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Secrets of Success: Karen Weiss Kart

Rieva Lesonsky
secrets of success

We’ve launched Secrets of Success, a new weekly interview series here at’s Small Business Forum. I’ve asked some of the smartest, most innovative, most successful people I know to share their insights and success secrets.

Meet: Karen Weiss Kart, the founder of Prodigi Kids. Kart is an attorney turned entrepreneur and mom of three who invented Adi, a whimsical, penguin-shaped child’s plate “engineered to stay in place.” The plate attaches to surfaces using its strong suction base, yet is easy for an adult to release. Kart was inspired to invent Adi when her then-18-month-old daughter sent her food flying—in a restaurant, covering a nearby diner with peas, spaghetti and meatballs. The plate is lightweight, portable and comes with a snap-tight lid.

Prodigi Kids is raising funds via Kickstarter, where Adi was named a Kickstarter “staff pick” within two hours of going live on the site.

Rieva Lesonsky: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Karen Weiss Kart: I always wanted to be a lawyer when I grew up. Having practiced law for eight years in New York helped me in my new role as an entrepreneur. As a trial attorney, you learn to think backwards. You have a goal in mind and you plan out the necessary steps that will help you achieve your goal. I applied the same principles to my Kickstarter campaign.

Also, I’ve always had a creative side and love to design things. The two came together when the idea for Adi was born, and I started Prodigi Kids.

Lesonsky: Why did you start your own business?

Kart: I started Prodigi Kids in 2013 because of an experience I had with my own 18-month old daughter. While dining out one day, she pulled a self-adhesive placemat off the table. Food went flying everywhere and landed on a man seated at the table behind us. There were peas stuck in his hair, meatballs on his head, and his nice white dress shirt was covered with spaghetti and red sauce. In that moment, the idea for Adi was born.

Lesonsky: Did you experience a pivotal moment on your way to success?

Kart: Yes, my first prototype won “Best New Invention” at the Moms In Business Unite conference held in San Diego. My table was crowded with parents and grandparents telling me how cute it was and asking to buy one. It was then I knew my idea would sell, and I was really on to something.

Lesonsky: What’s the best small business advice you ever gave and/or received?

Kart: The best advice I’ve ever been given was from a mentor of mine when I first started practicing law. He told me that it’s all in the preparation.

Lesonsky: What’s one “best practice” more entrepreneurs should be embracing?

Kart: I’ve learned that anything that makes you nervous is a sign that you are growing and in the right place. As an entrepreneur, your business is always evolving, and so are you.

Lesonsky: Do you have a small business prediction for the coming year?

Kart: I predict that we’ll see more manufacturing come back to the U.S. In fact, Adi will be made in the U.S.A. at a local manufacturer.

Lesonsky: Do you have a favorite book?

Kart: The Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker.

Lesonsky: Is there a quote you find particularly inspiring?

Kart: “Persistence is the key to getting a product idea out of your head and into the market.”

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Author information

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at, follow her on Google+ and, and visit her website,, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.