I just got back last week from speaking at the ASD international retail conference in Vegas. The speech was on using innovation for competitive advantage. I was happy to see such a good turn out, not just for my speech, but for the whole conference.
ASD is a consumer goods trade show, which is actually 6 shows in 1. Gift, fashion, jewelry, health, beauty, and toys/novelty. It was a huge gathering of manufacturers from around the world and was hard to take in the whole show in one day. It wasn’t all work and no play. The first night was a rockin’ 80’s party hosted by 80’s pop star Debbie Gibson.
What surprised me as I walked the show was the number of products that have been on the market for years that I’ve never heard of. Like the all natural, non toxic insect repelling Bug Button and Super Band. Or the Chillit Bags beverage coolers.
Then there were the new products like Kisstixx. Dallas Robinson and Mike Buonomo were big winners on Shark Tank when one of the sharks, Mark Cuban, took a liking to their products and made them partners. Kisstixx is a great example of putting a new twist on an old idea, chap stick. The idea is that a chemical reaction is created from two different flavors when 2 people kiss. Their new product is just as cool…breath spray that does the same thing. Even without the kissing partner, their chap stick is the best I’ve ever tried. I met them at their booth at the show and they are genuinely nice, down to earth guys. I wish them the best.
The point I’d like to make is that anyone can be a product entrepreneur. I guess I’m a little biased, since that was my first business. But a product entrepreneur can stand to make a great living, just with one product. I’ve been doing it for years, as have many of the manufacturers at the show. The thing we all have in common is that they were just simple ideas that anyone could have thought of.
A product based business takes more money upfront than a service business, but most of the product entrepreneurs I know bootstrapped them in the beginning. In the next post I’ll talk about how you can get started with a simple prototype. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll see you on an episode of Shark Tank.