WESTON, Conn. -- What started as a simple idea at a family barbecue has turned into a product design business for Anne and Joe McMahon.
The Weston couple were at a party when they saw family members struggling to butter their corn. Thinking there had to be a better way, they developed ButterOnce , built around the idea that one time is all that's needed to properly (and easily) butter corn.
According to Anne, it took two years and many refinements with Joe hunkered down trying to create the perfect buttering knife. He first started making molds in their basement, softening plastic and then shaping them into different variations.
What makes the product so unique is the shape of the blade.
"The unique curved stainless steel blade conforms perfectly to the corn, guiding the butter exactly where you want it to go," explained Anne.
"The beveled edge can just as easily slice from a stick of butter as it can scoop from a tub allowing you to control exactly how much you want to apply.
"It completely covers your ear of corn and nothing drips to the bottom of the plate."
As a result of this new invention, the two, both longtime interior designers -- Joe holds several patents for light fixtures -- decided to start a product design company. Anne admitted they wanted something in their retirement to allow them to continue working as well as provide an income.
So, they launched J+A Designs in 2015 with the motto "To create and market simple household products that simplify and enhance everyday life." The company is based in Wilton.
Anne admits that at first, it was slow going. She did sales and marketing while Joe worked his full-time job as a commercial office space designer with a firm in Stamford.
From going door to door and showing/talking/sharing with her friends, she little by little got her foot in the door. Last summer ButterOnce made it into Village Market, Peters Market and Palmers in Darien.
Anne also connected with local farm stands. And, thanks to the internet, ButterOnce had been sold in over 40 different states, including Hawaii. The product was even featured on The Today Show as a top grilling tool for summer.
And now, as of Monday, July 10, ButterOnce has been accepted by The Grommet, a site for unique gifts.
"We are so excited that The Grommet selected us as they only accept three percent of the products they review to include on their site," said Anne.
Also in the works for J+A Designs: a product called the Rolup, a wood wine glass drying mat or trivet depending on how you want to use it.
Anne said the couple is also currently working on a companion to the ButterOnce. "It will use the same shape and design and it will be a knife to de-kernel corn on the cob," she said.
Go to www.butteronce.com/ for more information.