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Hair Apparent

Thank heaven for little girls.

This story appears in the March 1999 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

Gary Kellmann, 29, got the entrepreneurial urge while in college, where he sold T-shirts, key chains and tomahawks fans could wave when the university team, the Indians, played. Those ventures paid off, but Kellmann wanted to put his creativity to use inventing and selling his own products. After a disappointing first invention--a radio-controlled alarm clock that cost him "tons of money"--the St. Charles, Missouri, inventor finally found success when he focused on just two markets: hair-care and body-wear products.

Kellmann came up with his second invention in 1994 while trying to help his girlfriend organize her barrettes, hair clips and assorted accessories. Just out of college at the time, Kellmann was broke, so for her birthday, he built an organizer for her hair accessories instead of buying one. The product had a big loop with an easy-open latch to hold big items; a smaller loop, also with a latch, hung inside the big loop and held smaller hair accessories. Kellmann's girlfriend loved the product, and so did everyone else who saw it.

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