Get Noticed

A Unique Insect Repellant Product

After selling the business, Albert took a couple of years off and moved to San Diego, where he started reading about the dangerous side effects of many insect repellents. "My friend Joe Panzitta had a similar interest in chemistry, and was working on a new, natural insect repellent," says Albert. "Together, we finalized the product."

Albert sensed that the product's exotic ingredients would spark people's curiosity. "It's made with Indonesian lemon-grass oil, Philippine geranium oil and good old North American citronella oil," he explains.

But he also realized that he faced two obstacles: people didn't want sticky insect-repellent oil on their skin, and any lotion, even one with great ingredients, would have trouble standing out in the marketplace. "I was trying to think of a new way to package the product when I learned some plastics could soak up fragrances." he says. "That's how I came up with the Bug Button, which is a plastic button that people could wear right on their clothes." The Bug Button boasted a few major advantages: It smells nice, doesn't touch the skin and is reusable.

Thanks to a great name and a distinctive delivery system, the product caught people's eyes. Albert sold about 20 million Bug Buttons in this product's first two years at an average retail price of about $1 each. Some of Albert's major retailers have been Canadian Tire, Grand Union, K-Mart, Meyer's, Rite-Aid Drug Stores and Walgreens.

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This article was originally published in the August 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Get Noticed.

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