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Lighting the Way In the dark because your oddball product doesn't fit with buyers? There <I>is</I> success at the end of the tunnel.

By Don Debelak

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Makers of truly novel products are sometimes shocked to discover that just because retail buyers love an invention doesn't mean they'll actually stock it. But in reality, inventors often don't make sales because buyers don't know where to put novel products on the shelves. Buyers are perplexed when products don't fit into a product category, because most retail stores are split into well-defined areas. But inventors shouldn't get discouraged, especially because retail customers do want new and unusual products. If you keep pushing, you'll connect with a buyer or distributor who knows where to put the product so it sells.

First Steps

Carl Vanderschuit is the inventor of Litecubes, freezable cubes with an enclosed LED light and battery that can be dropped into a drink for a little light show. Vanderschuit came up with the idea in 1996. "I was fooling around with some LED lights on Halloween night," remembers Vanderschuit, 44. "I noticed the glow of light from behind my drink and said 'Eureka!' "

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