5 Unique Product Inventions That Made Millions
We’re all creators at heart, whether it’s drawing on a napkin or a painting on a canvas. As humans, it is in our nature to want to invent things, for the simple reason to make our lives easier. These unique product inventions are an example of how just a simple idea can be turned into millions. Never underestimate your great invention ideas.
Unique Product Inventions That Literally Rock
First up we have, the Pet Rock. One of the five unique product inventions that made millions. Inventor Gary Dahl was working as an advertising executive in California when he thought up this unique product invention. He sold it to his consumers by marketing it as a pet that didn’t require the burden a pet owner usually takes on. He spoke about the inconveniences of living, breathing pets who required food, water, grooming, etc. This is one of the most unlikely but unique product inventions to make millions. Thankfully for his swift marketing skills, Dahl had the money rolling in.
Slap On One of These Unique Product Inventions
Few unique product inventions in the ’90s were like this Wisconsin school teacher’s Slap Bracelet. Stuart Anders came up with this popular child novelty in 1983, eventually partnering up with Main Street Toy, to sell his product. This simple bracelet, designed to snap onto your wrist was a hit among children. With his estimated revenue of $6-$8 Million, Anders retired and became the owner and lead designer of Allied Industries.
Unique Product Inventions Can Make a ‘Fortune’
One of the older unique product inventions in this article, inventor Albert Carter took this idea from his clairvoyant Mother back in the late 1940s. The Magic 8 Ball, a fortune-telling gadget for all. An interesting fact to note; the Magic 8 Ball used to be known as the Syco-Seer and was encased in a crystal ball. It’s intriguing to see how design changes throughout the product development process. Today the patent for the Magic 8 Ball is actually owned by toy giant manufacturers, Mattel.
Wearable Tech Inventor Makes Millions
Inventor and licensed psychologist Roger Adams daydreamed about the ability to shift his weight and just roll away. Thus he created the Heelys Shoes. Selling more than 1 million units in his first year, this unique product invention was no doubt a huge success for him. In 2010, he was ready to sell his $4.7M in shares and exit the company, for just over $10.6M. After previously selling other shares in 2006 for $41.2M. Not a bad way to leave a company, Roger.
Dollars Turns to Millions
The strangest product invention to make millions is The Spain brothers’ iconic yellow smiley face. They had originally seen Charlie Bell draw this for an insurance company in 1963. Bell had only been paid $45 for it and neither he nor the insurance company thought of patenting it. The Spain Brothers saw their chance and added the saying ‘Have a Happy Day’, patenting the sketch as their own. The famous yellow smiley was sold on buttons in the 60s and early 70s selling over 50 million units. The brothers kept their momentum going and opened the Dollar Express store being eventually bought out by Dollar Tree in 2000 for $500M.
What are your favourite consumer product inventions? Let us know in the comments below!
Article Author: MAKO Design + Invent
MAKO Design + Invent is a full-service consumer product development firm servicing both high-growth corporate manufacturers and invention startups. With a 25-person team across 3 offices (Austin, England, Toronto), MAKO has complete in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering design and prototyping services. To assist our start-up inventor clients, we also have a subsidiary branch called Mako Invent that, in addition to above, helps start-ups with patenting, strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. For our corporate clients, MAKO Design develops world-class consumer electronics designs through our industrial, mechanical, and electrical design teams.
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