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From a Need to a Dream--The Launch of The Stair Barrier

Written by Janelle Fitzpatrick


Posted on January 05 2015

In July 2007 my family moved into our current home. My daughter Peyton was 2 ½ years old, and my son PJ was 2 months old. I also had two large 4-legged babies, Harley and Olivia. We had spent six months building our home, and I never once considered I’d have to use our terribly unattractive, old baby gates. That was until moving day. As I was hauling boxes through the front door and up my extra-wide stairs with its volute (curved) banisters, I realized my gates were not going to work on my new stairs.

There was the feeling of relief, but also the nagging question of what am I going to do? PJ was going to be mobile in the next 6 months and I didn't want the dogs having access to the up-stairs. Another issue, my last 3 stairs are wood and extremely slick for the dogs to navigate. I knew Harley, being older and larger, would have trouble maneuvering her way down the stairs. The possibility of her breaking or tearing something was very real. Safety aside, my new stairs are the first thing you see when entering my home. The thought of my old gates on my new stairs, made my head spin. I had at least 4 months before PJ was mobile—plenty of time to find gates that worked with my stairs and that were also attractive. I spent that time searching on-line and in stores. I found nothing!

That is when I invented The Stair Barrier. I wanted a product to add to the décor of my home, or at a minimum not detract. I also wanted something that wouldn't require drilling and wasn't permanent. Meaning if we were not using it, we didn’t have to deal with or see it. I also wanted a product that was durable, made with the best materials, versatile (able to mount on various banisters, on a slight angle, or varying widths) and SAFE! For years, I wanted The Stair Barrier to be all things for all situations, the perfect gate. Each time I walked into another home, different stairs, different design, angle, banisters. It is impossible for one gate to solve every problem, but that is our mission. For now we are launching the The Stair Barrier BB, but we are developing other products that will launch in the coming year AND we always welcome "new problems" so send us photos of your hard to gate locations!

From 2007 when I first invented The Stair Barrier to today, life happened. Family, kids, sports, my “real” career as a recruiter. Over the last 7 years we have used The Stair Barrier on two sets of stairs. We have said good bye to Harley and Olivia, but have added 2 new puppies, Thor (Rhodesian Ridgeback) and Harper (Boxer). They were too ill behaved to be models for the website (they are still pups)! The Stair Barrier has been used with older dogs and puppies, weighing 60 pounds all the way to 100+ pounds. My son PJ (who has always been off the charts in size) has taken his "playpen on wheels" and rammed it. He bounced back! We have put it up, rolled it to the side (and left it for months not even noticing it), taken it down, stored it, and put The Stair Barrier back up when friends with small children come over. We have even contained little league baseball teams to the first floor of our home (not that they couldn't get over it, I guess they just knew it meant they shouldn't). Our good friends, Chris and Kelly, also used an early prototype in their home with their 2 kids and 2 sets of dogs (4 cocker spaniels). While I don't believe there is a "perfect" solution for all stairs, I do believe The Stair Barrier is the best solution for the bottom of the stairs.

I am excited to finally be taking my invention, my idea and launching my dream. A dream I never could have imagined, but just couldn't give up! I am excited to be able to bring my solution to other families. The Stair Barrier BB is the first of many products I intend to launch in 2015. I hope The Stair Barrier is not only a gate people need, but WANT!

All the best,



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