You've probably never heard of Rachel Taylor. But it won't be long before you can turn on the TV and hear hard-sell pitches – again and again – to buy the one-size-fits-all hair clip she invented.
Taylor is a rare winner in a world of inventors bedeviled by losers. She recently earned a much sought after chance to strike it rich, thanks to a demonstration she gave for the right set of eyes.
At a recent Friday for direct-response kingpin TeleBrands' monthly inventor's casting call, Taylor was one of some 50 inventors who sweated, squirmed and stuttered their way through product pitches they hoped would dazzle CEO A.J. Khubani.
During a long day at TeleBrands' headquarters in this suburban office park, the competition is intense. Each inventor has but a few moments in front of Khubani to land the sale of a lifetime. On the line: the potential to leap from inventor wannabe to serious player in the $170 billion direct-response industry. A nod from TeleBrands means a negotiated share of sales through royalties that can make an inventor wealthy.
Taylor, dressed in bright pink, coolly demonstrates – on an assistant and on several other women, including Khubani's wife, Poonam, – how her Clever Clip works on hair of any length or thickness. As she drove back to Baltimore, several hours after her pitch, her cellphone rang with Khubani's thumbs-up call.
Photo by Clever Clip.