About Sharon Vinderine
Serial entrepreneur Sharon Vinderine has founded companies in several industries, including starting the first wireless Internet company in Canada and later a baby products company. Her third company, Parent Tested Parent Approved, was inspired by her experience purchasing products after becoming a parent.
Sharon Vinderine shares, “The mission of PTPA is to help simplify shopping for consumers, so basically, the way it started was when I was a new mom, I was going out, and I was buying every product that looked expensive and had fabulous packaging, and I’d bring it home, assuming it would be the perfect product, and it turned out that most of the products were really lousy.”
After experiencing many product disappointments, Sharon turned to her friends and asked them what types of diaper bags, baby chairs, and other parenting products they enjoyed. She quickly realized that her friends’ recommendations were superior and wanted to find a way to collect parent tested, parent approved products so that parents know a product has been tested by their peers and is worth their hard-earned money.
How Does Parent Tested Parent Approved Work?
Parent Tested Parent Approved has a rigorous testing process. Sharon explains that each product is tested truly and fairly by parents.
When PTPA receives a product, they match it to the right consumer in their database of over 250,000 families based on detailed demographic information. After finding the best candidates, they reach out to the families and provide the product for four weeks to use within their homes.
The family receives a detailed survey about their experience with the product and the honest feedback is given to the product manufacturers.
Sharon Vinderine shares, “There are a lot of award programs in the marketplace, but most of them are based on editorial… It’s really important to put the product into the hands of consumers and make sure we’re getting honest and authentic feedback.”
Companies that receive the Parent Tested Parent Approved seal of approval have a lucrative benefit as it indicates to the consumer that this product has been tested and approved by peers rather than a potentially biased editorial group.
She adds, “When moms go into a store and see a lineup of steam mops, for example, or vacuums, it’s really challenging to know which product to choose. There are a lot of trusted brands. There’s a lot of known brands, and there’s a lot of new brands, so how do they make their decision?”
Products with the PTPA seal of approval allow parents to bypass the need for extensive online research. Online reviews can be a good source of information. However, many consumers are wary of them today because fake reviews exist.
Parent Tested Parent Approved has worked with many brands over the years, including Disney, Dyson, toy companies, and private label retailers, such as Aldi and Walgreens.
Sharon Vinderine explains, “Our seal is one of the top, most recognized [seals] across North America, and consumers turn to it because they act as judge and jury for which brands earn that deal.”
Working with Real Parents
The PTPA parents testing products reference a list of questions to judge the products. Questions include:
- Does the product deliver on expectations?
- Does it maintain its quality if your child drops it or the product is washed, etc.?
- Is it the right product for other moms to go out and buy and trust?
PTPA parents become part of the database after applying online.
Sharon Vinderine shares, “I’ve done over 300 television appearances talking about what Parent Tested Parent Appvoed means and what are the top products at different times of year that consumers should be looking for. That’s how consumers find out about us, and that’s how they end up coming to ptpa.com and signing up to be a parent tester.”
Adapting to Consumer Needs Over the Years
Parent Tested Parent Approved was founded over 15 years ago and has remained true to its mission of simplifying shopping for parents by putting products in the hands of everyday consumers for testing.
Sharon notes, “The seal of approval has much more value because brands are really struggling with how do I connect with a customer? How do I get that customer to trust me and be loyal with me?”
She adds that companies with the seal of approval gain instant trust and credibility with the consumer, making this an invaluable asset. For consumers, the seal simplifies the shopping process. Consumers working with PTPA also love getting involved and being able to deliver honest feedback to the manufacturer.
Parent Tested Parent Approved also works diligently to remain open and honest with consumers.
Sharon Vinderine explains, “It’s really difficult for consumers to know which ones [seals/certificates] to trust. When eco and green started being a trend, all of a sudden, there were all of these eco-certifications, but we found out afterward that a lot of them really meant nothing. It’s the same thing in the awards industry. Everybody is coming out with an award.”
She notes that many magazines have awards, but the reviewers often do not test the products. For example, Sharon recently read that an infant product given negative reviews by PTPA families received seven other awards, despite the product malfunctioning for all of the PTPA testers.
PTPA’s Marketing Strategy
Parent Tested Parent Approved doesn’t reach out to consumers. However, Sharon’s strategy early on to build a database of families was to appear on television and talk about their seal of approval to boost awareness.
“I went after every single producer across any show across North America, trying to convince them to give me an opportunity.”
One of the segments went so well that Sharon became a twice-a-month regular. She was also featured on the Steve Harvey Show and the Rachel Ray Show.
In terms of social media, PTPA primarily focuses on TikTok and Instagram. They post entertaining but educational content sharing a great assortment of products they want to highlight to moms.
Sharon Vinderine notes, “I create a lot of endorsement videos for the brands that I work with. We will share those on social media. It’s all about helping educate moms when she comes to our social media accounts and letting her know what the best products out there are.”
Exciting Future Plans
Sharon Vinderine shares, “We are going to be announcing our next round of winners in the spring, and it’s going to be a big campaign highlighting the best of the best. The announcement will include television appearances, press releases, emails blasts to hundreds of thousands of families, and social media posts. It’s going to be a really big announcement and we are very excited about it.”