Sometimes women after 50 think that they have reached the pinnacle of their career, but that’s not true for the unstoppable Frances Prado, a visionary whose journey began when she became an empty nester.
Often while growing up this daughter of immigrant field workers experienced bouts of homelessness and learned to do without—now she says that she is living the American Dream—but not without self-sacrifice, grit, and resolve.
In 2009, when Prado’s son was stationed in Afghanistan and her daughter went off to college, she suddenly had a lot of spare time.
“I specifically remember asking myself: ‘Frances, what are you going to do with all this time on your hands? Girl, you better start cleaning and organizing your house.’”
As Prado began to organize her drawers, she stumbled upon a problem that plagues every woman who gets dressed for work in the morning. Every time she opened the drawer, her nice, expensive bras were getting crushed no matter how neatly they were rearranged.
This was the “Aha Moment” that led this 22-year veteran production manager at Costco to create Hanging Secrets, the world’s first and only patented bra, lingerie, and prosthetic organizer/protector. She is among 7% of sole female inventors in the USA and even fewer sole Latinos who have been granted a patent here.
Many women set out to solve problems but very few actually follow through with their passion to create an award-winning finished product.
Prado’s morning routine is similar to a lot of women. She would lay her bras on the bed to match them to her outfits depending on what kind of blouse that she was going to wear. She realized that storing women’s “secrets” in the closet would keep them organized, wasting less time getting dressed in the morning.
She fleshed out how it would look hanging in the closet. Later she fashioned multiple handmade prototypes until she developed Hanging Secrets, a narrow unit that protects and displays women’s intimate apparel that hangs on the back of the door or aligns with the back wall of the closet.
Prado conducted extensive research and logged frequent calls to the U.S. Patent Office to first secure a provisional patent and later convert it to a utility patent. “In the beginning, it was pretty overwhelming because I had to learn a whole different language, but I was determined to get it done,” recalled Prado.
In January 2015, Prado and Melinda Silva, MD, became partners and established their brand, Ageless Beauty Clever Creations, LLC.
Prado’s company Ageless Beauty does more than celebrate a woman’s femininity; it supports her advocacy for cancer survivors because her mom died of pancreatic cancer at the early age of 63.
Since Hanging Secrets protects/organizes prosthetics, too, Prado struck a partnership to offer her product to The Brighter Side boutiques in California that cater to breast cancer survivor’s apparel needs. A percentage of her sales go to the Virginia Ann Scheunemann Memorial Fund that provides free services and products, like $300 prosthetics, directly to low income survivors.
At the launch party this past September 2015, Prado arranged for the first 12 recipients of Hanging Secrets to be breast cancer survivors and teamed up with beauticians to provide complete makeovers for the women.
This mom has always put her family first. After working a grueling 4:15am-2pm shift as a Costco production manager, this innovator continues to build her business and market her product–undeterred by the four years and $15,000 investment for the full patent, the steep learning curve, or any other obstacle—because she believes that this award-winning, nationally recognized product is on the verge of exploding onto the market. She is overjoyed that she can help other women.
“My daughter often tells me I am her inspiration,” she said. After 50, when I became an empty nester, then it was my turn to work on my passion and flourish. I would like to tell women everywhere that it is never too late to go after your dream!”
Originally published in the PWBN Magazine in May-June issue.
If you want to read about dreamers who are discovering their passion or learn about dream seekers who are realizing their dreams , then visit my Dare to Dream blog and check out Lynda Dell’s latest stories “A Soldier’s Journey to Social Consciousness.”
My hope is to encourage the dreamers to take the risks and learn from the dream seekers who are connecting the dots and want to guide others to discover their purpose and realize their dreams, too. I will be interviewing dream makers like Rick Giandonato who inspire dreamers to exceed their reach. Is that you?
If you are a dreamer or dream seeker, let’s connect on LinkedIn so that I can tell your story. If you are a dream maker and already have millionaire habits, then I want to share them!