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- April 15, 1991
- Vol. 35
- No. 14
Quick Quiz! Which Baby Came as President Cleveland? and Who Stoppered These Little Suckers?
Meahan, 32, a district manager for the Hoover Company, came up with the idea five years ago when he and his wife, Laura, 31, a buyer for 3M Fiber Optic Products, were strolling in a park and met a friend whose baby was sucking a traditional pacifier. "I thought, 'Babies are so cute, but then you put those ugly things in their mouths,' " he recalls. "Then I thought about those wax lips from Halloween." Laura liked the idea, and so did her father, Tim Brennan, 58, a semiretired engineering executive who agreed to help Chip work on a prototype. "We had a joke," Tim says, remembering the trial-and-error process. "I'd say, 'How's it going, Chip?' and he'd say, 'it sucks.' " Now Pacifaces have been ordered by such toy-business titans as F.A.O. Schwarz and Toys "R" Us. Some 100,000 Pacifaces have been wholesaled since the product was introduced last August (suggested retail price: $5). Brennan and Meahan expect to sell a million of the small soothers this year.
Meahan says he is well prepared for the day he may have children of his own: "I have a warehouse full of pacifiers." He feels most small fry get the joke. "Little kids have a pretty good sense of humor," he says. "My sister's 1-year-old thinks he's a riot." Confirmation of the hilarity comes from Vero Beach, Fla., customer Heidi Rose, who says that when she took her 7-month-old son, Freddie, to the mall wearing a Paciface, he stole the show. "He enjoyed the attention," she says, "as much as my husband and I did."
Nobody, though, is savoring the spotlight as much as Meahan. "It's not how I planned to make a name for myself," he says, "but it's a great way to be remembered."
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