From Navy Pilots to Baby Teethers; Savannah and Patrick DiEugenio

Headerf Image2 (1)
This month we are  honoring those in the military who are currently serving our country and brave enough to enter the toy and play industry.  Our first honoree is Patrick DiEugenio who with his wife Savannah, has created Mascot Minis, a company that creates and manufactures natural rubber teethers in the shape of college and professional sports mascots. Please support our military families as they become part of our family.

Patrick is originally from State College, PA and attended Penn State University, earning his Bachelor of Science in Information Science and Technology as well as a B.S. in Applied Languages and International Studies.    After graduating, he decided to follow his dream to fly and attended the United States Navy’s Officer Candidate School, after which he received his commission as a Naval Officer.  After numerous operational deployments to Africa, Europe, South America, Japan, and South East Asia in the P-3C Orion aircraft, he is now happily flying the Navy’s new P-8A Poseidon.

Savannah, a native of Jacksonville, FL,  began a career in aviation working for Raytheon training Air Traffic Controllers.  After several years she launched her own interior design firm.  When it was time for her and Patrick to start a family, she scaled back her professional commitments to raise their son, Penn.  Savannah has a Bachelor of Science in Business Management, is a licensed Realtor and private pilot, and has earned her MBA.

Slide_4

Richard:

The two of you are both pilots, one military and one private.  How did you go from flying planes to designing and manufacturing sport themed natural rubber teethers?

Patrick and Savannah:

Our shared love of aviation was certainly something that sparked our initial interest in one another, and sports were a constant in both our upbringings as well.  With Savannah’s Florida roots and mine in Pennsylvania, we saw it as more than coincidence that Penn State played the Florida Gators in a bowl game on our wedding day. Back in 2013, during a football game,, our son, Penn, was chewing on his favorite rubber giraffe.  I asked Savannah to get online and find him something more appropriate to his name— like a Nittany Lion— that he could enjoy instead of the cute, but impersonal safari animal.  Needless to say, the lack of any such product on the market immediately caught our attention.

Richard:

What inspired you to create Mini Mascots?  

We frequently talk about our idea for the future of our family and the goals we have together. We both come from entrepreneurial families and we knew that we would ultimately create our vision through entrepreneurialism as well.  We kept an open mind about what exactly that would mean, but when we stumbled upon what seemed a large gap in a popular market, we knew we had hit on something worth exploring.  By coupling the recent familiarity of a premium, natural rubber teether with the nostalgic symbol of parents’ favorite sports teams we knew we had hit on a winning idea

Richard:

Which is harder; flying a plane or making a teether?  

Patrick and Savannah:

Flying a plane isn’t that difficult in and of itself, but there are parallels between the jobs of a Naval Aviator and the entrepreneurial journey in developing Mascot Minis.  Focus and perseverance are a given in both, but its the responsibility and leadership in understanding a task or mission, and being able to make sound judgments and decisions when there are no roadmaps or well-worn paths to follow that really show the overlap between the two different jobs.

Richard:

What is your long term vision for Mascot Minis?  

Patrick and Savannah:

We would love to see Mascot Minis grow to encompass more teams and sports.  In fact, we have plans in the works to do just that!  Ultimately our goal is contribute more of our time and resources to our communities through service and philanthropy.  My decade of public service in the Navy has provided me with many opportunities for which I am grateful, and my wife and I want to continue that spirit of service throughout our lives.  Our desire to grow our company is born from our desire to bolster our impact.

Richard:

One of the questions we always like to ask is: "Were there toys that you had as children that had an impact on your adult life?"

Patrick and Savannah: 

Patrick replies, "My parents tell my that as a young kid in the mid eighties I was obsessed with a toy that was heavily advertised called “Armstrong Mobile Poweride,” a motorized ride-on toy with robotic arms.  Santa never brought me one, but it was typical of my nature: I was more interested in how toys worked than in actually playing with them.  I enjoyed mechanical toys, anything with joints, mechanism, motors, or functions.  This eventually turned into an interest in computers and machines, and ultimately aviation. After all, planes are some of the best toys an adult could ever play with!"

Savannah says that her most impactful moments of play were during time spent bored outside: “Time in the outdoors fostered my imagination, creativity, and inventiveness. It allowed time for reflection, exploration and experimentation. Open-ended toys were my tools… blocks, kitchen utensils, etc.  This is one of the reasons why I think that simple yet engaging toys are so essential for early development!”

One thought

Leave a Reply