Meet Innovative Greenlaker Sarah Barnard

September 15, 2016 6:09am

We recently learned about a Greenlaker that is trying to solve some pretty big problems with an invention that she posted to Kickstarter. Her name is Sarah Barnard and she created an organization board called Chart á la Carte. Within 9 hours of posting to Kickstarter Chart á la Carte exceeded her fundraising goal. We chatted with her to find out more.

SG: What inspired you to create Chart á la Carte?
SB: For the past 10 years, I’ve been haunted by a statistic I remember hearing in college, where I studied psychology and sociology. “The average married woman believes she does 90% of the household chores, and the average married man believes he does 60% of the household chores.” Much conversation has been had around what the actual numbers are, and the gender inequality of domestic labor distribution, but what caught my attention was the fact that, apparently, BOTH men and women FEEL that they are contributing more than their share. This is significant because, as a result, they may both feel frustrated about having to do more AND frustrated that their partner is not acknowledging their contributions (because they themselves feel that they’re doing more than their share and not getting acknowledgement). It seemed obvious to me that it came down to a communication failure, but, having lived with 5 roommates, I personally understood the undesirability of making chores a primary topic of conversation. So, I created an interactive system involving dry-erase magnets that focuses on teamwork, and validates each person for their actual contributions, so that no one has to feel frustrated or unappreciated.

Believing that my system could be helpful to support healthy marriages and families, I set about designing a board that could use both push pins and magnets, hold extra pens and magnets in a storage compartment, and have a detachable frame so that the fabric could be changed to suit the asthetics of any home. During the design process, it occurred to me that there may be a great many uses for this board, and, with the free printables I designed to fit with our dry-erasable display magnets, and other decorative and functional magnets, the board could be used for a wide range of purposes from jewelry organizer, to menu planning station or memo board or chalkboard or just decorative. One of the most exciting options involves ready-to-color task pieces, to empower children who are learning to complete daily routines.

SG: What’s unique about your invention?
SB: The product is unique because, until now, there has not existed a magnetic pin board that allowed you to easily customize the fabric. Similarly, I have not seen, on the market, acrylic, magnetic holders for making printable charts and lists dry-eraseable.

SG: What’s this we hear about trying to get onto the TV show Shark Tank?
SB I have been obsessed with Shark Tank and have believed that a positive response to our Kickstarter would give us a good boost toward both applying to be on the show and also the potential of getting investment from a “Shark.” However, in the meantime, I was recently contacted by a casting director who is working on a similar style of show, to be aired on ABC in early 2017, and am excited to be in the application process.

SG: Any other info you think Greenlakers should know about your invention?
SB: We’re excited about the product, the response from our local community on Kickstarter (we met our funding goal in 9 hours) and we’re especially excited in our anticipation to see our online community grow into a place of sharing tips, photos and inspiration about what they’re doing with THEIR Chart á la Carte, how to organize and live life.