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Inventors are evolving into savvy entrepreneurs, risking capital and sweat equity to take their products directly to the marketplace, often with the help of crowdfunding and TV shows.
With hard work and determination first-time inventors are generating millions of dollars in retail sales. “Inventors are no longer content to invent and seek licensing deals; they want to become inventor entrepreneurs. This new entrepreneurship trend for inventors has been made possible by the new economies created by crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo as well as the massive benefits to small businesses of ecommerce sites like Amazon, Ebay, Etsy and even Instagram.
Add that to the popularity of television shows like ‘Shark Tank’ and ‘The Profit’, and there definitely has been a tipping point promoting startups and home businesses,” states Paul Berman, president of T2 Design, an invention and prototyping company in Santa Monica, California.
T2 Design clients Marc Newburger and Jeffrey Simon invented the “Drop Stop”, a patented device that prevents cellphones, make-up, keys and food from falling into the gap between the car seats and the console.
These two inventors worked with T2 Design to launch their new product. With modest but respectable sales, this smart tenacious team presented their product on the ABC hit TV series “Shark Tank” and Lori Greiner, known as “the Warm Hearted Shark,” made a deal to invest in their company and take “Drop Stop” to the masses. The two inventors now regularly appear on QVC TV selling thousands of “Drop Stop” car accessories each time they appear and Greiner made it possible for their product to be sold on the shelves in over a thousand Wal-Mart stores across the country.
Attorney Ken Spencer became an inventor when he solved a persistent problem for lawyers, judges and jury consultants across the country, by developing a unique, patented jury selection organizer kit.
The “aha moment” came to him when he watched a high-powered litigator fumble with his notes during the critical period of jury selection known as “Voir Dire”.
Spencer went to T2 Design and Prototype to develop his invention “The Jury Case.” Within months of manufacturing the product, an employee of the Emmy Award winning television show, “The Good Wife,” starring Julianna Margulies, contacted Spencer requesting to use “The Jury Case” product in a pivotal opening scene of an episode.
This product placement showcasing his invention to millions of viewers has increased the visibility and credibility of the product and now lawyers across the country are going to his website http://www.JuryCase.com to purchase his invention.
Pat McLemore, a devoted father of three, born in St. Louis, Missouri, invented the Treemate Tree Toppers, a product line of universal and improved Christmas tree toppers, that eliminates the tilting and falling over of tree toppers.
There are Treeemate Tree Topper Stabilizer Kits for real or artificial Christmas trees. McLemore developed his prototype and set up manufacturing through T2 Design Corporation and with his wife of 24 years launched a website http://www.amerrierchristmas.com to sell his invention and other inspirational holiday products.
Professional fitness trainer, Kappel LeRoy Clarke, who set an amazing record throwing a 106 pound kettlebell continuously on the 2.7 mile sand stretch between the Venice Pier to the Santa Monica Pier, has invented the new fitness product “Stumps”, so that amateur and professional athletes can train on a multi-level set of platforms to improve their strength, speed, agility and balance, all while “Stumpin”.
In addition, Clarke used his record kettlebell throw to raise awareness and money through an Indiegogo crowdfunding seed money campaign in order to develop his first prototypes for his unique sports and fitness invention.
Clarke worked with T2 Design to develop and perfect his workout invention and soon Clarke will launch his website http://www.GetStumpin.com and start another crowdfunding Indiegogo campaign to manufacture his product. “Ive learned that transforming someone’s physique is simple…Creating unique, empowering experiences can liberate a person from themselves,” Clark stated. “Stumpin” can assist people in their quest for positive change…real change that starts in the mind. An action-oriented mind. A performance mind.”
Paul Berman, president of T2 Design, who holds a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Michigan, stated, “I’ve developed hundreds of prototypes for inventors and there is a definite trend now for inventors to pursue crowdfunding or equity investment to start-up their own companies to launch their new products.”
“Five years ago approximately 75% of my clients pursued licensing deals, now over 75% of my inventor clients aspire to start their own companies to manufacture and distribute their unique products.” The ultimate goal for some inventors may still be licensing the invention or selling their start-up business, but entrepreneurship seems to be a critical step in the process.”
Another as-seen-on-TV “Shark Tank” success is the new clothes freshening product line called the Reviver, invented by Ben Kusin. Ben, a Texas born inventor, was determined to solve the annoying problem that many professional encounter, which is the lingering odors such as smoke or pet smells that cling onto clothing during the work day.
T2 Design worked with Ben to develop the prototype for his invention, as well as a line of applicators for the product. Ben brought in his brother, Eric to manufacture and distribute this patent-pending product line Reviver odor swipes. The disposable product line includes the Sparks Clothing Swipe, the Smoke Swipe, the Reviver Swipe for Dogs and Cats, and the Spark Clothing Swipe infused with pheromones for him and her by Reviver.
Quickly, the Kusin brothers sold over a million dollars worth of product, online and at convenience stores, pet stores and casinos. On ABC’s TV show “Shark Tank”, the brothers pitched to Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Barbara Corcoran, Robert Herjavec, but it was the “Queen of QVC” celebrity, Lori Greiner who invested $150,000 for 15% of the company, and now Kusin’s invention, the clothes freshening product line, is being sold at thousands of stores across the country including Walgreens, 7-Eleven and Petco.
“Stores and consumers are constantly looking for innovative new products that solve day-to-day problems, but you need to work out the kinks before you go to market,” Drop Stop inventor Marc Newburger exclaims. “Early on in the inventing process, we went to Paul Berman at T2 Design with our prototype after seeing his amazing work with other inventors on the TV show “American Inventor.” Newburger’s business partner, inventor entrepreneur Jeffrey Simon adds, “Paul worked extensively with us to make our product retail ready.”
“Many of my inventor clients tell me that TV shows like ‘Shark Tank’ inspire them to pursue their dreams and become inventor entrepreneurs. It’s an exciting new trend for inventors that the internet, television and crowd-funding has made possible.”
T2 Design has been designing and prototyping inventions for over twenty years and works with inventors from idea, to design and prototyping to manufacturing. “Consultations are done over the phone or in person,” stated President Paul Berman, “Inventors find us from all over the world at http://www.T2design.com“.