What: Comfort fleece
blankets, bears, chocolates and other novelty gifts
Who: David Avalos of INsecurity Blanket
Where: Burbank, California
When: Started in 2001
Adults need security blankets, too--just ask David Avalos, the 46-year-old designer of the INsecurity Blanket, a snuggly fleece blanket created to help people take a lighthearted approach when facing their insecurities.
The idea struck when he noticed how much comfort a blanket gave his 3-year-old son. Avalos suddenly started wishing he had something as simple as a blanket to comfort him whenever he hit rough times.
With no experience in the manufacturing industry, the former TV executive and current co-owner of a TV production company decided to design a full line of novelty gifts such as blankets, pillows, bears and chocolates (sold for $24.95, $14.95, $11.95 and $5.95, respectively). Before long, Avalos was attending gift shows across the country, and his products were an instant hit. The line is now available in 175 gift and pet stores (a pet blanket was released last year), as well as in two mail-order catalogs and on the company's Web site (www.insecurityblanket.com). The products have also been popular at hospital gift shops.
"I've found my passion, and that's just creating my own path," says Avalos. By putting the marketing skills he learned in the TV industry to use in his new business, he managed to generate national press coverage in Parenting magazine and on The Rosie O'Donnell Show and Extra. In addition, INsecurity was featured on About.com.
Now that sales for 2003 are projected to hit $60,000, Avalos has set his sights on developing new products, including INsecurity slippers, nightlights, pajamas and even a book.