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Take an all-Inclusive trip to China to tour factories and learn manufacturing overseas. 

With our DRTV Summit quickly approaching, most of the talk around the water cooler here at InventionHome has been about the latest infomercial products… (honestly, can you believe that Happy Hot Dog Man??).  While we’ve been busy searching for inventions with the “Wow! Factor”, the United Inventors Association (UIA) has teamed up with China-2-West to wow us with an inventor’s dream trip. 

Any inventor interested in manufacturing his or her product should seriously consider signing up. The first 20 inventors will have the opportunity to learn about off shore manufacturing first hand through factory visits, educational seminars, and entry to the world’s largest product tradeshow in Canton.

When:  October 20 – 30, 2011

Includes:

o       Round trip airfare between New York or San Francisco and Hong Kong

o       Transportation in China

o       All hotel accommodations in 4 & 5 star hotels

o       3 meals per day

o       All access pass to Canton Products Show

o       Factory Tours

o       Inventor Education Seminars

o       Local Sight Seeing and Cultural Visits

The educational value alone would be worth the expense, but add the cultural experience of China to an already unbelievable deal and Wow! you have the trip of a lifetime! 

For More Information or to save your spot – Contact Eric Bouldin by email on eric.bouldin@china2west.com or by phone on 650-921-3088.

 

 

 

For help with your invention or patent call 1-866-844-6512

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In light of our upcoming DRTV Product Summit (September 28, 2011), we thought a few words here on what makes a great product “pitch” would be beneficial to our readers.

In preparation for the Summit, we put together some guidelines specific to the Direct Response (infomercial) industry, but in reality many of these tips can apply across all categories.  Bottom line is…if you are meeting with a company in order to pitch your invention, whether it be a household gadget or a medical whatzit, proper preparation will increase your chances of success. 

First tip:  EDUCATE YOURSELF.  This means know the category/market into which your invention falls.  Clearly understand the “problem solved” and consider objectively just how big that problem is.  Research other products that solve the same problem and know their shortcomings. 

Second tip:  KNOW YOUR PRODUCT.  Know the patent status of your invention (and for that matter, of any competitive products/prior art, too).  Clearly define the benefits and features of your product and compare/contrast with your competition.  If you have sales history, be prepared to share.  If you have (or can obtain) manufacturing costs, be prepared to share.

Third tip:  PITCH LIKE A PRO.  Be enthusiastic, but remain factual…to say that “my invention is the only one of its kind”, or “this is a million dollar idea” don’t really help your credibility.  Tell your story…define the problem…but keep it brief (not boring!).  If your invention is conducive to an on-site demo, practice it at home and have all the props organized for a smooth presentation.  If you can’t demo on-site (maybe your invention requires a hot oven as a prop), can you provide a video? 

Should you find yourself face-to-face with a company evaluating your invention, we hope these tips come in handy and wish you much success.

2011 DRTV Product Summit – Private pitch sessions with 6 leading infomercial companies in one location  CLICK TO SUBMIT

Click here to download the DRTV Product Summit Tip-Sheet.

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Chances are that if you own a television set, you have witnessed the phenomenon known as DRTV.  Called “direct-response television”, DRTV advertisements have the goal of generating instant action by the viewers, and they typically include a toll-free number and website address to facilitate orders.  Some famous examples of DRTV spots include the Snuggie®, PedEgg®, and who can forget the Ginsu Knife ads of the 1970’s?

If you are considering presenting your invention to a DRTV company, take some time to learn about the industry, develop your presentation to address their market needs, and also set yourself some appropriate expectations.  Here are some tips…

  1. Understand the market.  There are certain qualities that most DRTV products share.  Consider how your invention will stack up to these criteria and address them head-on in your presentation:
    • They fall in categories that appeal to very broad audiences, such as housewares/kitchen, cleaning devices, tools, fitness/exercise, weight-loss, and personal care.
    • DRTV products can be easily demonstrated, and that demonstration usually depicts some sort of problem-resolution…like demonstrating how one can become more beautiful, happier, skinnier, and the like. 
    • Price point is extremely important.   A product that sells on DRTV for $19.99 will ideally cost $4.00 or less to manufacture.   

 

  1. Put your best foot forward.  Convincing a DRTV company that your invention is the next multi-million dollar Snuggie is the goal.  The question is; are you putting your best foot forward to convince them to invest in your invention, which could potentially cost a DRTV company thousands in developing, manufacturing and marketing your invention, depending on where you are in the process. If your invention is not already developed, your best bet is to have either a high quality virtual design or working prototype, which can tangibly demonstrate your invention.   Even a basic or crude video of your invention can help in catching these companies’ attention.
  1. Be willing to let go.  Some inventors want to dictate the design, materials, even what factory the potential DRTV company must use.  Don’t let this be your downfall!  As mentioned above, DRTV products have extremely demanding price models due to the large sums of money spent both on developing the commercial and buying the television media/spots.  In most cases, the DRTV companies can achieve more competitive pricing from their factories than inventors can provide, based both on the companies’ clout and the sheer volume of product that they can potentially order.  Other things like product features, manufacturing materials, and accessories can also play a significant role in determining price, giving companies even more reason to maintain product control.

 

  1. Have Realistic Expectations!  Along with their well-defined pricing model, most DRTV companies have standardized license agreements for inventors with very little wiggle-room on royalty percentages.  Although their royalty levels may appear on the low end, consider these factors before saying no to a deal: 
    • Are you comparing apples to oranges?  There could be a BIG difference in how DRTV royalties are paid versus more “traditional” product royalties.  Since most royalties (at least in my experience) are based on net revenues, let’s consider what that means.
      • For a “traditional” distribution model, there could be many middlemen.  A company might sell their widget to a distributor for $8.  The distributor might sell to a retailer for $10.  The retailer might sell to consumer for $19.99.  In this example, an inventor royalty is based on the only cost the company actually controls, which is their net revenue of $8 (less any agreeable fees).
      • For a DRTV distribution model, the DRTV company might sell their gadget through a television ad, which targets the consumer directly, for $19.99.  Guess what?  In this scenario, the inventor royalty is based on $19.99! 
    • Consider the volume of product sold!  Successful infomercial products don’t just sell hundreds…or thousands of products.  They sell MILLIONS.  Enough said?

 

  1. Prepare yourself.  It’s widely understood in the DRTV industry that a large majority of products tested will actually fail, which is the nature of the business.  Many DRTV companies will say that “9 out of 10” products they test will fail, which is why they are interested in market testing many products to see which will ultimately succeed.  If you enter the deal with this knowledge and understand the odds, you could save yourself a lot of heartache if your product doesn’t ultimately succeed.

 

Best of luck to you as you navigate the DRTV arena!

Need help protecting, designing or marketing your invention?  Call 1-866-844-6512.

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InventionHome is pleased to announce it has joined the United Inventors Association (UIA) in sponsoring the Inventors Zone at the 2011 Specialty Retail Entrepreneur Expo and Conference (SPREE) at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas on April 12 – 14.

The specialty retail industry covers cart and kiosk sales in malls and other venues.  With over 100,000 kiosks across the United States in malls alone, there is a pressing need for new products. The SPREE Show brings together industry professionals looking for new products and entrepreneurs with new products to sell or seeking to start their own business.

 

Who should attend the show?  Inventors with “retail ready” products interested in…

1. Exhibiting their inventions / products for opportunities to sell in carts, kiosks and gift shops. (Reserve your booth in the Inventors Zone by calling Debbie Lahti at (800) 936-6297 x 20.)

2. Educational sessions and networking events to learn more about the $12 billion specialty retail industry.

Exhibiting in the Inventors Zone

Entrepreneurs ready to take orders for their products should consider exhibiting.  Your product may be good for the specialty retail market if it a) requires an explanation and is easily demonstrated, or b) is a product that is already understood, like a t-shirt or food item.

For additional information on pricing and how to register for the SPREE Inventors Zone contact Debbie Lahti at (800) 936-6297 extension 20.  http://spreeshow.com/ 

When: April 12 – 14   /   Where: Las Vegas

If you need help with your invention call InventionHome at 1-866-844-6512.

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by Amy Frey

 

 

 

 

There’s been a lot of buzz recently about Chicago being dubbed the “The Toy and Game Inventing Capital of the World”. 

After experiencing the Toy and Game Inventor Expo (TAGIE) last week in the windy city, held in conjunction with The Chicago Toy and Game Fair (ChiTag), I’d have to say that both events are key to the city earning the well deserved designation.  TAGIE brought together over 40 experts in the toy industry eager to share their knowledge with novice toy inventors.  For two full days, panels of experts addressed topics from licensing your invention for royalties to manufacturing it yourself overseas. 

 

Since InventionHome was a TAGIE sponsor, I had the opportunity to attend the discussions and meet with toy industry executives from companies such as Hasbro and ThinkFun.    Large companies such as Hasbro typically work with professional toy developers and brokers to source new products from inventors. They simply don’t have the time (or the need) to work with the independent inventor that doesn’t understand their product needs at the required level.  Large companies want products that meet their business initiatives and can be implemented quickly without any handholding.  Many smaller companies are more willing to take an undeveloped product and massage it to fit their product and brand requirements, but inventors must still do their homework in order to be taken seriously by any company.  Here is some basic advice on the first steps to market your invention from the industry experts:

 

  1. Research the market for similar games/toys. Understand how your game play or toy is different.  Look online and in toy stores and mass retailers.
  2. Test the game/toy with strangers (your family and friends are going to like it no matter what!)
  3. Make sure the product is a good fit for the company.  For example, if the company sells adult games don’t send them a pre-school toy! This seems obvious but it’s a pet peeve of many companies that continually receive inappropriate product submissions.

 

Obviously, there’s much more advice and helpful information on all kinds of topics for inventors than I’m able to share in this brief blog.  If you’re considering “next steps” for your own invention, consider taking advantage of InventionHome’s experience, knowledge and industry connections and contact us today for more information on how to get started.  If you are a toy inventor, whether looking to license or manufacture your invention yourself, I encourage you to consider attending TAGIE next year.  Mary Couzin puts on a fabulous event that really lets you learn how the toy industry operates while giving you the chance to show your product to companies interested in inventions.  Even if you don’t get lucky and snag a deal, you will gain valuable feedback on your product.

 

In addition to TAGIE, InventionHome is also pleased to sponsor the Kid Invention Show to air on Got Invention Radio in January of 2011.  Brian Fried, the host of the show, was at ChiTag interviewing 40 kid inventors that took part in the Young Inventor Challenge.

 

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InventionHome’s president, Russell Williams, will be a guest on an upcoming show to discuss the inventing process and how InventionHome helps inventors commercialize their inventions.  Look for more information about both shows on the InventionHome blog.

Call 1-866-844-6512 for information on licensing your invention for royalties!

 

For more information about Invention Home you can visit the following websites – http://twitter.com/inventionhome, http://inventionhome.blogspot.com/, http://mvelette.wordpress.com/, http://www.facebook.com/invention.home

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The second week of October proved to be an exceptionally busy week for InventionHome’s marketing & licensing department, which netted an incredible FOUR license agreements in one week!  With the additional four agreements finalized, InventionHome marketing and licensing successes now stand at 117.  2010 is shaping up to be their highest performance licensing year on record with a 100% growth rate over 2009.

The four agreements mentioned include products called the Bead Bender, Lawnmower D’Light, Step Ramps and Cargo Sling.  Each of the license agreements was born by the hard work and dedication of an independent inventor.  Two of the licensed inventions fall into the automotive/vehicle category.  They were both licensed to a company that focuses on motorsports products.  The company hopes to see both products on the market by third quarter 2011.  The third licensed product can best be described as a headlight for a lawnmower.  A company with strong ties to Home Depot, Lowe’s, Sears, etc. licensed the product with hopes that their customers will embrace the clever device.  Our fourth licensed product may be featured on a television infomercial coming soon!  We can’t disclose too many details.  Suffice it to say that the simple product will keep your car nice and tidy.

These four licenses exemplify the effectiveness of InventionHome’s marketing program.  Granted, not every invention is going to succeed.  But InventionHome has laid the framework to get invention details into the hands of key decision makers at thousands of companies.  By developing streamlined processes both to share invention details, and also to assist companies with any interest inquiries, InventionHome has become a respected resources for companies seeking new products for license.

Call 1-866-844-6512 for information on licensing your invention for royalties!

 

For more information about Invention Home you can visit the following websites – http://twitter.com/inventionhome, http://inventionhome.blogspot.com/, http://mvelette.wordpress.com/, http://www.facebook.com/invention.home

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/inventionhome-launches-north-american-product-innovation-network-sm-99484469.html

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InventionHome is pleased to announce the successful completion of their 112th marketing/license agreement, 32 of which occurred in calendar year 2010 (as of September 30th).  An impressive tally of brokered deals.

 

InventionHome’s most recent licensing success is a product called CapTails™.  The patented device connects glasses (sunglasses, safety glasses, etc.) to a hat by means of stretchable and adjustable clips and a cord.  CapTailsTM allow the user to wear their eyewear on top of their cap and not have to worry about them falling off and getting lost or broken. Also when your glasses are on, your cap can not blow away.

The licensee of the clever device took interest in the product because of its simplicity and unique position in the market.  It will complement the rest of their product line nicely, and has already drawn the interest of a national retailer.  CapTailsTM should reach the retail market in early 2011.

Call 1-866-844-6512 for information on licensing your invention for royalties!

 

For more information about Invention Home you can visit the following websites – http://twitter.com/inventionhome, http://inventionhome.blogspot.com/, http://mvelette.wordpress.com/, http://www.facebook.com/invention.home

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/inventionhome-launches-north-american-product-innovation-network-sm-99484469.html

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