Like many parents, Adam and Amy Fazackerley had a big problem with their children's small toys. Their three sons would play with LEGO sets for hours – and it would take just as long to find, collect and organize all the tiny pieces.

Unable to find a solution on the market, the husband and wife team developed their own: the Lay-n-Go activity mat and storage bag. This patented organizational product allows you to lay small items out while in use, then instantly clean up, store and transport them by folding up the mat and pulling the drawstring closed.

Adam Fazackerley, who now serves as Lay-n-Go's COO, said one of the biggest challenges he faced in getting the company off the ground was simply educating the public about their brand-new solution.

"It's not like a backpack," Fazackerley said a recent interview with CO—. "We created a market with this object that would lay flat, but that would also completely seal. [The challenge was] to have people understand what it is [we're] talking about. Once they see it – because it's very visual – they understand how it can … benefit them."

Climbing over brick walls

Once Fazackerley and his wife conceptualized and introduced Lay-n-Go, they faced their next hurdle: growing beyond the startup phase. Finding a manufacturer, hiring employees and spreading the word about the business were all big tasks they needed to decide how to tackle together.

Manufacturing, in particular, was a big question mark for the entrepreneurial couple. Fazackerley was used to building software and websites, but had very little experience bringing an idea for a physical product into the real world. He told CO— that Lay-n-Go went through factory after factory in the early days, quickly outgrowing each one.

"The manufacturing was a huge struggle," he said. "In the experience, we found that we could run into brick walls, but [we] could always climb them and move to the next level."

'Product is king'

The biggest lesson Fazackerley has learned from marketing Lay-n-Go is that "product is king." His company's innovative product created not customers, but "apostles" of the Lay-n-Go brand.

"People love talking about [our product], and so when someone would see it, they would say … 'I want to show it to [my friend]," Fazackerley said. "The fact that it was very demonstrable … got a lot of TV exposure. It's a very visual product and people instantly get it."

Fazackerley credits his wife's networking skills for much of the company's early growth. He explained that Amy would unapologetically ask her connections if she could show them the product, which led to some significant national exposure opportunities.

Learning to fight back

It's said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but Fazackerley said he faces intellectual property battles almost daily with overseas rip-offs of the Lay-n-Go mat. They've even hired internal staff members to seek out and report copyright infringers trying to sell those knock-off products on sites like Amazon.

These battles have taught him the importance of staking your claim in an industry and defending what you've worked so hard to create.

"When you have a successful product, you have to fight back," said Fazackerley. "It is the toughest thing in the world. When you decide to take it on, [you] realize that it is just part of the game. If you don't have thick skin and if you don't swing back … you're going to get crippled."

What's next for Lay-n-Go? Fazackerley says the company is looking to target the public sector and provide toiletry organizational solutions for government groups such as FEMA first-responders and military members.

"There are so many resources that will enable you to push forward," he added. "We continue to want to innovate, we want to design, we want to always think, 'What's the next thing?'"

Watch the full interview with Adam Fazackerley for more about his experience and challenges starting Lay-n-Go. This interview was conducted on behalf of CO- by C-Suite Network's Gregg Greenberg.

 Adam Fazackerley
Adam Fazackerley, founder and COO of Lay-n-Go interviewed by C-Suite Network's Gregg Greenberg. 

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Adam Fazackerley, founder and COO of Lay-n-Go interviewed by C-Suite Network's Gregg Greenberg. 

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