Robert Ginyard's got the answer in the bagIt's an ugly...


December 13, 1992|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Staff Writer

Robert Ginyard's got the answer in the bag

It's an ugly sight, and Robert Ginyard hopes never to see it again. Career women schlepping their tennis shoes around in tattered plastic bags.

For months, Mr. Ginyard watched and shook his head.

Nearly two years and $14,000 later, he's done something about it. His solution -- the Shu-Sok-Umb Bag (short for shoes, socks and umbrellas) -- is an attempt to help working women stay chic and organized.

"I would be on my way to work and see these women carrying bags in horrendous states -- torn, ripped, soiled. The women looked nice, very professional. But the bag really threw things. So I said, 'Let me see if I can design something more stylish,' " says Mr. Ginyard, 30, who lives in Northwest Baltimore.

At first, friends told him he was crazy -- particularly when he gave up his job as an assistant bank manager to devote himself full-time to the product.

But he's persevered through the maze of manufacturing, patenting and marketing. And although department stores routinely turn away financially strapped, first-time designers, Nordstrom liked the compartmentalized canvas tote -- and the determination of its creator -- enough to sell it in Towson and Washington area stores.

A natty dresser himself, Mr. Ginyard planned to go into music instead of fashion. He still plays the drums in a rock band when he gets the chance. But at the moment, he's concentrating his efforts on developing his next line, which may include sweaters, sweatsuits and weekend wear, he says.

Mr. Ginyard also gets plenty of advice from others on what to invent next.

One woman recently asked him to create a pair of control-top pantyhose that slims the stomach, hips and thighs.

"I told her I'd get back to her," he says. "I'm not up to that yet."

To become an author, Kathleen Shull trekked thousands of miles, ate at more McDonald's than she can remember and got lost in the woods with a 2-year-old.

And for what? "Trips and Treats," an entertaining guidebook of hot spots for children in and around Baltimore.

But before any museum, park or zoo made it into the book, it had to pass the kid test -- meaning that Ms. Shull brought youngsters, ranging in age from 2 to 12, along on her adventures.

"I think it's presumptuous of adults to go places and say they know what's fun for children," says Ms. Shull, 39, who lives in Timonium.

After each visit, she informally debriefed the children, often over burgers and fries at McDonald's. Six places that disappointed them were eliminated.

Ms. Shull also focused on practical concerns for parents. Is a site stroller-friendly? Is there fast food nearby?

The idea for the guide -- which also includes places to watch meteors, fly kites and sled -- came to her after several rocky family outings.

Her research had a few rocky moments of its own, though, including one trip where she got lost with her son, Brendan, now 9, and a toddler on a nature trail.

Writing the book has allowed her a second youth of sorts, especially since she did little travel growing up. But she says the real unsung hero is her husband, Jack. While she and Brendan spent weekends on the road, he stayed behind doing household chores.

Have someone to suggest? Write Mary Corey, Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278, or call (410) 332-6156.

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