What do you get when you combine entrepreneurial spirit with the challenge of keeping active kids warm and dry in the winter? A mom who invents a creative, and environmentally-friendly way, to dry wet clothing.

Meet Karen Smoots a Portage woman with two active boys who decided to take matters into her own hands—literally—after seemingly endless battles of trying to dry stinky, wet winter gloves. “The winter of 2013–2014 was brutally wet and my boys regularly had sopping wet gloves that just wouldn’t dry in the dryer. I wasted a lot of energy trying,” said Smoots. “I searched Amazon and Walmart for an alternative but found nothing that worked exactly like what I wanted.” So she enlisted the help of her engineer husband and after a long trip to the hardware store and about eight hours of labor, they developed a prototype that harnessed the warm air coming from her home’s vents and channeled it into her family’s gloves. Then with fingers crossed, they set it up one cold January night before bed hoping they would wake up to dry gloves. Their wish came true. The device worked.

It worked so well that neighbors and friends started asking how they could get their hands on one. One thing lead to another and the Smoots decided they might just be onto something. So Karen leapt into action by researching injection molding and mass production. She tracked down a local Michigan manufacturer to help get the process started and the Green Glove Dryer was born.

Karen then started selling the gloves on Amazon and getting them on store shelves. “It’s a family affair. Our house literally fills up with orders that we box for shipping. I even recruit neighborhood kids to come help,” bemused Smoots.

However, it’s not just about selling a product. She has a dedication to the health and well-being of her community and customers. Her products are made entirely in the USA using a significant portion of post-consumer recycled materials. Plus, the Sanafor antimicrobial materials help prevent the spread of germs.

Additionally, while she’s received significant recognition for her innovation and spirit, it’s her commitment to community that we appreciate. So far she, in partnership with a local utility, has donated over 500 Green Glove Dryers to schools throughout Michigan to ensure kids don’t have to go home with soggy, stinky gloves.

As a consumer who grew up on a farm on our lines, Karen understands the value of hard work and helping others. And we know that it’s people like her who make Michigan such a great place to call home.