In 2008, our founder Janelle Fitzpatrick needed a way to keep her dogs and baby off her curved banisters and extra-wide stairs. As she searched for a stair gate that was both safe and stylish, she quickly realized she’d need a better option. As is the case with many products on the market today, necessity was the mother of invention. She designed a solution that could be safely secured to her banisters and looked good when she walked through the front door. After years of using and testing her prototypes in her home with her own children and dogs, she took the leap of faith in 2015 and launched Better Options LLC and its first brand, The Stair Barrier.
When Janelle first set out to manufacture her stair gates, she was told repeatedly that she would need to produce overseas, fill containers and commit to large quantities. Having grown up in Michigan in a proud "Ford" family, she had no interest in building a business where she couldn’t be a part of the day to day or see the product being built. After almost a year of hard work and persistence, she found a way to do just that with a manufacturing partner in North Georgia and supply partners she sourced from all over the US.
Over the last five years Janelle has built a trusted network of supply partners and service providers, all of whom she calls friends today. While these relationships are the foundation of her business, she has learned lessons along the way in both her successes and failures. She has literally worn every “hat” required to manufacture and sell a product including shipping and customer service. As her expertise in product development and direct to consumer sales grew, so did the number of inventors and entrepreneurs she met needing a better way to bring their products to market.
In the Spring of 2019, Janelle met Chris Carroll the owner of Paradigm International and the exclusive distributor of Keenz Wagon Strollers. The two quickly recognized the power of a partnership that combined Janelle’s experience of building a brand, manufacturing, and direct to consumer sales with Carroll’s decades of experience distributing products across the globe. Together they created The Better Options Company.
Based in Alpharetta, Georgia, The Better Options Company officially formed in August 2019 to bring together unique solutions for home, family and pets. Our family of brands includes Keenz, the company behind the original stroller wagon, The Stair Barrier, the only gates designed specifically for staircases with banisters, and Lazy Dog Loungers, a uniquely designed raft that makes it easy to enjoy the water with dogs in tow.