Innovative Product Technologies. Inc. for Inventors trying to break into the invention world
Inventors, Inventions, Inventing Resource News Articles
the Official Invention web site for inventors
Information on Trademarks patents copyrights and more
 
 
 
ITCH TO HELP BABIES PROMPTED CREAM
Orlando Sentinel; Orlando, Fla.; Feb 28, 1993; Jane Applegate;

Abstract:
Convinced she had a real cure for diaper rash, Benford said she contacted several major pharmaceutical companies to share her findings. When no one responded, she turned to Ron Holliday, a marketing consultant, former president of Johnson & Johnson Ltd., J&J's Canadian division. Holliday, who helped create the Interplak electric toothbrush, still consults to J&J through his Strategy Research company in, Moorestown, N.J.

Full Text:
(Copyright 1993)

Jane Applegate is a syndicated columnist from Sun Valley, Calif. Send letters and column ideas to Jane Applegate, P.O. Box 637, Sun Valley, Calif., 91353.

Desperate to soothe her daughter Erika's severe diaper rash, Sue Benford tried every over-the-counter cream and prescription medicine she could find. When nothing helped, a friend suggested she try Bag Balm, used by farmers on cow udders. It didn't stay on too well, but it definitely helped.

Benford, a pediatric nurse and maternal health expert from Dublin, Ohio, was intrigued by the results. She began experimenting with the veterinary product, adding a few ingredients to improve the consistency. She contacted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to obtain government guidelines for over-the-counter diaper rash creams. She realized she was on to something and that something became Bottom Better.

"I probably never would have done this if I had known more," said Benford, who borrowed $50,000 from friends, family and $30,000 from a bank to develop, patent and market Bottom Better. InnoVisions, based in Dublin, Ohio, posted $120,000 in sales last year.

Although Benford's company is the smallest player in the $70 million-a-year U.S. market for diaper rash treatments, she is convinced that once parents try Bottom Better, they'll never go back to Desitin and A&D Ointment.

Anxious to expand, in September, Benford merged her company into Vocaltech, a small public company that sells a device to help stutterers.

"Sue has a lot of strength in operations; she's very creative and disciplined," said Richard Melnick, an entrepreneur and venture capitalist who put the two companies together. He handles the financial and strategic planning aspects of the combined company, which they renamed InnoTek and moved to Dublin, Ohio. The company's stock is traded on the Electronic Bulletin Board under the symbol VCTH.

Melnick, who has helped companies bring about 10 health-care products to market, said people who try Benford's skin care formulas are astonished at how well they work.

"One investment banker we are dealing with had a fungus on his toe for 10 years," Melnick said. "He put some Bottom Better on his toe, and the fungus was gone the next day."

So, what's the secret formula?

Bottom Better contains readily available anti-bacterial and anti-fungal ingredients that have been approved by the FDA for use on skin.

While most diaper rash ointments provide a protective barrier, they don't combat the intestinal bacteria and fungus that cause painful rashes.

"Oral antibiotics are the No. 1 prescription written for children under 2, and oral antibiotics are the No. 1 cause of diaper rash," Benford said.

Convinced she had a real cure for diaper rash, Benford said she contacted several major pharmaceutical companies to share her findings. When no one responded, she turned to Ron Holliday, a marketing consultant, former president of Johnson & Johnson Ltd., J&J's Canadian division. Holliday, who helped create the Interplak electric toothbrush, still consults to J&J through his Strategy Research company in, Moorestown, N.J.

"When I first met Sue in her kitchen, I thought, 'what a challenge this is going to be,' " Holliday said. "But she's quite remarkable. She has all the right characteristics for an entrepreneur."

Holliday said Benford's biggest problem is raising money to grow the company. He's confident she'll succeed, though. "It's a remarkable product," he said. "It cures everything from athlete's foot to jock itch."

Benford also sells an adult version of the product, called DermaMend, developed to treat bedsores and other skin conditions.

Meanwhile, Ohio pediatricians and a team from Ohio State University have been testing Bottom Better. One clinical study found that 76 percent of the infants using Bottom Better showed improvement, compared with only 11.8 percent improvement for those infants using the other brands.

Although she can prove Bottom Better works, it's tough to compete with pharmaceutical giants.

"These big companies we're competing against have millions and millions of dollars to spend in a relatively small market," Benford said.

With her shoestring budget, Benford is doing what she can to encourage parents to try Bottom Better. A recent promotion in American Baby magazine is bringing in about 400 requests a day for free samples.

"I'm really in the business to make sure something can help children," Benford said. "And, I'm tired of consumer products that don't do anything."

Right now, her toughest challenge is getting Bottom Better into stores across the country. It's available in drugstores in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee and North Carolina.

Another challenge is price: Desitin retails for $2 to $4 a tube. In comparison, 18 single-use packets of Bottom Better have a suggested retail price of $9.49.

Erika Benford, now 4 years old, still uses Bottom Better. And, Erika's picture appears on the box.

"Probably, a lot of times I should have just quit," said Benford.

But she is not a quitter. In fact, she is a world champion weight lifter in the power lifting event and has broken 30 world records in the 97-pound class. She once dead-lifted 338-pounds.

"The reason I'm in this business is to tell people they have a choice now."

BRIEFLY . . .

Call For Action, a not-for-profit consumer advocacy group, and AT&T are offering a free booklet: Scams, Schemes and Deceptive Offers: How Small Businesses Can Survive the Great American Rip-off. The illustrated booklet describes a variety of frauds perpetuated on business owners. For a copy, send your request with a business size, self-addressed envelope with 29 cents postage to: Call For Action, 3400 Idaho Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20016.

From the Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida: The odds against an innovation becoming a commercial success are 99 to 1, even though small entrepreneurs outinvent their larger counterparts by more than 2 to 1. Not only do they produce more innovations, but small businesses commercialize these products in less time than large firms. However, for every successful innovation, there are 99 failures. The Florida Product Innovation Center gives entrepreneurs and inventors the knowledge necessary to beat the odds.

FPIC, headed by Pamela Riddle, is one of a handful of publicly funded innovation centers in the United States designed to assist in innovation development. Funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration through the Small Business Development Center Network, FPIC assists the entrepreneur in evaluating the likelihood for success of an idea before that inventor commits significant time and money to a full-scale marketing effort. The center's primary thrust is to support statewide efforts in innovation through individual consultation, group training and innovation dissemination.

Riddle offers workshops on the basics of product innovation throughout the state. Issues covered in the workshops include evaluating ideas, protecting innovation and how to get products to the marketplace. The next Orlando workshop will be March 18. For more information on FPIC or to register for the program call the UCF Small Business Development Center at (407) 823-5554.

Sub Title:
     [3 STAR Edition]
Column Name:
     SMALL BUSINESS
Start Page:
     F7
Personal Names:
     Applegate, Jane
     Benford, Sue
     Melnick, Richard
     Holliday, Ron
     Benford, Erika

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner.

 
We help inventors get their inventions seen, protected and marketed

East Coast Location
The Executive Center 4131 NW 13th Street
Suite 220, Gainesville, FL 32609 USA
Phone: (352) 373-1007 | FAX: (352) 337-0750
Northwest Location
Box 817 Glengary Bay Road
Sandpoint, Idaho 83864 USA
Phone: (208) 265-5938 | FAX: (208) 265-4482

Copyright © 2012 All rights reserved .

Inventor information resource