Deluxe Sink Baby 2011

Next up in our series of interview with the Walmart’s Get on the Shelf contestants is with Patty Mueller, CEO President of Idea Factory, Inc. and the creator of the Rinse Ace Sink Baby Rinser.

What product did you submit to Walmart’s Get on the Shelf contest?

Rinse Ace® Sink Baby Rinser

Where’d the idea come from?

We have been selling Rinse Ace® Brand pet bathing products to US consumers and retailers for years so it was a logical line extension (after all, to some of us, pets are “our babies” J).

Patricia Mueller 2011 3x 5

What’s your background (and or day job)?

I have been CEO of Idea Factory, Inc. since its inception in 1994. Our first product was “discovered” by QVC during their 50 in 50 Tour in the summer of 1995. After the first 2 years on QVC with just our one patented product, we expanded distribution to catalogs and then retail stores. We were then successful in creating a line of patented showerheads and shower accessories before we ventured into pet bathing products.

What difficulties did you have creating the product?

The difficulty is not in “creating” a product, rather the difficulty is “getting on the shelf.” Vendor consolidation is happening at most US retailers so a small manufacturer with a single item has an incredible uphill battle. Getting an introductory meeting with a buyer and/or an invitation to a category line review (even with a proven, patented product) can take years. Also, unfortunately, some retail buyers have gotten “burned” in the past by a small manufacturer that was unable to manufacture and deliver a product on-time. As a result, it can be difficult for a small manufacturer to gain the trust of a buyer to “take a chance.”

Have you sold any? (or is the product currently for sale somewhere already?)

Yes. Available on our website

Do you have any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Where do I start (and end)!?

Coming up “the idea” is the easy part. Manufacturing may be just as easy (depending on the product). The marketing is the hard part! So my advice, 1. be patient — because it will take longer than you think and 2. be able to lose your start-up funding without compromising your life or relationships with those who are important to you – because it will cost more than what you have in your pockets or bank account today.

Their video is below and their GOTs link is

Good luck Patty! and the Idea Factory team!