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Business idea: Slanket

Before there was snuggie, a college student started the blanket with sleeves called slanket. Here is his story….
(Article by Eleni Himaras)
A few years before Shawn Fanning sat in his Northeastern University dorm room creating Napster, the seed had been planted for another equally prolific invention at the University of Maine where Gary Clegg sat burrowed under a blanket watching late-night talk shows in 1997. The frigid freshman lamented his inability to change the channel from under his heavy blanket. He cut a hole in the blanket to solve the problem but then felt a chill in his arm. He and his roommate felt the glow of the proverbial light bulb — why not add sleeves? That Christmas, Clegg commissioned his mother to sew the prototype and his Slanket was born.
The Slanket spent its early years as a lone creation behind closed doors at Clegg’s home. But after graduation, he began giving them to people as gifts, who in turn wanted more to give to others and he decided to take the company commercial. The journalism and history double major had never planned a life in business, but the obvious potential for success was too strong to ignore.He said they began the patent process in 2003 and 2004, and TheSlanket.com went live in 2005. The young entrepreneurs learned early that this idea did not have the potential for lone success.

“It’s too ambiguous of a product — like shirts or socks,” Clegg said of why the Slanket isn’t patentable. “There are not enough working parts. We knew there were going to be knock-offs if we had success, that was a given.”

The Slanket found early Internet success, but he said it was when they took their creation to the trade show circuit that the business really took off. The exposure led to a deal with QVC, which inevitably led to more sleeved blankets, including the Snuggie. As strange as it is though, a sleeved blanket ranks pretty low on the oddity scale against these bizarre inventions. While Clegg’s idea was original to him, makers of The Freedom Blanket had already been selling a similar product on a very small scale out of their New Jersey home when he started his company, making him the second commercial vendor on the scene.

“I don’t really engage in that argument. There are billions of people on the planet and they are bound to come up with the same idea sometimes. The one thing we did was market it in a certain way that it gained notoriety and we built a successful business out of it,” Clegg said.Despite the soaring success of the Snuggie, Clegg doesn’t resent the company, acknowledging that the competition has helped his business. While he said sales have been steadily increasing since the company’s inception, this year saw a large jump, though he also credited that to his company’s international expansion.

“The competition, in the end, I think has helped us and there is a word for that in marketing — the conglomeration of scale,” he said. “There were negative aspects and positive aspects. And I think the positive outweigh the negative.”

More youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAZQ78oejTs

Article from: http://www.mainstreet.com/slideshow/small-business/secret-snuggies-success
website: http://www.theslanket.com/

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April 3, 2010 - Posted by | Business, invention, Life, Million dollars Idea, Millionaire, Television, Uncategorized, Youtube

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