Mom On a Mission
Educating the World One Bite (or Sting) at a Time!
A Cross Country Move to Florida
We were completely unprepared for the mosquitoes after moving to Florida from California! My oldest daughter, who was just six-months-old at the time, suffers terribly from mosquito bites and none of the over-the-counter remedies worked. We began avoiding the outdoors. I knew there had to be a better way!
Kelley Discovers the Suction Tool Now Known as Bug Bite Thing
I began to research how other countries were combating insect bites and stings and I came across a little known suction tool.
The day the tool arrived, I actually got a bite walking to my mailbox! I immediately gave it a try and instantly all the itching, swelling, and pain just disappeared!
The suction tool transformed the quality of life for my family! We were back outdoors again, doing what we loved. If this could be so life changing for my family, I had to share it with the world! I tracked down the owner and pitched him my idea. He granted me exclusive distribution rights for the United States and we began our partnership.
Kelley Creates the Bug Bite Thing Brand
I created the Bug Bite Thing brand and began selling the tool at farmers’ markets and bake sales at my daughter’s school. Parents started tracking me down in the school parking lot and said Bug Bite Thing was a game changer for their family and improved their quality of life. I knew that I was on to something! I sold my house and used that money to buy my first big batch of inventory.
Bug Bite Thing’s First Big Break!
A local moms group was talking about Bug Bite Thing on a social media thread and CBS 12 Reporter Luli Ortiz saw it! She reached out and came to my house to interview me. That television segment went viral and I sold out of all my inventory that I had sold my house for in just one week!
All the Sharks Were Biting with Offers and Overnight Growth!
Then came my first appearance on national television! A Bug Bite Thing social media post caught the attention of a Shark Tank producer who encouraged me to audition for the show. I enlisted the help and 35 years + business experience of my mom. We flew out to L.A. and pitched the Sharks. My mom even dressed up as “Mosquito Magnet Mom!”
All the Sharks were biting with offers to invest in the business, but it was Lori Greiner’s ‘Golden Ticket’ offer—something she only gives out once a season!—that secured our partnership. Then came the Shark Tank effect!
We opened Bug Bite Thing’s first office in Port St. Lucie that same year and expanded our original partnership to tackle this worldwide. They have now become Bug Bite Thing Europe!!
Bug Bite Thing’s Shark Tank Update and Gives Back to Community
A year later, because of Bug Bite Thing’s success we were invited to appear on the show again! This time, we shared details on our company's transformation into a growing business with Bug Bite Thing sold at over 25,000 retail locations, in 25 countries and how we’ve become Amazon’s #1 selling product for insect bite relief!
Just like Bug Bite Thing took off, so did my personal journey as an entrepreneur. I was named ‘Woman of the Year’ by the 2021 American Business Awards and ‘Female Entrepreneur of the Year’ by the 2021 Stevie Awards for Women in Business! And I was invited to join the Fast Company Executive Board and Forbes Business Council to start sharing what I’ve learned.
I also became passionate about giving back to the community that supports Bug Bite Thing. We became active in the local chapters of organizations, including Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida and Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County, Treasure Coast Food Bank (a member of Feeding America), as well as St. Lucie Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Cancer Free Economy Network.
Bug Bite Thing Continues to Expand and Establishes Medical Advisory Board
Bug Bite Thing remains Amazon’s #1 selling product for insect bite relief with over 75,000 reviews! We’re continuing our global expansion and thrilled to be carried by over 30,000 retail locations including CVS Pharmacy, JOANN’s, Rite Aid, The Home Depot, Walgreen and more!
We’ve also established Bug Bite Thing’s Medical Advisory Board and are partnering with medical experts who are passionate about sharing the suction tool with their patients and medical community.
Bug Bite Thing is now a certified women-owned business by the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and continues our mission to support women entrepreneurs as a weVENTURE Women’s Business Center equity partner investor.
And we're just getting started! I have big plans for where we're headed and I hope you will come along for the ride! As the CEO of a growing company and mom of two girls, it is certainly not always a smooth one, but it is definitely exciting. Like and follow me on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok for a behind the scenes look at how I juggle motherhood and business and everything in between!