Necessity is the mother of invention, and when young Nicholas wanted to eat an apple but was frustrated by the sticky juice that got all over his hand, his mother, Debbie Blake-Frasca, got an idea.
Ms. Blake-Frasca and her daughter, Megan Morici, both of Montauk, are partners in the invention and launch of Handy Apple, an apple holder for children. Early adopters, including a gathering at an apple festival, have praised the invention, and the mother-daughter team is already planning another product.
“It was all based around my little brother, who was 5 at the time,” said Ms. Morici, who was then studying business communication at Long Island University in Riverhead. “He wanted to eat an apple and the juices got all over his hand. My mom went into the kitchen and got corn holders.”
Nicholas liked the makeshift solution, but the skewers were both too small and too sharp for the boy. Ms. Blake-Frasca, whose Out of the Woods Crafts is a popular vendor at fairs, assembled a prototype that would overcome those shortcomings, and through research discovered that no such product existed.
“That’s how the Handy Apple came about,” Ms. Morici said. “Ever since then, my mom and I have been working together. She is the inventor, and I have been helping on the marketing side.”
As it happened, Ms. Morici had a project due at L.I.U.: the launch of a business with attendant website, marketing effort, and public relations blitz. Further effort was required, and the mother-daughter team became versed in such things as patents, trademarks, and bar codes. “I’m definitely putting my degree to use,” she said.
Handy Apple was a hit at the 44th annual Apples and Crafts Fair, held Oct. 8 and 9 in Woodstock, Vt., Ms. Morici said. “Our target audience was really kids. It’s almost a toy, a really fun way to have a kid eat a healthy snack.” Nonetheless, “We had older people saying, ‘This is great for people with arthritis,’ and a special-education teacher pointed out that this is amazing for children with sensory issues. We didn’t even think about that.”
Joy Mangano, the Long Island woman who invented the Miracle Mop, holds more than 100 patents, and is the subject of the 2015 movie “Joy,” was “a huge inspiration,” Ms. Morici said. “Taking care of what needs to be taken care of — that was Joy. You go through those moments of ‘Can I do this? Is it going to work?’ You doubt yourself, but think of all the positive things.” Ms. Mangano, she said, “is a strong woman that did what she wanted to do.”
Handy Apple is at present available at the Red Horse Market, One Stop Market, and Groundworks@Hren’s in East Hampton, Hank’s Pumpkintown in Water Mill, and Nook and Cranny Gifts in Islip. A website, handyapple.com, is now live.
“We can’t wait to see what happens,” Ms. Morici said of the market’s reaction to Handy Apple. Regardless, these new inventors are not finished. “We’re definitely working on more,” she said.