Made in Texas: Meet the woman who created the Topsy Tail and revolutionized women hairstyles in the 90s

Photo credit: @vintageretrochacao Instagram
Photo credit: @vintageretrochacao Instagram

HOUSTONWelcome to Made in Texas, where we write about products made in the Lone Star State.

Today we’re featuring the hair tool that revolutionized woman hairstyles in the 1990s, the Topsy Tail.

The product

The Topsy Tail is a small plastic hair tool that flips a pony tail, or a section of hair, inside out. The product hit the market in 1991.

A simple search on Instagram of the hashtag #topsytail will lead you to dozens of hairstyles you can create with the hair tool.

The inventor

Tomima Edmark was born in 1957 in Seattle. She attended Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design in 1979. From there, she went to the University of Texas, Austin, where she completed her MBA in 1983, according to the Lemelson MIT website -- a program that celebrates outstanding inventors and inspires young people to pursue creative lives and careers through invention.

Prior to creating the Topsy Tail, Edmark had been working as a marketing executive for the International Business Machines corporation for several years.

With her experience, Edmark was able to market the product herself, which led her to earn revenues of $150 million, according to the biography on her blog.

“People always want to know my story and think they’re going to follow my story, step by step,” she said in an interview with The Business Journals. “But nobody’s story is replicable. It’s the timing, the moment, the people.”

The idea behind it

Edmark’s inspiration came after she saw a woman wearing a French twist hairstyle in a movie theater. She thought other women might appreciate a hair accessory that would allow them to more easily create intricate hairstyles, according the Lemelson MIT website.

What is she doing now?

Edmark sold the rights to the product many years ago. She now resides in Dallas, where she serves as founder and president of Andra Group. There she runs her own eCommerce sites of woman’s lingerie and men’s underwear called HerRoom and HisRoom since 1998, according to her LinkedIn page.

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