Breaking the family curse.

Breaking the family curse.

Helen Druitt

Mother of 3 and relative to 2 of Australia's most prolific inventors wants to break the family curse of not capitalising on billion dollar inventions.


In her words:


Innovation runs deep in my blood. Throughout my life I have always been surrounded by amazing hardworking people. My father was an industrial engineer and always thinking of ways to make processes more efficient. My mother had several part-time businesses while she was a stay at home mum with 3 kids and is now a textile designer.


However it’s my great great great grandmother Maria Smith who invented the Granny Smith apple that first sparked my ambitions as a child. My great grandmother Eileen O’Brien was the daughter of Stephen Smith who was the son of Maria Smith. The inventor of Granny Smith Apples. Every time my mother baked an apple pie or anything with apples I would hear “you know your great great great grandmother invented this apple on her farm a few streets away!”

Everyone across the world knew and loved the Granny Smith apple. The Beatles (the band not the pest) loved the Granny Smith soo much they created a whole album and a record label around my granny’s apple. If this wasn’t enough recognition, then the Beatles record company goes to war with the Apple company over the Granny Smith logo trademark. That logo is now the most recognised logo in the history of the world. After paying an undisclosed sum of somewhere around $500m Apple now own the trademark to my Granny’s humble apple. If Granny Smith was still around she would be amused with all the kafuffle.


When I got married to my husband Marcus Druittt, I would hear another similar story. Every time I would wear my cosy UGG boots I would hear my husband say “you know my cousin invented that shoe your wearing only a few streets away!” He was not pulling my leg. His cousin was Shane Steadman, who sold the rights to UGG to U.S. footwear brand Deckers in 1983 in return for a mere £10,000 and three pairs of UGG boots a year for the rest of his life. He saw a need for surfers to keep their feet warm and so he began sewing the iconic boot and selling it to local surfers in Mona Vale. His invention now reportedly makes $1B in sales each year.


Neither Granny Smith or Shane saw any profit from their groundbreaking inventions. I want to break the family curse of letting  our amazing ideas and achievements slip away from us.

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