Inventions don’t need to be complex or difficult to create inventor fortunes. Here are some simple ideas that made it big.
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Originally published by msn news https://www.msn.com/en-gb/money/other/brilliant-modern-inventors-making-a-fortune/ss-BB1gHOS3#image=23
Shaun Pulfrey’s Tangle Teezer
Former celebrity hair colourist Shaun Pulfrey was laughed off the UK’s Dragons’ Den TV show back in 2007 after pitching his simple yet unique invention: a brush with flexible plastic teeth that detangles and unknots hair with ease.
The stylist was roundly ridiculed by the Dragons, who mocked his “hair-brained” idea and sent him packing. Luckily, the great British public disagreed. After the show aired, the Tangle Teezer website crashed and sales skyrocketed. Celeb endorsements from the likes of Victoria Beckham followed. Tangle Teezer was picked up by UK chain Boots in 2008, before going global in 2009.
The company only started spending money on marketing in March 2016, and by 2018 Pulfrey had sold more than 35 million brushes. Now a beauty staple and household name, the product, which turned over £22.6 million ($28.5bn) in 2018, has made its inventor very rich indeed – Pulfrey is currently estimated to be worth a not too shabby £10.6 million ($13.3m).
Levi Roots’ Reggae Reggae Sauce
Chef and musician Levi Roots also appeared on the UK’s Dragons’ Den show in 2007, but the budding entrepreneur received a much warmer reception from the Dragons than Shaun Pulfrey’s Tangle Teezer. In fact, the Dragons were keen to invest in his product, Reggae Reggae Sauce, a tasty jerk barbecue condiment.
Roots walked away with £50,000 ($63k) from Dragons Richard Farleigh and Peter Jones in exchange for 40% equity. Major UK supermarket Sainsbury’s immediately stocked the product in 600 of its stores. Sales were projected at 50,000 bottles a year, but the chain ended up shifting 50,000 per week.
The product range was expanded to more than 50 products and the super-popular Reggae Reggae brand is now available from a variety of retailers, as well as fast food chains including Subway and KFC. Needless to say, Levi Roots is rolling in it. His net worth is estimated at £35 million ($44m), and that could be set to grow as the story of his life is set to be turned into a film.
Julie Deane’s Cambridge Satchel
Short of cash, Julie Deane created the iconic Cambridge satchel on her kitchen table in 2008 to help cover the cost of sending her daughter, who was being bullied, to a private school. She used savings of just £600 to kick-start the project.
Reinventing a classic, Deane’s hip, colourful take on the traditional leather satchel soon caught the eye of fashion bloggers and stylists, even appearing in an editorial in Italian Vogue, and the orders started flooding in.
The brand fast became a fashionista must-have and in just five years Deane revealed that her company was worth £50 million ($63m) in 2013, making her a multimillionaire and then some. As well as netting piles of cash, the inspiring businesswoman was awarded an OBE in 2014 for services to entrepreneurship.
Aaron Krause’s Scrub Daddy
American inventor Aaron Krause created his clever multitasking sponge with a smiley face in 2006 while developing a foam buffing pad. The car detail expert came up with an extra-special sponge that turns soft in warm water and hard when it’s drenched in cold water.
The foam buffing pad was sold to 3M in 2008 and Krause almost forgot about his other invention until 2011 when he had to clean some garden furniture. Krause dug out the sponge and was bowled over by its cleaning prowess. Thinking he was on to something big, the polishing pro went on the US Shark Tank TV show in 2012 to pitch the product.
The Sharks loved it. Krause bagged a $200,000 (£159k) investment for 20% equity from Lori Greiner, who helped him garner deals with major retailers including QVC. Scrub Daddy is now America’s number one sponge, with total revenues topping $110 million (£87m), and its inventor is thought to be worth up to $70 million (£55m).
Scott Boilen’s Snuggie
Blankets with sleeves have been around since the 1990s – the Slanket for instance was invented by Maine’s Gary Clegg in 1998 – but innovator Scott Boilen’s take on the concept, the all-conquering Snuggie, has been the most lucrative by a long shot.
Boilen’s company Allstar Marketing Group brought the Snuggie to market in 2008 and launched a cheesy commercial that generated a lot of buzz, triggering a massive craze. A whopping 20 million Snuggies were sold in the first year, with sales exceeding $40 million (£31.7m) in the first three months alone.