By Noe Hernandez, Livingston Daily7:07 a.m. EDT August 24, 2016
[Livingston Daily News, and Detroit Free Press, Aug. 24, 2016]
The Fosters are now testing a tip-proof bowl for cats and small dogs
Guinea pigs Ginger, left, and Cocoa eat out of a "Stay Bowl" a family invention. Pictured in the background are Ken Foster, at top left, his wife Janice Karlovich and 13-year-old daughter Megan Foster.(Photo: Gillis Benedict)
Guinea pigs might be cute little pets, but they can be messy eaters when they have to get to food in an unstable bowl.
That's why Megan Foster and her dad, Ken Foster, invented STAYbowl, a pet food bowl they say will not tip over, saving pellets and preventing a mess.
"It's pretty cool," said Megan, a Scranton Middle School eighth-grader. "I like how the STAYbowl keeps the cage clean, so I don't have to clean it as much."
Megan's mom, Janice Karlovich, markets the bowl, and her 15-year-old brother, Sean, promotes it on Instagram and Facebook.
The Green Oak Township family first developed the tip-proof bowl for Megan's two pet guinea pigs, Cocoa and Ginger, but later discovered it also was perfect for dwarf rabbits and hedgehogs.
Megan and her dad are now testing a tip-proof bowl for cats, small dogs and other smaller pets, and developing other pet toys.
Ken Foster said guinea pigs have a tendency to knock over their food bowls by standing on the edge and pulling on the bowl, spilling the pellets in or under their cage. The pellets then go to waste because guinea pigs are finicky and don't eat the pellets once they've spilled on the floor.
The Fosters designed the STAYbowl with a circular base for flat and rough surfaces to keep it from tipping over, even if the guinea pigs put their paws on the edge and pull. They tested the concept with friends and then shipped it to Netherlands for final design.
Ken Foster had a factory in China make 9,000 bowls and started selling them in November to customers and shops in the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada and just about every state in the United States.
From left, Janice Karlovich, 13-year-old daughter Megan Foster and husband Ken Foster, found a solution to their guinea pigs' knocking over their feed dishes by inventing the "Stay Bowl." (Photo: Gillis Benedict/Livingston Daily)
Locally, the bowls sell at The Wild Indoors store in Pinckney.
An expert in product development, Foster hopes the revenue from sales will help pay for Megan's college education.
"I liked working with my daughter to teach her product development," he said. "I'm hoping this will do really well (and) will pay for part of her whole education."
To order a bowl or learn more about the product, visit www.mystaybowl.com.
Contact Livingston Daily business reporter Noe Hernandez at 517-552-2854 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter @sayyesnoe.