Could Suzanne Robitaille's product become the next status symbol of the high-powered exec? Warning: it's a bib. "But it's more dignified than a bib," assures Robitaille, a ski-industry consultant who came up with the Lapalong -- a rectangular mat of terry cloth and nylon -- to avoid spilling food and drink in her own lap as she drove to client appointments. She's not alone in her meals-on-wheels habit: New England Consulting Group, in Westport, Conn., estimates that in today's "mobile office" age, people consume as many as one in six meals on the road. Inspired by products in the ski industry, Robitaille gave the Lapalong what she calls a "tech look," with bright colors and a reversible zipper pocket. She currently sells the product, which she introduced in 1993, through an 800 number for her start-up, Mind's Eye Ltd., in East Longmeadow, Mass.

-- Alessandra Bianchi

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