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July 28, 2014

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Before you see them on TV, TeleBrands hears product pitches at Inventors Day

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April Corbin

On Sept. 12, inventors from across the country attended Inventors Day, where they could pitch potential infomercial products to TeleBrands CEO and founder AJ Kubani.

The inventors of Shirt Stick and Curl-Eze hope they’ll be as successful as the developers of ShamWows and Snuggies.

Those inexpensive “As Seen on TV” products, offering solutions to everyday problems that you never knew you had, can bring companies millions of dollars in profit. Just ask infomercial king A.J. Kubani. His company, TeleBrands, is responsible for products such as the Ped Egg, a foot file for removing calluses and dead skin; the One Second Needle, a needle with a built-in threader, and Pasta Boat, a microwaveable pot made for cooking and serving.

Although other recession-challenged companies have scaled back, direct marketing on TV is thriving as customers seek affordable, time-saving gadgets, Kubani says. TeleBrands is launching one new product a month and testing 100 others. The low price point, along with the promises of saving money and time, keep the products interesting to potential buyers, even when many are tightening their budgets.

To come up with products like the Jupiter Jack for hands-free cell phone use, or the swiveling Windshield Wonder, Kubani relies on both his TeleBrands team and outside submissions from professional and amateur inventors alike. Inspired by “American Idol,” Kubani created Inventors Day, when individuals could give 5-minute pitches on their inventions to the TeleBrands team for a shot at a licensing agreement.

Here are some inventors who gathered this week at Encore. Let’s see what we can’t live without.

    • Inventors
      Photo by April Corbin

      Liberty Hanger

      Pitcher: Marie Lugo, for her boyfriend Adrian Dy, who is enlisted in the Navy

      What it is: A wood hanger with a hook jutting from the front, allowing for easy hanging of a hat. Keeps entire uniform together, perfect for the 5.3 million people estimated by Lugo and Dy to wear uniforms, in the military and other organizations.

      Judges’ reaction: “My initial thought is that, at 5.3 million people, the market isn’t large enough for our type of marketing.”

      Miscellaneous: Lugo has never considered herself an inventor, but after supporting Dy and checking out the Inventors Day, she says she’s come up with her own brilliant idea. “I can’t wait to work on it,” she says.

    • Inventors
      Photo by April Corbin

      Curl-Eze

      Pitcher: Debra Weisser, who helps husband with his self-owned business in Tampa, Fla.

      What it is: Heated hair curlers that use individual heat packs placed inside the curlers instead of traditional curling irons that require cords and electricity. Intended for women traveling.

      Judges’ reaction: “I ski, so I know these heat packs well, and Procter & Gamble uses these for its ThermaCare. This might be the next great product< after that.”

      Miscellaneous: The Curl-Ez system isn’t Weisser’s first foray into inventions. She also created Hem-Eze, a double-sided strip that allows women to temporarily and quickly change the hem of their pants, allowing them to “wear high heels this morning and sandals tonight.”

    • Inventors
      Photo by April Corbin

      Headache Relief System

      Pitcher: Dr. Morton Hyson, a Las Vegas neurologist

      What it is: Individual packets of a topical analgesic meant to soothe migraines, paired with an eye mask that blocks the eyes from light and rests on forehead, providing pressure to aching temples.

      Judges’ reaction: “This is like Head On.” “I would be worried about FDA claim issues.”

      Miscellaneous: Hyson sells his headache solution through his private practice, as well as at all Caesars Entertainment spas. The packages for the latter product include the advertisement “hangover cure.”

    • Inventors
      Photo by April Corbin

      Shirt Stick

      Pitcher: Spencer Adams, a software salesman from San Francisco.

      What it is: A disposable, one-time “shirt stiffener,” which attaches to the inside of men’s or women’s shirt necklines and stops the collars from slipping, creating “a perfect neckline every time!”

      Judges’ reaction: “If the number of collared shirts out there are any indication, this is a very good idea.”

      Miscellaneous: Adams knows the inventor of a TeleBrands product called the Happy Hot Dog Man, which quickly allows you to slice a standard hot dog into a manlike creature you can feed to your children.

    • Inventors
      Photo by April Corbin

      My Pillow Ambient Sound

      Pitcher: Michael Carter, a Los Angeles water-utility worker.

      What it is: A speaker that you place beneath your pillow and connect to an iPod, cellphone or other music-playing device, using a 4-foot cord. When the consumer lies down, she should be able to hear the music but the person lying next to her will not. There is also a related app.

      Judges reaction: “Not a bad concept but the execution might have flaws.” “I’m worried about kids getting choked on the cord in the middle of the night.”

      Miscellaneous: Carter came up with the idea of My Pillow Ambient Sound while in the hospital. “I realized I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life working for someone else and not being happy. You have to make your own way.”

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