Who is Gabby? The Inventor Behind “Gabby Invents the Perfect Hair Bow”

People ask me how I got inspired to write the Little Launchers book series. It’s simple. It’s little firecrackers like Gabrielle Goodwin that make me absolutely hopeful about our future. With her ingenuity and perseverance, she has achieved so much. How could I not write a book about her?

“Gabby Invents the Perfect Hair Bow” is the story of Gabrielle “Gabby” Goodwin, who at seven years old joined forces with her mother, Rozalynn Goodwin, to invent and patent a new kind of hair barrette under the company name GaBBY Bows.

Gabby Invents the Perfect Bow

“Gabby Invents the Perfect Bow” launches on Kickstarter on March 28th.

The story of GaBBY Bows begins in 2011 in Columbia, South Carolina with a social media rant from Mrs. Goodwin, who posted on social networking site Twitter that she was tired of buying faulty hair barrettes, some of which didn’t even come with clasps to hold her five-year-old daughter’s hair. As vividly portrayed in the book, that post resonated with parents in Mrs. Goodwin’s network. Mothers near and far responded that they, too, had similar issues. Mrs. Goodwin, though, just couldn’t shake a response from the Goodwin family’s pastor.

“Sounds like a market you need to break into,” Pastor Herbert Bailey, founder of Right Direction Church International, tweeted.

Mrs. Goodwin and husband Mike Goodwin had been attending Dr. Bailey’s church since before they were parents. Dr. Bailey had seen Mike’s transition from a career in college counseling to comedy, as the family-friendly “Bowtie Comedian.” Dr. Bailey was also around to witness Rozalynn’s expanding career in health care policy and the birth of the couple’s two children, Gabby and little brother Michael. To say the least, the Goodwins had counted Dr. Bailey as a key influencer in their lives for quite some time.

So, the story continues… After months of inaction, Mrs. Goodwin accidentally voiced her frustrations over the barrettes while styling Gabby’s hair. At five years old, Gabby’s first response was to ask her mother if they were going to make a new bow. Though Mrs. Goodwin tried to avoid the topic at every chance, Gabby continued to ask, until one day the mother-daughter duo sat down at the kitchen table and started brainstorming.

Gabby Goodwin GaBBY Bows

From Left to Right: Gabby at a vendor show; Gabby and mother Rozalynn on “The Real”; a close-up of GaBBY Bows (Photos courtesy of GaBBY Bows and “The Real”)

Today, GaBBY Bows is an international brand, having launched in 2014, when Gabby was seven years old. As of the summer of 2017, GaBBY Bows products have been sold in all 50 U.S. states and 8 countries across the globe. The bows can be found online or in retailers, including Once Upon a Child. At the time of writing, GaBBY Bows offered three bow designs, inspired by names parents call their little girls: Sweet Pea, Little Lady, and Daddy’s Girl. Appropriately, Daddy’s Girl is designed in the shape of a bowtie, to commemorate the influence of Gabby’s father in her life.

GaBBY Bows and CEO Gabby Goodwin have received many accolades in honor of their successes, including 2015 South Carolina Young Entrepreneur of the Year, 2016 SCORE and Sam’s Club Small Business Champion, 2015 SBA InnovateHer Business Competition National Finalist, and 2016 SCORE Outstanding Diverse Business of the Year.

Gabby and her mother give speeches around the country to inspire other kids to dream big.

Gabby Goodwin Family

From Left: Michael, Rozalynn, Mike, and Gabby Goodwin (Photo by Picture People)

While writing the Little Launchers book series, illustrator Li Zeng, videographer Dan Ndombe, and I visited Gabby and her family. The story and pictures featured in the book were all inspired by in-person and online interviews with the family. Gabby’s entire family was so incredibly supportive of her work. Her story is definitely one for inspiration for young ones as well as the adults among us!

To learn more about Gabby, her company, and the GaBBY Bows story, preorder “Gabby Invents the Perfect Bow” on Kickstarter starting on March 28th and visit gabbybows.com to see her company in action.

Erica Swallow

Erica Swallow is a status quo wrecker, entrepreneur, journalist, and debut children’s book author, with the "Entrepreneur Kid" book series. Her thoughts have been published in Forbes, Fortune, and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications. A first-generation college student, she was raised in Paragould, Arkansas and believes education is the key to opportunity. Erica holds degrees from New York University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is the founder of Southern Swallow digital strategy consultancy.