Marcy McKenna was tired of the clutter that covered her bathroom spaces. So the Newport Beach mother developed the Styling Station, a fire-proof cabinet that can house all of a woman's electric beauty appliances in one small space.
Born to a family of inventors — McKenna's grandfather invented a mechanism that delays bombs from exploding — she never found the right moment to bring her ideas to fruition.
"I've always kind of looked at my inventions as a dream that I wouldn't be able to pursue in a real way," McKenna said. "One night when I was on the Internet looking at Google patents, one link went to another link, and Kelly Ripa's face came up and her show about finding inventors. It was just a dream come true."
There was only one small catch at the time: The show's deadline was in two hours.
McKenna called Ripa's production company, Milojo Productions, and begged them to allow her to send the entry in the following day. They said yes.
Then they said yes to McKenna being on the show. On Friday, TLC will debut Ripa's "Homemade Millionaire," which features McKenna in the premiere.
The Newport entrepreneur always felt confident about her product because she knew it was a problem almost every woman faced.
"I started talking to friends and family, and every single female I talked to had the same problem on one scale or another," she said. "When I started taping the show and started talking about it with people in New York City, they started flipping out about it because they have such small bathroom spaces."
Each episode of the six-part series follows three inventors in a specific niche. The first episode follows McKenna and two other inventors in the beauty industry.
A winner is declared at the end of each show. The winner receives a contract with HSN, a beauty company that will manufacture, market and sell the product on TV and online.
Although McKenna can't reveal the winner, she says that no matter what, the show has provided her with the tools to succeed.
"Win or lose, what I learned in the process, the contacts I made, what I learned about my product and the market, it was the opportunity of my life," she said.
Ripa, host of "Live with Regis and Kelly," proposed the show to TLC due to the abundance of stories she was hearing about women and products they were hoping to create.
"Every day, women in the U.S. think of useful inventions and business ideas and yet don't have the time or resources to catapult their creations to the next level," according to the show's website.
Thus, the reality-TV series focuses on everyday women looking to make their dreams into reality.
"Women have so many amazing ideas," McKenna said. "Many times they're in a world consumed by their kids. It's not as easy for them to go out and make it happen."
A busy mother to three children, one of whom has special needs, McKenna never thought her inventions would end up anywhere but on her notepad. She credits the show with invigorating her with a renewed passion for her family trade.
"As a result of the show, I started my own company, and I started prioritizing my inventions," she said. "One by one I'm working to bring my inventions to life. I guess it's all about my experience on the show."
Now McKenna is focusing on her invention company, Simply Solved. Just like the Styling Station, her products focus on removing the little annoyances that people face on a day-to-day basis.
And what's next for her?
McKenna is in the process of launching the Cambia Clutch Purse Collection, which allows fashionable ladies on the go the ability to create multiple looks with one handbag.