Make 'Em Talk

Jump-start sales the simple way—with endorsements.

Daniel Henry, 37, has what most would consider a perfect product: a kit that can fix damaged CDs in less than one minute. Wipe Out!, Henry's CD repair kit, costs $14.99 and works on 40 CDs, saving consumers anywhere from $12.95 for new music CDs to $100 for high-end computer programs. Since CDs are made from a plastic that's easily scratched, Wipe Out! seemed primed to take off in the market. But overnight success didn't develop when the product was introduced in 1996.

Henry's Esprit Development Corp., based in Long Beach, California, was finally able to push its sales over $400,000 in 1999. The turnaround: Henry lifted sales with a private-label agreement with Radio-Shack, as well as a presence in major retail outlets like Borders Books, Sam Goody and Tower Records. This year, the company is finally gaining the momentum Henry originally expected. What turned the company into a budding success? Raving testimonials in dozens of magazines declaring Wipe Out! as technology's latest miracle product.

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This article was originally published in the September 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Make 'Em Talk.

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