Move Fast if you want to cash in on short term opportunities
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By Don Debelak
How the inventor is doing today
I wasn’t able to get any up-to-date information on how this inventor is doing.
July 31, 1999
Vic Pella spent six years in the film industry, ran a part-time promotional products business with a partner in Hong Kong, then started a pool-cleaning business. But in late 1996, the entrepreneurial bug struck again, and the 30-year-old inventor decided to take advantage of the surefire market opportunity the year 2000 represents.
Pella’s Studio City, California, company, Idea Express Inc., makes a line of products for the year 2000, including a baseball hat with an LCD panel on the front that flashes “Happy 2000”; a teddy bear that shouts “Happy Millennium” when you squeeze it; and the “Countdown Candle,” which burns down during the last seven days of the millennium, revealing a solid “2000” at its core.
Fads, onetime events or current events like Desert Storm or former pro wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura’s election as governor of Minnesota are often great opportunities for fast-moving entrepreneurs. You can profit, too, by following the same steps Pella did: 1) Get a trademark, design patent or copyright if applicable; 2) have a manufacturer lined up in advance; and 3) use trade shows to set up an instant distribution network.
Move Fast – Get It Made
To take advantage of short-term marketing opportunities, you must be able to manufacture the products quickly. This requires an agreement with a manufacturer. If you develop relationships with manufacturers in advance, you may also be able to get the manufacturer to help finance the large volume of products you’ll need to capitalize on the fad.
Pella developed an alliance with a manufacturer of promotional products in Hong Kong. Six years ago, he started scouting around for promotional product opportunities this company could make. For example, he might have suggested they make a hairbrush with a J-shaped handle for a company whose name started with the letter “J.” Basically, he served as an informal matchmaker, presenting opportunities to the manufacturer. He got some orders and didn’t get others, but he did build a relationship. As the millennium approached, Pella was able to set up an agreement quickly to get his products manufactured.
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