Tag Along to an Invention Trade Show

Getting Down to Business
By the last day of the four-day event, Christy looks stunned. Her Electronic Retail Association presentation went well, and she's been invited to the group's trade show if she'd like to go, which seems a given-though she may have found something more promising. She has met a man named Al Kaplan, the owner of a quilting company in White Plains, New York. His business manufactures items such as baby receiving blankets. He's very interested in developing the Sippy Leash. Since it's made of fabric, it seems a natural way to continue his company's evolution.

Christy has also had a meeting with Richard Blank and Robert Greener, the CEO and president, respectively, of New York City-based R&R Licensing Ltd. Both men are also partners in New York City law firm Greener & Blank LLP. These amiable, confident men in suits seem impressed with Christy's invention.

"We've done bottles, rattles, spoons," says Blank when telling her about their licensing law firm.

Greener excitedly points out that they could sell Sippy Leashes at a premium if they license cartoon characters on them--say, Bob the Builder or Dora the Explorer.

It's clear they're interested, because after several minutes, they politely ask me if there's something else I could be doing somewhere else. They want to talk to Christy about their fees. Later, Christy returns to her booth. She looks sober. Attorneys don't come cheap. She's skeptical that she and Dearing will retain Blank and Greener.

Christy also misses her family. "I'm so ready to go home," she says. "I called my husband, and he was making breakfast for the kids." But there's another reason she wants to return home: She needs to process her experiences and her paperwork to sift through the good leads and the dead ends. She feels Sippy Leash is destined for success, and she must plan out her next steps toward taking her product in the right direction.

Next: »

Geoff Williams has written for numerous publications, including Entrepreneur, Consumer Reports, LIFE and Entertainment Weekly. He also is the author of Living Well with Bad Credit.

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This article was originally published in the May 2006 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Mother of Invention.

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