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If it's not distinctive, it won't sell.

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This story appears in the August 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Rob Albert sold $46 million worth of products in 1999 and expects to sell $120 million this year. He's also gotten five products onto the shelves of major retailers.without spending a dime on advertising. How has Albert, 34, accomplished every inventor's dream? By building his San Diego-based company, Evergreen Research and Marketing LLC, on one simple premise: Small manufacturers' products need a little something extra to stand out among the competition.

This premise has proved good as gold since Albert started his first business in 1989, selling horse shampoo with his brothers to feed and tack stores. Albert visited stores throughout Florida and was struggling to get sales when he learned some people were using the horse shampoo on their own tangled hair. When Albert realized that a shampoo that could detangle a horse's mane could certainly detangle even the gnarliest human hair, fireworks went off in his head. Within two years, more than 450 newspaper articles were published on the Horse Shampoo. Albert sold over $30 million of product, mostly in major retail stores, before selling the company in 1994.

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