Hello to you, you, you, you, and you (I assume only 5 people will ever read this blog)!
My top 10 super duper products from last week were:
- An artificial tree that converts into a New Year's Eve ball drop
- A scarf with a built-in drink bladder
- A champagne bottle that shoots confetti when you pop the cork
- Pet rental
- Inter-generational parties
- A gym segregated by experience level
- A temporary gym operating for those who make fitness-related New Year's resolutions
- A party popper that can be filled by the consumer
- A party popper triggered by "whipping" the string
- A party popper with a loop on the string for easier use
After conducting market research with a survey that asked the participant whether they would buy each product and, if yes, how much they would pay for it, I narrowed the list to the 5 top products (those with the most "yeses"). Data based upon 33 participants.
- Confetti champagne bottle - 61%
- Consumer-filled popper - 61%
- Pets for rent - 55%
- Party popper with loop - 41%
- Xmas tree/ball drop - 41%
Based upon feedback from the survey, I would a) make sure the scarf doesn't get too heavy when filled with liquid and b) make sure that the pet rental includes an option to adopt.
Next, I searched for similar products to find out if my new products are actually new.
1) Confetti Champagne Bottle
My research did not reveal any real champagne bottles that include both alcohol and confetti. One of my survey respondents mentioned that her night club gets $2000 for a bottle of champagne with sparklers, so it certainly seems believable that there is a demand for novelty champagne bottles. I decided to just compare current bottle-shaped popper novelties.
Patent: Confetti Projector
A patent for a device that projects confetti with compressed air. The trigger mechanism is very different from a cork being popped, but the principles are the same.
2) Consumer-Filled Popper
I was unable to find any products that allow a user to fill their own popper, or even choose from a variety of items. A piñata is the closest parallel I can think of for the user-customizable aspect. There is surprisingly little variation/innovation in the piñata field, although there are "pull piñatas" which are opened by pulling a streamer rather than hitting with a stick.
Patent: T-Shirt Cannon
I think a t-shirt cannon is a technical parallel to what I'm trying to make. This one uses cartridges rather than loose material, but it's the only one I could find in my Google search.
3) Pets For Rent
Pet rental services do exist in different places around the world. The most prominent in the U.S. seems to be Hannah, a service in which the consumer keeps the animal as if they owned it, but Hannah provides supplies and medical care for a monthly fee. A different pet rental service that tried to open in Boston was actually stopped by a new city ordinance banning pet rentals. I ultimately could only find enough info on two services: Hannah and Humane Society adoptions. Neither are the short-term rentals envisioned by my new product, but they are similar. Hannah is quite expensive and would cost thousands over the lifetime of a dog, while the Humane Society (or other shelters) offer far fewer services in exchange for a much lower cost.
Patent: Animal Registry System and Method
A centralized electronic system for storing animal registry information, to be called up automatically in case of any action involving the registered animal. I couldn't find anything directly related to rental, but this is close.
4) Party Popper With Loop
There are a few different activation mechanisms in use in poppers: the pull string, the twist, and the trigger. In large cannon devices, the twist is most common, but also very difficult to use. String pulls are by far the cheapest - 144 can be had for $14. Triggers are much more expensive than string pulls - about $1 per unit, and more for a reusable unit.
Patent: Confetti Dispersion Device
A patent for a confetti dispersion device (read: party popper) triggered by a pull string.
5) Xmas Tree + Ball Drop
There are, unsurprisingly, no tree/ball drop combos. More interestingly, there don't seem to be any ball drop products on the market.
Patent: Christmas Tree with Lamps
I tried looking for "ball-droping" mechanisms, but I really didn't know what I was reading on any of the patents I found, so I went with a simpler item - a lighted, artificial tree. This patent seems to relate to a novel method of joining/assembling the sections of the tree.
Confetti champagne bottle
My biggest concern here is ensuring that the ejected material a) actually pops out of the bottle in a satisfying manner and b) doesn't detract from the champagne-drinking experience. Nobody wants confetti in their champagne (unless it is altered to be beneficial/tolerable in a drink). Based on wholesale prices of $2.20 for a glass bottle, I estimate the cost for a bottle to be roughly 50 cents. Add in the low cost of a popper and this should cost around 55 cents.
My biggest concern for this is ensuring that being filled by the consumer doesn't decrease the popper's quality. The popper would have to be made in such a way as to minimize the risk of operator error. The cost of this popper would depend heavily on size. I estimate a popper would cost 10 cents or less for units slightly larger than the classic popper based on pricing for those.
Pets for rent
My biggest concern is the animal rights angle. I know from my research that pet rental has been controversial, so this would have to be executed carefully and thoughtfully. This one is hard to price. At a minimum, the annual cost of ownership for a medium-sized dog is roughly $700. Including one-time costs, the first-year cost is close to $1500. If a dog is rented out 1000 hours in a year, it costs roughly $1.50 per hour in the first year.
Party popper with loop
My biggest concern is packaging - how does the loop fit with the popper shape to make it compact? A popper identical to the classic popper besides the loop should cost perhaps 5 cents based on pricing for those units.
Xmas tree + ball drop
My biggest concern is construction - how do you make a ball drop mechanism that can work on a "trunk" that has to be easily assembled and disassembled? This is a doozy to estimate costs on. Using the 10% cost estimate, a 7', pre-lit tree costs around $8 to manufacture. Using the same method, a disco ball (similar to what might be used) costs around $2. Including complications and mechanics, I would estimate the costs to be $15 for this tree + ball drop.