Made in Northwest Indiana

Locally made The Little Viper bites into U.S. market

2014-04-04T12:18:00Z 2014-04-04T19:20:16Z Locally made The Little Viper bites into U.S. marketMelanie Csepiga Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
April 04, 2014 12:18 pm  • 

When Caroline Olah first designed The Little Viper, a pepper spray-filled bracelet attractive enough her daughters would wear it, she was thinking about safety for them, not appearing on the Steve Harvey show.

Funnyman Harvey's producers found her and her product online, and on Monday, a scant eight months after The Little Viper's July 1 launch, Olah will be featured in a segment dubbed, "Made by Moms." It will air at 2 p.m. on NBC 5 Chicago, and will be broadcast nationwide.

Olah said it was a wonderful experience.

"They called Feb. 27 and said they wanted me March 3, and they were going shopping for me," Olah said. They asked for her clothing sizes, including shoes and bust.

"The day we taped, they sent me through hair, makeup, and wardrobe. ... They treated me like a queen."

Host Harvey is a "super nice guy," Olah said. "Even though he's very funny, he doesn't make fun of you."

Olah said the producers told Harvey to not press the bracelet which, of course, meant he did just that, having fun with the audience all the while.

Olah said he took the subject seriously, though, and said he wanted The Little Viper for his daughter who is beginning to date.

Olah said she is grateful to gain the attention of a national audience and her production team – husband Jason Olah and their daughters Claire, 16, and Grace, 12 – has worked to increase their inventory in anticipation of higher sales. "They get paid with love and a roof over their heads," she said with a smile.

"The Times article (on Oct. 12) ran on a Saturday. Over that weekend, I had 200 orders. It was a whirlwind," Olah said.

This time, she wants to be better prepared.

Olah said a lot of people ordered the bracelets for college kids. Like her, they are concerned for the safety of their children when away from home.

The Little Viper grew from Olah's awareness that trips to the mall today for Claire and Grace are far different from those enjoyed by her and her husband when they were younger.

A natural problem solver, Olah went to work spending about 18 months in the bracelet's design before launching.

"I have a just-do-it-yourself attitude. I want my kids to learn this from me," she said.

With a lean production system and high holiday sales, The Little Viper began turning a profit around Christmas, Olah said. "That's huge."

The Little Viper can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest and has a You Tube channel and web site, www.LittleViper.com.

A provisional patent on The Little Viper has been obtained and filings for a final patent will happen soon.

If it were to all disappear tomorrow, Olah said she would be OK with that. The ride has been terrific, she said.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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