Field Reports1 Sep, 2008 By: Thomas Haire Response
Two INPEX Products Selected Most Likely to Succeed on DRTV
By Thomas Haire ([email protected])
PITTSBURGH and SANTA ANA, Calif. — During the annual Invention & New Product Exposition (INPEX) in Pittsburgh on June 13, Response Magazine sponsored and co-hosted a pair of panels that allowed qualified inventors to present their products to direct response television experts for feedback and suggestions. Representatives on each panel voted for the product "most likely to succeed on DRTV." The winners are:
- 1. Andrew Martin of Ramer, Tenn., for his "Grill Gadget" grill cleaning product
- 2. Daniel Capperrune of Groveland, Ill., for his "Cageless Cage" animal restraint product
Andrew Martin estimates he's sold more than 65,000 Grill Gadgets through limited distribution since taking the product to market just more than six years ago.
Martin's Grill Gadget tool was born of necessity in 1981, when he was looking for a new way to clean his barbeque grill. "You had to use one of those old brushes," Martin says. "Not only wouldn't it completely clean the grill, but you'd end up with splashback — spots on your clothes, a black sink when you'd clean it. I thought, 'There has to be an easier way.'"
So Martin created his own tool, utilizing a solid brass disc attached to a steel shaft and wooden handle. He machine cut different sized notches into the round brass in order to fit his different grills. After using it at his home for 20 years, it hit him that he had a product that every grill owner needed.
Daniel Capperrune's Cageless Cage was a big hit at the INPEX show, and the entrepreneur is currently working with a pet products company to market his invention.
"I got a patent attorney, who got us a patent pending registration on the tool in about four-and-a-half months," Martin says. "We've been selling it for more than six years now, all over the world."
The item is now made in three different styles in order to "fit just about any grill," Martin says. He contends that his business, which is family-owned and operated from a building near his home, sold more than 15,000 units in 2007 — and estimates more than 65,000 Grill Gadgets are out in the field. "We've only had about a half-dozen returns in all our years," he adds.
Capperrune's Cageless Cage, a patented invention that he's currently working on a deal to market with a pet products company, has a large plywood base, encased in a rubber compound, with a chain that attaches to any pet's collar. Capperrune has designed different sizes and styles for different sizes of pets, as well as bathtubs and the bed of a pick-up truck.
Prior to the event in Pittsburgh, Capperrune told INPEX representatives that his product came to mind because of the frustration he encountered trying to bathe his dog. "My dogs always attempted escaping from the bathtub during bathing, and this concept came to mind of how to solve the problem in a very unique way," he said.
The idea behind the product was to keep pets in a secure, designated area using the product and pets' own weight to secure them without them feeling trapped in a cage.
Capperrune and Martin both traveled to INPEX seeking a break for their product. While Capperrune was looking for a manufacturer, distributor, venture capitalist, licensee and importer/exporter at the show, Martin's needs were a bit simpler.
"I've worked hard, I'm 64 years old and it's time for my wife and I to sit back a little bit," he says. "I'm looking to present it to a company that would license or buy my patent. We're going to need a sales force and a manufacturer, because once this product really gets out there, I think it's going to do great. It's something everybody can use, and there's a need for it."