Fort Wayne resident Helen Huser Nill is part of the sandwich generation – those who are raising children while also taking care of aging parents. It was her experience in professional nursing and of taking care of her mother-in-law for 10 years that led her to a new business venture.The mother of three and Maria Krach will talk about their business, Live On Goods, that makes stylish biblike clothing protectors, which the two started with three other women, all mothers over age 50, during Moms Night Out 5:30-9 p.m. Thursday at Ceruti's Summit Square. Cost is $25 at the door. Attendees can also buy the products at the event.
Each ticket to the event includes heavy hors d’oeuvres, a chocolate fountain and a Vera Bradley tote bag, plus DJ entertainment in the courtyard with Quattro Systems and stage presentations. A cash bar is also available.
Nill created Live On Goods, which debuted its products a year ago, with Krach, a registered dietician; Laura Rao, an occupational therapist; and Mary Briscoe and Gretchen Dahm, both business owners.Nill would take her mother-in-law to lunch at a country club.
"She had her pearls on and had her hair done every Friday," Nill said. "That was the generation."
However, the older woman's hands would shake so badly that food would fall into her lap. She was embarrassed, as were the wait staff and Nill and her family. So Nill looked for a solution. All the "adult bibs" she found were just square smocks that often snapped together at the neck, making them difficult for some people to put on and take off.
"It just bothered me," she said. She thought, "There's things out there. Can't we modify things?"
So she got together with the other women, two of whom sewed, to work on prototypes of their machine-washable and water- and stain-resistant bonTops - with "bon" having a long "o" and coming from the French bon appetit. The water-resistant protectors come in a variety of styles like the Zash, which resembles a scarf top, and the Vibe and Men's Classic, which look like the front of Oxford shirts. All use a strip of hook and loop fasteners and have a pocket in the front to catch food that falls.
Originally designed for people with disabilities, Nill and the others are always hearing of new ways that their customers are using the products, like the jeweler who keeps small tools in the pocket at work or other able-bodied customers who put them on in the car so they can eat while traveling without worrying about staining their clothes if something falls.
The Fort Wayne-made products are available at the company's website, www.liveongoods.com and at Lutheran Hospital's gift shop and James Medical. Prices range from $49 for the apronlike Bistro to $65 for the Zash.
Others speaking at Moms Night Out are:
• Nicole Leigh Shaw: Humorist, blogger, mother of four
• Sugar Love Boutique: Fashion show
• Emily Fitzgerald of OLS Organizing: Home Command Center
The event is brought to you by Fort Wayne Newspapers and sponsored by Westport Homes, Evans Toyota and media partner Majic 95.1FM. A portion of the ticket price and any additional donations taken on the ticket webpage will go to Riley Hospital for Children.
For more information, see https://register.growtix.com/e/2017_moms_night_out.