WisBusiness: Appleton woman makes Cadillac of art smocks

By Bree Andersen

APPLETON — When Jayne Quintero would go shopping at the beginning of the school year for her children, she was usually disappointed with the offering of art smocks. Plastic smocks available in stores don’t hold up, she says, and younger often kids won’t wear “uncool” hand-me-downs from parents or siblings.

Quintero was inspired to design her own unique, high-quality smocks that children would love to wear. She also wanted something more that just an art smock — something that could be used for many projects and even dress up.

So she launched, “SmoxRox,” short for “smocks that rock.”

“My art smocks are the Cadillac of the choices available on the market today. I have researched my competition and find that even though my art smocks are priced a little higher due to the manufacturing costs, parents have no issues with the price, considering that they are washable, wear longer, and are multi-functional,” Quintero said.

Quintero, a single mother, has noticed mothers and children are really the only ones who understand the need for such a product. However, the more they are used, the more everyone understands how something so simple can mean so much to children. They are also beneficially to adults and child-care providers. Quintero has designed the smocks in a user-friendly manner.

“The reason they open from the front is so that even the littlest ones can manage putting them on and taking them off, without assistance from the daycare workers or school teachers,” she said. “This saves time for everybody. People with disabilities can also use my art smocks, which they truly appreciate. It gives them a sense of accomplishment and makes them independent.”

Quintero found meaning to her business when she started getting positive feedback from customers. A friend wrote her to say she gave the smock to her child and he refused to take it off and ended up sleeping in it. Children become obsessed with their possessions, particularly items that others don’t have or that make them special.

Quintero, who has found investors in the past to get the company started, is searching again as her product and invention is now protected with a patent. She is excited to find investors who understand children and what a large market their needs can generate. In 2001, there were 89 million children under 18 in the United States; a significant portion of which are pre-school or elementary students.

“I hope to capture at least a 10 percent market share over the next couple of years, increasing sales by millions,” Quintero said.

The cost of having the best for your child has become limitless. High-end products, from strollers to shoes, for little ones, have become some of the hottest trends.

Anything that will set your child apart from the next is the way it is done today. Today, SmoxRox are found in three school specialty magazines and are requested regularly by daycares, The Learning Shop, and a large pharmaceutical company in Milwaukee. They retail for about $20. With more investing, Quintero said, the smocks could be distributed throughout the country and internationally as well.

Andersen is a student in the UW-Madison Department of Life Sciences Communication.