Mothers of Invention

Local dance moms create Simply Caddy

By Rachel Mitchell  |  Photo by Ray Sepesy

Ann Travis and Cathie Wrona, two Ballantyne-area dance moms, saw a need for help organizing gear for long competition weekends back in 2011. Therefore, they designed and started selling a functional caddy to hold everything from costumes and makeup to glue guns and snacks. Today Simply Caddy also offers garment bags, a large suitcase-style carrying case and stool. You can find their creations at

What led you to start Simply Caddy? 
Cathie: Simply Caddy was born during a car ride with three giggling girls and two moms on the way to our first dance competition. We kept saying, “There has to be a better way to have everything organized, packed and ready to use.”

What makes you passionate about the caddy?
Ann: Our caddy is the only one on the market with a side garment rack. This has always been a non-negotiable for us because you can access the entirety of the bag while using the rack. We have a removable work surface tray, numerous pockets and a cooler pocket for snacks. One awesome feature is you can fold the whole caddy bag down when it’s not in use.

What was the creative process like turning an idea into a product?
Ann: Incredibly long — it took about two years before we started selling. It involved calling everyone from tool executives to paint companies to automotive companies and asking them to consider doing something completely outside their model. We got lots of no’s, and even more huh?’s, but we eventually cobbled together the right resources.

Tell us about your testing process.
Ann: We are moms first and don’t want to invest in anything that won’t stand up to the wear and tear we know it will get. The side garment rack is engineered so it does not create any instability while in use and won’t tip. Cathie also loves to tell customers how I have dragged a full caddy down a flight of concrete stairs to see if I could break it. If something is going to break, I want to be the one to do it, so we can fix the problem before our customer ever has to deal with it. (Editor’s Note: It didn’t break.)