This inventor hopes to straighten out your knotty problem. By Anne Kates Smith, Executive Editor July 6, 2009 Julie Johnson Barkley loved her iPod but was frustrated by its frequently tangled earbud cords.Determined to invent a solution, she raided her son's toy box and her sewing kit. Wielding a glue gun, the part-time Houston dental hygienist put together a homemade model of what would become the Earbud Yo-Yo. Covington Creations, named for Barkley's Louisiana birthplace, was incorporated a year ago. By the end of 2009, Barkley expects her business to be in the black. The Earbud Yo-Yo is a cable organizer, about 1 square inch in size, that retails from $11 to $17. It works on earbuds for any device -- an iPod, Nintendo DS or smart phone, for example. Barkley knew she was on to something when she took designs to a patent attorney. "Right away, there was a little frenzy in the office," she recalls. From there it was on to a prototype maker in Austin, Tex., then a manufacturer in Taiwan. In between, Barkley made time for a two-night class on starting your own business. Joining the Consumer Electronics Association gave her the opportunity to show the Yo-Yo at the Consumer Electronics Show, tapping into the event's considerable publicity. Advertisement Designing the Yo-Yo, stocking inventory and setting up a Web site cost Barkley about $30,000 of her own savings, plus six figures more from a family friend. The payoff could be coming soon. The Earbud Yo-Yo is sold in 34 Fry's Electronics stores, and Barkley is hiring a national sales force. "I'd like to see it go worldwide. Right now, Best Buy is my goal."