The former software analyst started a business with her neighbor in Annapolis nearly four years ago, tapping into an unusual field: nitpicking. Lice Happens now has 18 people traveling to homes around the D.C. region and as far as Connecticut armed with nitcombs and magnifying goggles to help families get rid of dreaded head lice.
How did you become a nitpicker?
I actually have a twin sister that lives about 35 minutes away, and she discovered that her children -- a son and a daughter -- contracted head lice. And the bottom line is she epitomized the typical response of a parent. She was at the pediatrician's office. She then went to the drugstore and bought an over-the-counter product. She went to a website and printed out a list of things she needed to do in the home and for treatment. She followed the directions meticulously only to find out day in and day out she was not able to return to work because her children were not being accepted back into school [despite] the herculean efforts she was going through.
Most people get itchy and squeamish when they hear the word lice. How did you get over that?
I personally was fascinated. ... How could a little creature like this cause so much disruption and horror stories in a family? ... And I have a deep respect for head lice. The only purpose for head lice is to simply reproduce, to create the next generation so they can continue as a species. They are really good at it. They are quite the survivors. Here we are in 2012 and we are still nitpicking.
How do people react when they hear what you do?
It's always a little awkward to answer what I do, for example, at a dinner party or a social engagement. But ... before you know it, 20 minutes have gone by and people are still talking about head lice.