Tapping into Consumer Concern

Inventor Story: Christine Ingemi

Christine Ingemi is a mom of four who got tired of hearing her kids blast their mp3 players.  But what could she do?  Telling them to turn it down maybe worked when she was around, but as soon as she was out of sight, what would stop them from turning it up again?  Something had to be done. [Read more...]

How to Get a Boost in Sales without Advertising

Inventor Story: Maureen Kelly

Maureen Kelly was tired of buying cosmetics from the cosmetics counter.  She liked how she looked at the store with the help of the make-up artist, but when she got home, she could never recreate the same look.  She realized that the cosmetics industry was creating products for the experts that normal people like her didn’t know how to use.  In 1999, she decided to solve this problem and create cosmetics that the everyday woman could use and look great. [Read more...]

Is Your Product Unique Enough?

Inventor Story: David Reckseen

David Reckseen’s dogs love chewing on the garden hose, but a standard garden hose is quickly punctured causing a significant amount of water to leak out long before it reaches its destination.  Reckseen thought he could just buy an industrial hose and be done with it, but when he asked at Home Depot, he found out that they had nothing of the sort.  The clerk told him that actually his was a common request, but they didn’t know of an industrial strength hose for the consumer market.  Reckseen searched the market and found out that Home Depot was right — there just wasn’t a product like that available. [Read more...]

Catalog Success

Entrepreneurs Jim Moritz, 32, and Greg Nieberding, 44, developed the Baby B’Air, a safety vest for babies to wear on airplanes.  After examining many different sales channels, they decided to introduce their product through catalogs. According to Nieberding, “The main advantage of catalogs was we didn’t need retail packaging.”  Also, the baby market, like nearly every other niche market, has many successful catalogs with wide distribution and high sales.  If you have ever been shopping with a baby, you can understand the appeal of baby product catalogs, but also due to the limited space in retail stores and the non-concentrated population of babies, catalogs are one of the few realistic ways of giving consumers the products they need.  This is true with nearly all niche groups, for instance, there might be 3 million silent film enthusiasts in the U.S., but they would be dispersed through out the country.  A catalog might be one of the only ways to reach an audience interested in silent film products. [Read more...]

How to Keep Your Big Retail Buyers Buying From You and Not the Competition

Inventor Story: Jamey Bennett

When you have one or more really good retail chains buying from you for a few years, is there any way to keep them from switching to a copy-cat product that costs less?  There are no guarantees in retail sales and some retailers will drop you if they find a lower cost product no matter what.  But some retailers are more concerned about giving their customers the best products than offering them cheap products.  Once such a retail chain starts buying from you, you should work hard to build a good relationship with them that will keep them buying from you, even when low-cost copy-cats are everywhere. [Read more...]

Overcoming the Skeptics

How to Overcome Market Reluctance Because of Other Similar Products that Failed in the Past

Inventor Story: David Hart

Usually you aren’t the first one to see a problem and try to fix it.  Sometimes you will find patents for products that try to solve the same problem your product solves or people within your industry may have seen five to ten products similar to yours try to make it to market and fail.  When industry people have seen a certain type of product fail a number of times, they will be highly skeptical that another similar product can be successful.  What do you do when you have a great new product that really works for a great price, but other similar products (although much more poorly executed) have failed, leaving potential buyers or partners highly skeptical? [Read more...]

How to Make the Most of Your Idea

Inventor Story: Brian and Rachel Quittner

One night, while working as a patrol officer, Brian Quittner was writing a ticket.  He was trying to hold his flashlight under one arm so he could see what he was writing and then the flashlight slipped, fell and broke, leaving him in an awkward situation.  He said the classic phrase of the inventor, “There has got to be a better way,” and the next day created his hands-free mobile light source. [Read more...]