Tag Archives: odyssey solutions

Silicone Molding Makes Prototyping More Refined

Hey Readers,

So I have been busy the past couple weeks on a number of clients prototypes and I found a way of producing realistic representations of the end product. For one particular project, the client wanted to develop a thin curved form that could be worn under clothing (no futher details so not to compromise the IP). It was determined that the final material would most likely be one of the following:

1) Silicon Rubber

2) Urethane

3) TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomer)

I was contemplating investing in some simple CNC-milled mold cavities but, the cost was just too much for the purpose of validating a concept. I then stumbled upon a company that specializes in special effects make up and masks called Smooth-on (www.smooth-on.com). This company makes many different liquid molding compounds that can be used for prosthetic, masks, food, taxidermy and prototypes. In watching a video about how to create a 2-part mold, I was intrigued to say the least.

For me the first thing to do was to make the original model that would be used to create the negative void space within the 2-piece mold. Due to the thin curved nature of the clients product, I decided to work with an air-dry sculpting clay for the main form. Once this was dry, I filled in all of the small imperfections using melted beeswax. I was really impressed with the surface finish I gained using the wax. The final step was to go over the entire model surface with a propane torch to melt the wax completely smooth to the touch. Now I was ready to start with the mold.

To create the mold box, I went and purchased a series of 1/4″ thick acrylic sheet panels that would serve as the bottom and sides of the mold box. Using a hot glue gun and a mold strap, I secured the sides so they were ready to receive the clay and rubber. As noted in the video, I started with a layer of modeling clay on the bottom of the box to about 1″ of depth. I then placed the model into the clay so that the parting line would be across the top of the clay. I then smoothed the entire clay surface and placed some 3/8″ acorn nuts into the clay with the round portion facing up (these will serve as registration keys for the two mold halves).

I purchased the Smooth-on Mold Star 15 which is a Platinum cure Silicon with great elongation properties while also having the finishing properties I wanted. After the clay was ready, I then measured out equal parts of the Mold Star 15 mixture components and quickly mixed them together until a consistent color was achieved. I then poured the Silicon onto the clay and mold slowly to make sure there wasn’t any gas bubbles. After about 4 hours, I was ready to break down the mold box to prep for the second half. By removing the walls of the box I then flipped over the mold and removed all of the clay (making sure not to remove the actual model). I had an old paint brush handy that I used to further remove any trace of clay from the surfaces. The next step was to reassembly the mold box using the now cured first half as the base. Once the walls were secured in-place I sprayed a couple coatings of Ease Release 200 mold release onto the entire cured Silicon and model surfaces. Using a small amount of clay I created the pour spout that would later be used to pour the molding rubber. This can be seen in the video above.

I then mixed and poured the second half of Mold Star 15 onto the top of the mold half. After another 4 hours of waiting, the mold was finally ready to separate to see the resulting cavity. At first, the two mold halves were impossible to part. I then decided to use compressed air to injected through the pour spout which worked very well at parting the two halves. After initial inspection I was very pleased with the results (although not perfect).

Now I was ready to try molding the first sample. I chose to use the Body Double Silicon rubber to create a life-like finish on the clients product. This is also a 1-1 ratio mix that is really easy to use (although the high viscosity may warrant adding a thinner next time to allow for easier flowing into mold cavities). After another coating of mold release I started pouring the Body Double into the cavity through the pour spout. I allowed the sample to cure overnight and in the morning I parted the two halves to see my first molded sample. Not bad.

This was the first time I had ever created a mold using Silicon and I learned alot. First, I created a much larger mold box than needed which cost more in product and also made for a bulky mold. Next, the issues with the two part mold halves sticking may have been from some residual clay that was still on the surface so next time I will try and wash the surfaces. Last, to improved surface finish of the end sample, I will be adding a Silicon thinner to the mix to reduce the viscosity and improve pourability.

If you would like to see some more photos, please message me and I can share.

Thanks again for reading and please share our blog with your friends.

Sean Yakeley

Odyssey Solutions New Product Development Consulting

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Help Support Odyssey Solutions in the Intuit Small Business Big Game Contest

Help Support Odyssey Solutions in the Intuit Small Business Big Game Contest

Readers, 

I am asking your support for Odyssey Solutions in the Intuit Small Business Big Game contest. The winning company will get a commercial during the Super Bowl. We made it to the second round so every vote counts.

https://www.smallbusinessbiggame.com/TX/Odyssey-Solutions-LLC/374168

Much Thanks

Sean

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Proud To Be a 3D Printer Beta Tester

With the growing improvements in technology and the resultant resolution that is now coming from the desktop 3D printers, I decided I needed to start looking at purchasing one for use in rapid prototyping client projects.

For Odyssey Solutions, the most critical three factors I was using to select our printer were: reliability, print resolution and overall print build volume. The reliability and resolution seem obvious enough but, in order to be able to accommodate the largest possible parts I had to narrow down the list to just a few.

When you Google 3D Printers you will most likely come across Makerbot (recently merged with Stratasys), 3D Systems or a seemingly endless list of small start ups. Makerbot for example is probably the most notable name in the industry as they were one of the first to really perfect the consumer 3D Printer. The Replicator 2 and now 2x are sleek, eye-catching products that had some serious time spent in the aesthetics department. However, it seemed that there were far too many people complaining about reliability and print consistency.

Makerbot Replicator 2 3D Printer

Makerbot Replicator 2 3D Printer

So I then looked at the 3D systems Cube and Cube X systems. Both are rather pricey for what they deliver. The Cube X is a larger printer with a very sizable build volume, it also comes in an optional multi-extrusion head system.

3D Systems Cube 3D Printer

3D Systems Cube 3D Printer

3D Systems Cube X 3D Printer

3D Systems Cube X 3D Printer

Another thing that tends to differentiate the 3D printers is the print media that is used. Most commonly used is a extrusion filament process that draws a small diameter plastic thread from a spool through a heated extrusion head and out onto the printing surface. The two most widely used materials are ABS (plastic) and PLA (biodegrable plastic made from plants). There are many advantages and drawbacks to both materials but, most people would agree having the capability to print both is preferred. PLA is a fast, non-toxic material that can be recycled. ABS on the other hand tends to produce finer resolution prints and more suitable for parts where stress will be seen.  Both the 3D Systems and the Replicator 2x models can accommodate both printing materials but, the price tags were what turned me off.

I then came across a smaller start up company called Type A Machines, a San Fran-based tech company that is focused on the open-source side of things. From reviews I read, their first generation machine the Series 1 (a primarily wood-based skeleton) performed well for the mid-range of users. The price tag was almost half that of the aforementioned models. I then heard they were going to be rolling out a Pro model which would be constructed of high strength steel and glass making is more suitable for high volume, high resolution print users. I contacted them directly by email to find out more and see when the release date would be. The following day Sara from Type A invited me to become a Beta tester for this new system. Not only would I get the latest and greatest model from them before anyone else but, I would also be prioritized for any upgrades later on (heated build platform, wifi and modular wire management systems). The best part about this was the build volume was 12″x12″x12″, much more than any competitive product out there. This meant that I would be able to handle many of my clients prints in-house as opposed to using a third party. So I decided to take them up on the offer. The order is placed and being filled at the moment.

In about 4 weeks I will have the machine and I will then post a follow-up blog on the results.

Here is a quick glance at the new Series 1 Pro

Type A Machines - Series 1 Pro

Type A Machines – Series 1 Pro

As always, thanks for the read.

Sean

Odyssey Solutions New Product Development Consulting

 

 

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Launching our New Website (www.osigolf.com)

I am excited to announce that Odyssey Solutions LLC has formed OSI Golf (http://www.osigolf.com) to solely focus on the development, manufacturing and sales of our innovative golf training aids. Over the past couple of years we have spent countless hours designing and launching out golf training products to the market. We now feel that the OSI Golf brand will stand alone and continue to grow our business for the many years to come.

The decision to re-brand the company was based on two points

1) Some confusion with our company and the company that manufacturers golf putters; Odyssey Golf

2) Shorter domain with a modernized web presence allows us to rank higher in the search rankings on Google, Bing and Yahoo.

OSI Golf | The Golf Training Aid Marketplace for Odyssey Solutions

The New OSI Golf Logo

Simultaneously, we spent a good amount of resources on product photography to capture not just the products themselves but, to also see them in action. After all a golf training aid sells it self if it clearly illustrates how it works and the benefits.

Here are a sample of the great photos…

WrisTRAINER Golf Swing Wrist Apparatus Impact

Impact Shot

WrisTRAINER Golf Swing Wrist Apparatus Image

Follow-through

WrisTRAINER Golf Swing Wrist Apparatus

WrisTRAINER Swing Sequence

Finally, I wanted to share with you all the images of the products themselves…

BanditGrip Golf Grip Enhancer Black

BanditGrip

BanditGrip Golf Grip Enhancer White

BanditGrip

TempoTRAINER Weight Golf Swing Aid

TempoTRAINER

WrisTRAINER Golf Swing Wrist Support

WrisTRAINER

Come and check us out at http://www.osigolf.com for more information. You can also follow-us on Twitter @osigolfco

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Weekly Shark Tank Review – April 26th 2013

I was pleased to see the Sharks back on the air after the unfortunate miss last week due to the Boston bombing coverage.

This was a great show with some very passionate business owners with a lot of drive. I applaud you all for sticking with your products and persevering. Lets get started.

Inventor: Jeff Stafford and Dusty Hollowell

Product: Shell Bobbers (http://www.shellbobbers.com)

Requesting: $80k for 20% stake

Shell Bobbers Website

Shell Bobbers

These two long-time fishing and hunting buddies tell the story about how when they were hunting and a shotgun shell fell into the water it floated. It gave them the idea to make the fishing bobber company Shell Bobbers. I liked the method of pitching and how they incorporated the manufacturing into the sales pitch with I thought was very engaging. The cost to make each bobber is about $1 and they retail for $8.99. The sales to date it about $1000 (or 440 units). They have been selling in various hardware stores but need help getting into the larger retail outlets. They hold a provisional patent but, didn’t do a thorough research on existing patents. They have a trademark as well. Kevin started with a rather rough offer for $80k for 50% with a residual profit per until cash is paid back. Mark then offers a straight $80k for 33% and they do the deal.

Feedback: Like I said, the concept is solid and a novelty and certainly the fishing and hunting segment is enormous. I noticed on their website that they have some photos with the Duck Dynasty guys and I was actually thinking about that during the show. The Duck Dynasty guys would be the ultimate endorsers for this product. I believe to get this into the big box retailers, they need to invest in flashy packaging and a good marketing plan to show how to maximize the sales. I would like to see if the Shell Bobber is in the Bass Pro Shops this year.

Inventors: Tracy and Danielle Noonan

Product: Wicked Good Cupcakes (http://www.wickedgoodcupcakes.com)

Requesting: $75k for 20% Stake

Wicked Good Cupcakes Website

Wicked Good Cupcakes

This Mother and Daughter pair have been making cupcakes in Boston for some time now but, they wanted to expand their sales capabilities and shipping around your conventional cupcake just was too messy and logical. The idea for the cupcake in a jar was born. The pitch is for gourmet cupcakes cooked in the jar and available to shipping and retail. They have sold about $73k year to date with $360k in forecasted sales for this year. The cupcakes have a shelf life of 7-10 days (without preservatives). The cost to make each is $2.15 and sells for $5.95 but with wholesale, they only make $0.85/jar. All Sharks bow out except Kevin who proposes a rather dirty deal of $75k for zero equity but with a perpetuity royalty of $0.50/unit. The girls exit to discuss then come back to negotiate a $0.45 a final deal.

Feedback: While I do think the whole cupcake crazy is going to be short lived once people realize they are loaded with fat and calories but, for sake of the hot segment this is a really creative way of presenting the cupcake. After all, the one thing I hate about cupcakes are that they are messy. The jar solves this by incorporating a spoon. I understand that walking into the tank you are under some pressure to get a deal done but, I would have recommended to play hard ball with Kevin. Kevin’s deal was nothing but a loan with a lifetime commitment, never advised no matter the situation. Because now they are forced to pay Kevin his share for every unit and that means a lot more when the company grows and sales are skyrocketing. All this for a $75k loan!

Inventor: Arron Lemieux

Product: nPower PEG / Tremont Electronic (http://www.npowerpeg.com)

Requesting: $2million for 22% stake

Personal Motion Charger

nPower PEG

Arron is a passionate individual looking to revolutionize the way we consume power. His company Fremont Electric has invented a Faraday induction-based personal charger for mobile electronics. The nPower PEG is a unique product that has a backing of 5 or so utility patents. The black cylindrical tubing houses a induction coil and concentric magnet that with motion will create a charge that is stored in the integral battery. Your device can then be plugged into the device to gain as much as 25% charge. he retails the product for $199 and has sold about 1300 units so far but the cost is a bit high. He explains the end goal is to apply his concept to mass power generation in the way of floating wave buoys. While the Sharks are all intrigued by the idea, they are also confused at how the personal device will lead to the large scale development. Kevin even comments that he would be interested in licensing the idea to a company like GE but he would not want to do all of the leg work. No deal is made.

Feedback: For all of the pitches I have seen on the show, this one has the most potential wide spread impact on the world energy consumption. The problem with the pitch is the valuation of the nPower PEG (nearly $10million!) that really is an investment for the development of the wave generation device. There is no clear track record for the wave generation system but, I do think Arron is more than knowledgeable so I do think he is the right man  for the job. I only wish he instead approached the Sharks for the small device only and requested much smaller investment to get that product rolling and into the masses. Later taking the profits and investing into the next generation systems. It is all about how you present the idea. Arron you can always send me one of the products and I can personally review it for you.

Inventor: Nate Holzapfel

Product: Mission Belt (http://www.missionbelt.com)

Requesting: $50k for 20% stake

Mission Belt Website

Mission Belt

Nate developed his adjustable belt without the holes after he struggled to find belts that didn’t wear out and that had more fine adjustments than the normal 1 inch increments. He has been selling the belts through various smaller retailers and has sold $39k so far. The belts cost him $5.50 to make where he retails them for $39.95 and wholesales for $15. He is a very good salesman and this no more evident than when he tells the Sharks about when he arrived to LA and immediately went door to door to sell 20 belts! Lori, Robert and Kevin all bow out. Daymond offers the $50k for 40% stake for the purpose of licensing the belt to fashion companies. Nate negotiates the stake down to 37.5%.

Feedback: Watching Nate really is inspiring to anyone with a product idea. There are three things needed for a successful product-based business; proprietary concept, profitable model and a passionate leader. Nate certainly has the last one nailed down. They dont make sales guys like him anymore and it is a pleasure to see his passion and drive. I am sure his biz will be a success especially with Daymond backing the product. I am very impressed he has driven the costing down to $5.50 which is a very tough thing to do without mammoth volumes. I will say that I have seen this belt design before on the golf circuit (different company). That doesn’t mean it can’t make it, it just means marketing is where he will need to differentiate himself.

Thanks again for reading and please come by again for the next weeks posting.

Sean Yakeley

Odyssey Solutions New Product Development Consulting

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The Importance of Performing Patent Research

Probably the most important step in invention validation is the patent research. The purpose of performing such study will not only bring to light some of the competitive products and what specifically they claim as innovative but, it also will determine if you can pursue your idea without infringing on an existing patent.

The entire patent system is incredibly cumbersome and intimidating to most people and frankly, the search tool is very difficult to understand so I wanted to help shed some light on how a patent search is normally performed.

Step One: Gather a detailed summary of what specifically your idea does and more importantly how it works (or the planned mechanism to the best of your ability).
This sometimes is easier said than done. I often have clients that will come to me with an invention idea but, they have not fully envisioned how it will work (meaning mechanically). They know what consumer problem or need it addresses but, as far as the detailed workings are concerned they have not gotten that far. In order to perform a good patent search you will need to have done some upfront work in conceptualization or at least a good sketch to show how your product will function.

Step Two: Start with a basic keyword search.
This is sometimes the easiest step to help narrow the search down. What I recommend is starting with an online search tool such as Google Patents (http://www.google.com/patents) and type in a 3-8 word phrase that best describes your product such as “Adjustable Hair Dryer”. Normally, this is will yield a long list of results based on the most accurate matches. You will normally only need the first couple of listings to see how the similar “prior art” or previously filed patents are categorized within the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Google Patents Search Tool

Google Patents Search Tool

Step Three: Identify the best fit Class and Sub-Class categories.
After finding some relevant matches you now can see how they have been categorized within the USPTO database. All patents are stored in a Class/Sub-Class style of organization. This means the classification for the product type and the below more detailed category. If you look at a patent you will see the “Current U.S. Classification” listed as shown below. The first number is the Class and the second is the Sub-Class. Using tools like Google Patents you can also click these numbers and you will be directed to a definition listing at the USPTO.gov website. Once you have made it to the definition page, there will be a red letter P that signifies all patents filled under this Class/SubClass. Click the P and you will then see all patents.

Google Patent Selection with Highlighted Areas of Interest

Google Patent Selection with Highlighted Areas of Interest

Finding the USPTO Patent Classification

Displaying all Categorized Patents

Displaying all Categorized Patents

After looking through a number of matching patents I will normally save the PDF versions to my computer to more thoroughly review them later on.

Step Four: Dig deep to find flush out any overlapping prior art.
This is the part that is often best to have an expert assist you because the standard patent language is often very “lawyer-friendly”. However, once you have your set of patents to look through there is really only two areas of interest that need to be reviewed; Drawings and Claims. The drawings are a graphical representation of an embodiment of the invention and can help you in understanding the language that is written in the claims. The claims are the set of specific characteristics of the invention that are thought to be unique and therefore patentable. You should start with claim 1 and read through it slowly to see if your invention at all covers the same details. If not, proceed to the second claim. Claims can be written as independent or dependent (based on a previous claim). For this reason, if the primary claim appears to be different from yours then under most cases, the subsequent dependent claims can be skipped. You would continue this process with all relevant prior art until you have clearly identified all concerning claims. The other thing to note is that while there may a patent in the system, it doesn’t mean it is still valid. The Inventor must stay current with the required maintenance fees to keep the patent active in the system.

NOTE: while a patent search is important, there are still no guarantees that a Patent Examiner will approve your patent. The proposed invention must be truly novel and non-obvious through the eyes of the reviewer.

Step Five: Proceed on or back to the drawing board.
Don’t be discouraged if at first you find some existing patents that appear to be blocking you in your pursuit of product development. This just means you need to further refine the product design or add some unique functionality that is not already covered by the existing products. This would be a good time to consult a seasoned Industrial Designer or Product Development Consultant to help you get back on track.

I hope this has been informative to my readers and if you have any further questions, please submit a question in the comment section below and I will respond.

Best of luck to all you Innovators and Entrepreneurs.

Make sure you follow this blog, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Sean Yakeley

If you are an Entreprenuer with a great product idea but, have not made any progress with the development, my company Odyssey Solutions can help. We offer a full turnkey suite of services to help turn that great idea of yours into a product. All while you retain all intellectual property. To see our full list of services click the link below.

New Product Development Consulting

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Shark Tank Weekly Review – Episode 412 January 4th 2013

Happy New Year to all the loyal Shark Tank viewers and Odyssey Solutions followers!

Before I go into this weeks episode, I wanted to first start out with a brief word of advice for anyone looking to develop a product. While sales history is certainly good, market analysis is far better. What I mean is that to understand how big the potential is for a product you must first know the ins and outs of the market you are trying to attack (including the competition). Now this may seem like a no-brainer but, in addition to knowing the sales of the cumulative competition you really should look at that the intended target market. Sometimes this is not always clear, as you are hopefully creating a new market through gaps in the competitions offerings. Whether you are pitching the Sharks in the Tank or meeting with some potential Investors, knowledge is key. This episode showed us that a good product will attract the right Investors.

Now on to the review…

Inventor: Doug Marshall

Product: Gameface (http://www.thegamefacecompany.com/)

Requesting: $400k for 25% stake

The GameFace Company by Doug Marshall

The GameFace Company by Doug Marshall

Have you ever gone to a sporting event and wanted to express yourself with your favorite team logo? Wouldn’t you want to celebrate Halloween with a mess-free costume? Well Doug Marshall has come up with a very novel idea to address both. The GameFace non-toxic face masks are a simple, clean and easy way to show your pride. Doug started the business a number of years ago and is now expecting to gross revenues of $100k+ this year alone on his company. The company is fully independent and operates as a side job with his wife. Margins appear to be pretty solid even in the wholesale realm. Daymond is out. Robert is also out and expresses his disinterest in doing business with Doug on such poor sales. Kevin offers a mixed offer of cash, loan and royalties. Finally Mark and Lori jump in with an offer of $1 MILLION for the entire company and an $80k/year salary for 5 years. After some talking with his wife, Doug then settles on a $450k for 35% with 80K/year salary and he still retains ownership.

Feedback: It is so easy to be wowed by a $1 MILLION buy-out offer for your product. However, getting paid is not always the best solution. I especially loved to hear Roberts’ story about how it took him so long as an Entrepreneur to earn a $100k salary and that he always held out for to see the project through. I admire Doug here. He didn’t succumb to the temptation of a big upfront check instead he stuck it out to see his project on to success. Mark and Lori once again showed they are the choice partners for consumer products (especially sports-related ones).

Inventors: Dan Grimm and Brant Myers

Product: Arkeg (http://www.drinkngame.com)

Requesting: $100k for 33% stake

The Arkeg Drink n Game Console

The Arkeg Drink n Game Console

Ok so this is a new one for me. I like beer and gaming so why not combine the two? That is what these two guys decided to do with the Arkeg. Dan and Brant both spoke so highly about the ability to sell one to any man cave or game room but the price point may be the limiting factor. The price tag of $4k with 20 units sold to date. The Sharks don’t buy into the deal and they guys leave empty-handed.

Feedback: I just don’t think the product attracts a wide enough audience to begin with to be on Shark Tank. Sure I would love to have one but at $4k! No thanks. My entire home brewing setup along with my XBOX 360 was far less.

Inventor: Dan Rothwell

Product: Dura-tent (http://www.duratent.com)

Requesting: $50k for 30% stake

The Dura Tent

The Dura Tent

Tired of pesky flies getting into your picnic or barbecue? The Dura Tent is an innovative approach to keeping the flies and their harmful germs off of your food. The combination tent and mosquito netting works to protect the food you spent so much time preparing. He sold 50k units at the time and has 3 patents total on the product. As he kept going on about the sales figures and costs the numbers weren’t adding up to what he said. Robert and Mark were out. The rest of the Sharks followed. No deal.

Feedback: The product is fairly good but as Lori said, the name just doesn’t translate to function. First rule of naming “phonetically communicate what the product does or what problem it solves”. So many people purchase on impulse and marketing is what drives this. He said that a Marketing consultant recommended he not focus on the act of what the product does. I find that odd. Anyway, the best way to name your product is to get out a white board and write all words associated with the problem on one side then on the other side the words associated with the solution and see if you can combine any two. At least it is a start.

Inventor: Megan Gage

Product: Hot Tot (http://www.hottot.com)

Requesting: $50k for 15% stake

Hot Tot Child-safe Haircare

Hot Tot Child-safe Haircare

If you have a child then you can see where Megan is coming from. To put just anything in the hair of your young child is so dangerous considering you don’t know what is in the haircare products. She sought out a solution to this problem with Hot Tot. While initially focusing on the kids boutiques shops she now is working towards the high end salons as most of the buyers are women. Her sales are $20k so far but she has $7k in purchase orders waiting to be filled. The margins are very good. All of the Sharks are out except Mark. He offers $75k for 40% stake and she takes it.

Feedback: I really liked seeing Megan speak about her passion in child haircare. I thought of myself when I started working on products. Define-Solve-Sell. While she is still very new and maybe the biggest need is Marketing, Mark will surely help her.

Thanks everyone for reading this weeks post. Stay tuned for weekly reviews of Shark Tank. Make sure you follow this blog, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Sean Yakeley

If you are an Entreprenuer with a great product idea but, have not made any progress with the development, my company Odyssey Solutions can help. We offer a full turnkey suite of services to help turn that great idea of yours into a product. All while you retain all intellectual property. To see our full list of services click the link below.

New Product Development Consulting

 

 

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Shark Tank Review Episode 303 – January 1st 2013 (re-air)

First and foremost, Happy Holidays and especially a Happy New Year to all of my loyal readers. The start of a new year should be a sign for other entrepreneurs to take the step towards independence. I wish you all a prosperous 2013 with you endeavors and / or inventions.

So this episode was a re-air from the third season but considering it was airing on New Years Day, it gave us another dose of the show prior to the all new episode this Friday. This show gave us a little of everything; seasoned successful business owners looking to partner with someone with global exposure, Inventors with a great product in a fantastic market segment and even a product that might need to go back to the drawing board before it makes it big. Without further ado, lets see how it all panned out….

Inventor: Kevin and Melissa Kiernan

Product: The Last Lid (http://www.lastlid.com)

Requesting: $40k for 20% stake

The Last Garbage Lid you Might Ever Need

The Last Garbage Lid you Might Ever Need

Melissa and Kevin entered the tank to discuss the product that was developed to address a need to keep raccoons from opening and knocking over their trash cans every night. Additionally, they would often lose the lids for their trash cans and apparently you cannot buy just replacement lids for trash cans. After some testing of materials and finding which design was most effective they settled on the elastic banded, polyurethane cover that would replace the need the for the hard plastic covers. They just launched the product, with no sales to date or IP. One by one the Sharks bail out of the pitch until only Daymond is left and he asks the two if they would take a minute to propose a final offer. Kevin said “$40k for 60% stake!”. Daymond agreed.

Feedback: While I love the fact they the Kiernans took a problem and created and tested a solution, I don’t like the resulting product for a number of reasons. First, the sagging fabric will get filed with rain water and make a mess. Second, the fabric regardless of whether it is water proof /resistant will leak the odors which I hate (ultimately promoting more Racoons to come by and check it out). Finally, I am not sure on what basis Daymond thought this idea had a valuation of roughly $67k with no sales and nothing protected in intellectual property in the way of a patent. The concept is a good one but, I think a better and more cost effective solution would involve an elastic domed disk that can be attached to any type of trash can.

Inventor: Amanda Schlechter

Product: The Ledge Pillow (http://www.ledgepillow.com)

Requesting: $30k for 25% stake

The Only Pillow that Doesn't Get in the Way...

The Only Pillow that Doesn’t Get in the Way…

Amanda entered the tank with a beautiful model by her side to demo the Ledge Pillow, a contour designed pillow for stomach sleepers with large breasts or augmentation. The idea is that many women now have breast implants and as a result cannot not sleep on their stomach comfortably. The company was formed in 2008 and has 83 pillows sold to date. Mr. Wonderful started by telling Amanda that the sales history and the small niche market was not enough to keep him interested. The other Sharks followed by not partnering with the Ledge Pillow.

Feedback:  This pitch to me was very tough to watch because Amanda appears to be very passionate of the product yet she has not taking the risk personally to see if the product would sell. During the 3-4 years that the product was out (with a patent as well), she didn’t spend a lot of time or money to perform a market analysis that may have helped to better understand who are the intended buyers. In reality, had she been able to invest more of her own money into advertising to boost sales over the 83 unit mark the pitch may have gone better. I wish her the best of luck and recommend that she take the risk to fully “live” her product 24/7, meaning cold calling store owners, retail buyers in her local market to setup a case study of sales history.

Inventors: Steve Nakisher and Shane Talbott

Product: Talbott Teas (http://www.talbottteas.com)

Requesting: $250k for 20% stake

Designer Teas by Talbott Teas

Designer Teas by Talbott Teas

The company Talbott Teas was created by the two partners to serve the designer tea market. The products are whole leaf tea blend created by Shane Talbott with a total of 23 different flavors available. The two were fortunate enough to be chosen as one of Oprahs favorite things in 2009 which led to an instant boost in sales. In addition they have appeared on QVC on numerous occasions. Sales history: $100k in 2009, $350k in 2010 and $500k through Q3-2011. They are enjoying a 50% gross profit margin at the moment. Daymond jumps in a regretfully bows out due to a conflict of interest with another investment he is in. Mark is also out. Kevin offers the $250k for 40%. Robert and Lori both drop out and it is left to the Talbott Tea owners on whether to accept. They counter twice and settle on a $250k for 35% stake to Kevin.

Feedback: These two owners are an example of found fundamental Entrepreneurs. Not only do they have great trending sales history but, they are very knowledgable of the business side of things too. I am amazed that there are not more competition out there in this segment aside from Teavana. Not only is tea shown to have health benefits but it easier on the stomach. I think this is a gold mine and I imagine more me-too companies will enter the ring soon. I wonder if the two are full-time working for Talbott or not because the intro video had them talking about their professional background. In any event this is a success for sure, Lucky for Kevin to have gotten such a big piece of the pie for only $250k (or roughly 4 months of sales).

Inventors: Maddie, Margot and Diane Bradshaw

Product: M3 Jewelry (http://www.m3girldesigns.com)

Requesting: $300k for 15% stake

M3 Girl Designs Jewelry

M3 Girl Designs Jewelry

Maddie, Margot and mom are M3 Designs a unique interchangeable jewelry company out of Dallas Texas. The company was formed back in 2006 when then 10years old Maddie began creating bottle cap magnets which led to the interchangeable bottle cap necklaces. Since the formation of the company, the product has grown to be representing in over 1000 retail stores nationwide! During this time the company has grossed over $5 million in sales revenue and growing. They Bradshaw’s are now looking to grow the business and lower the unit cost to help target the international markets. With the exception of Daymond, the Sharks are all wanting a piece of the M3 business but it comes down to equity and dollars. Various offers get put in front of the girls involving: Kevin+Lori for 40%, Lori+Mark for 30% then finally Lori+Robert+Mark for 30%. The girls talk it over and decide to take the deal if they can get season tickets to the Mavericks. Mark concedes a better deal, Owners box anytime with friends. The deal is done!

Feedback: It is hard to believe but these two young girls are both millionaires! I love how they are talking about college coming up soon. If this business gets any bigger school is going to be a waste of time. At first I didn’t understand the product but after they showed how the bottle caps can be removed and reattached to the necklace charm, I saw how this would appeal to the younger generation. They mentioned that all of the assembly is taking place in their Dallas facility but, does that mean these are all hand made or are they integrating any automation? I think this could be streamlined overseas for very cheap but I kind of think “Made in the USA” may be worth the incremental cost to be honest. Truly inspiring story and I am eager to see how the company grows in the coming years.

Thanks everyone for reading this weeks post. Stay tuned for weekly reviews of Shark Tank. Make sure you follow this blog, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Sean Yakeley

If you are an Entreprenuer with a great product idea but, have not made any progress with the development, my company Odyssey Solutions can help. We offer a full turnkey suite of services to help turn that great idea of yours into a product. All while you retain all intellectual property. To see our full list of services click the link below.

New Product Development Consulting

 

 

 

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 8,300 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 14 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Thanks to all my loyal readers for a great year! 2013 will start off well with plenty of Shark Tank reviews and insightful advice for inventors. Stay tuned

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Shark Tank Weekly Review – Episode 402 December 7th

Hey there fellow Shark Tank fans. This week was a double dose of Shark Tank as we saw the new episode air on Tuesday and a re-air episode air at the end of the week. Although this is an episode from back in September of this year, it was very entertaining and provided plenty of interesting learning points to take into account.

This weeks Shark: Daymond John, Barbara Corcoran, Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec and Kevin O’Leary

So lets get started with the review…

Inventor: Derek Pacque

Product: CoatChex (http://www.coatchex.com)

Requesting: $200k for 10% stake

The CoatChex Ticketless System

The CoatChex Ticketless System

The pitch here is for a unique ticketless coat check system that would eliminate the confusion of the dated ticket system. Essentially, you enter you phone number and name and the module then takes a snapshot of you for the system and you hand over the jacket. Then once you are ready you only need the phone number and name to claim the coat. Derek has zero sales to date and is heavily invested by his past professor from college. He would like to franchise the system and sell each for $1500 upfront. He has been in touch with some regional developers to get the word spread but this model was not very attractive to Mark Cuban. Each coat would check for between $2-5 each time. He would claim a 15% profit share on all business with the franchisees. Derek also mentioned that he has a patent on the system of ticketless exchange (this could be used in other venues and platforms such as concerts and valet, etc,…). Daymond, Kevin, Barbara and Robert all chose to go out. Mark is left and he offers $200k for 33% stake. Derek has to step out to discuss with his partner which advises him to turn it down. To everyones surprise he leaves without any funding.

Feedback: The main lesson here is that working with a partner can sometimes lead to disastrous business decisions. Mark would have added far more value than the relinquished equity. Stubborn Entrepreneurs take a lesson here. Aside from the results, the product is very good especially the non-coatcheck concepts. I looked over the website and they have spent some good money on the web developing and marketing but, without knowing whether they secured any funding outside of the Tank they may not have anything on the backend.

Inventor: Jay Kriner

Product: BevBuckle (http://www.bevbuckle.com)

Requesting: $50k for 10% stake

The BevBuckle

The BevBuckle

Jay entered the tank and begins to pitch his product idea the BevBuckle, a hands-free beverage holder / belt buckle. He said the product is patented and he spent the past 4 years traveling around to music concerts and venues resulting in 4000 units of sales worth $340k in revenue. The buckles cost $10 to make and they sell for between $35-110 (depending on the finishes). His pitch was going well and the Sharks all seemed interested. Jay then pulled out two envelopes (one with the list of retailers including Urban Outfitters and the second listing the major raceways in the country). He said that they all had shown interest in the product. The main problem now is that his last manufacturer delivered 26% defective products. Daymond drops out and so does Mark. Robert offers the $50k for 75% stake. Kevin says he would offer the $50k for no equity but with a 12% royalty off the top of each sale. Barbara then jumps in to offer the $50k for 51% operating stake. After a few moments, Jay choses to go with Barbara.

Feedback: This is one of these ideas that you see and say “why didn’t I think of that?”. From the looks of them, they appear to be pretty well made and included a magnetic closure to keep it shut when not in use. These would be great in college, concerts, sporting events, you name it. The manufactured cost of only $10 is really reasonable and this would allow him to sell them wholesale for between $18-60/unit. Not bad for profitability. I still don’t know if $50k is enough to make much of an impact as I think he really needs a couple hundred thousand to get orders rolling for retailers. This is considering the normal credit terms being 60-90 days. I hope he has found a reliable shop to work with to keep the defects down too. Jay, please send me a sample if you wouldn’t mind!!

Inventor: Todd Miller

Product: Bodywalking (http://www.bodywalking.com)

Requesting: $100k for 10% stake

BodyWalking Institute

BodyWalking Institute

Todd is a certified massage therapist that came up with his own take on the message. He decided that walking on the human back is far more beneficial to the body for the pressure points and relief of stress. His company developed a training program for other massage therapists called the BodyWalking Institute. He has performed 30 training sessions in 7 years and recorded revenue of $1500 per session. The pitch doesn’t impress any of the Sharks and they all opt to back out.

Feedback: I was confused here with what exactly Todd was pitching since body walking massage has been around for a long time. I have gotten one on a number of occasions. It didn’t sound like he manufactures or designed the walking frame which was using to supper his weight during the massage. I just don’t see the target market being that big. I can tell you that the walking massage is not for everyone as it can be far too much pressure and some people have a problem with feet as well. Todd if you are out there please provide a follow-up pitch here to the readers and hopefully you can help clarify some of the questions. Thanks

Inventors: Maria Curcio and Veronica Periongo

Product: Buggy Beds (http://www.buggybeds.com)

Requesting: $125k for 7% stake

The Buggy Beds Detection System

The Buggy Beds Detection System

Maria and Veronica came to the Tank prepared to talk about one of the biggest outbreaks in our country today, bed bugs. They developed a patented, trademarked system of early detection of the nuisance bugs. The product incorporates a non-toxic glue inside of a plastic housing that attracts and traps the bugs for verification that the presence exists. They launched the company roughly 6 months ago and have had numerous tests conducted to validate the product. They price from $6.99-8.99 but cost only $1.35 to make (not bad). They have already booked $150l in sales with $100k of that being profit. They had been selling exclusively on Home Depots website and Burlington Coat Factory but have been expanding over the past couple months. They said they once has an offer for $5 million for the buy-out of the patents and trademarks but they declined. All the Sharks are interested and asked the ladies to step out of the room so they could discuss an offer amongst themselves. Kevin started by offering $250k for 25% with Daymond joining. Barbara then wanted to fly solo and offered a single offer of $150k for 15% but after the women couldn’t decide, she pulled the offer. Then Mark proposed a full 5 Shark offer for $250k and 25% and the offer was accepted.

Feedback: This product is addressing a very large problem that is becoming more and more prevalent in hotels and homes across the country. I am amazed at how fast their company has grown in only 6 months and yielding very good profit margins. The fact that the patent and trademark is registered in so many countries (very thorough and expensive but worth it) they were not messing around on this project. These could really be sold in so many stores (Home Depot, Lowes, Bed Bath and Beyond, grocery, convenience stores, etc,…)  in addition they could partner with all of the major hotel chains which would be huge. I am interested in knowing how the Sharks have helped the company and what the year to date revenues would be. Reviews seem to be mixed on HomeDepot so I would be interested in hearing some user feedback.

Thanks everyone for reading this weeks post. Stay tuned for weekly reviews of Shark Tank.

Sean Yakeley

If you are an Entreprenuer with a great product idea but, have not made any progress with the development, my company Odyssey Solutions can help. We offer a full turnkey suite of services to help turn that great idea of yours into a product. All while you retain all intellectual property. To see our full list of services click the link below.

New Product Development Consulting

 

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