Top Trending: Closing the Deal: 6 Savvy Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets

By Gum!

...it is possible to beat everyone--even big companies--to market, as this entrepreneur found out.
  • ---Shares
This story appears in the November 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »
Reader Resource

Apply now to be an Entrepreneur 360™ company. Let us tell the world your success story. Get Started »

When U.S. newspapers mentioned that Singapore would lift its ban on chewing gum at the start of 2004, most readers probably let it register for two seconds before moving on to the funnies.

But Art Baer thought "There has to be a market here." Baer, 26, knew if he was going to move beyond the daydreaming stage, he had to move fast. He had a background on Wall Street, but this was his first crack at becoming an entrepreneur-and in an foreign land, no less. Investing $20,000 of his own money into Impress Gum, Baer quit his job, flew to Singapore several times, talked to the right people in the government, lined up a manufacturer, and hired a marketing firm to promote his gum, which fights tooth decay.

Because Singapore wants residents to chew for medicinal purposes instead of for fun, Impress Gum is primarily sold in pharmacies, and residents who want to buy a pack must first sign paperwork at the pharmacies. By the end of the year, Santa Barbara, California-based Impress Gum will have brought in at least $350,000 in revenue.

If Baer had an edge over established gum manufacturers, it was his inexperience. "There were a lot of requirements on what ingredients the gum had to include, and no [existing] gum would have qualified," explains Baer, who gave his contract manufacturer an outline of the ingredients his gum would need-and got Impress Gum into stores six weeks before his biggest competitor, Wrigley's. Even now, Impress Gum has about 40 percent of Singapore's gum market.

Being thousands of miles away from his brand can make for a sticky situation, says Baer, "but I touch base with my sales and marketing firm through e-mail and phone." E-mail is easiest: "It's a 15-hour time difference from Singapore to California," he says. "I've had a lot of late-night phone calls."

Edition: May 2017

Get the Magazine

Limited-Time Offer: 1 Year Print + Digital Edition and 2 Gifts only $9.99
Subscribe Now
OK

This website uses cookies to allow us to see how our website and related online services are being used. By continuing to use this website, you consent to our cookie collection. More information about how we collect cookies is found here.