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If you can handle it, Wal-Mart's panel of experts will tell you how good your invention really is.
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When Jason Clute, 42, came up with his big idea in 1992-a devicefor propping up a sleeping baby-he never imagined the product wouldone day hit the shelves of Toys "R" Us and Wal-Mart."I was making the product for my friends," he says."I thought it would end at that, but they all encouraged me totry to put the 'Prop-A-Bye Baby' on the market."
Still undecided on what to do, Clute found his answer when afriend mentioned the Wal-Mart Innovation Network (WIN), whichevaluates new ideas. "I wasn't sure what to do," hesays. "But when I heard the evaluation was only $150, I said" 'What the heck, I'm going to give it a try.'" After all, my friends were all telling me I had a greatidea." So Clute submitted the invention-and learned the idearanked in the top 15 percent of all ideas submitted. It turned outto be all the encouragement Clute needed: In 1992, he launched DEXProducts and introduced the Prop-A-Bye Baby. Clute sold $3 millionworth of products last year, and today, DEX Products has annualsales of $20 million.
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