securing trains after they had entered the train station. I felt a sense of security and came to the conclusion that Europe was ready and on guard at all times for any threat that might occur.
You invented the product “Yuk-B-gone”. What inspired you to create this product?
Necessity has been my inspiration for both of my inventions. YukBGone was invented because of my encounters with dirty toilet seats during my travel. I was tired of trying to do my yoga pose while in the bathroom. YukBGone, a non-toxic toilet seat spray, was born. You just spray and it instantly sanitizes. Wipe off the excess and it gives you peace of mind and a clean seat every time. ZippedMe was my first invention. There were many times on the road I had to call the hotel desk or go out in the hall and act like a damsel in distress to have someone help zip me up. So I invented ZippedMe. It allows you to zip up your dress in the back when you are alone. It’s a beautiful accessory that can also be worn as jewelry after you use it. Just clip it to the zipper and pull gently.
Which destination has been the most interesting to explore? Why?
I loved Amsterdam because of the people and its history. It was an amazing experience to explore the museums, walk through Anne Frank’s house, float on the canals and view this beautiful city once ravaged by war. I loved seeing the variety in Amsterdam and really enjoyed observing people from all walks of life. The sense of community harmony with such diversity among the people of Amsterdam was inspiring.
Share an essential business travel tip.
When I travel for any reason, I pack each pair of my shoes in a plastic shower cap so my dirty shoes don’t come in contact with my clean clothes. Also, I prevent my clothes from wrinkling by covering clothes that need to be hung up with dry cleaning bags.
Big thanks for Jody Harris for sharing her travel influences story. Are you an entrepreneur? How has travel influenced your business?