Tuesday, April 24, 2001
than just bristles on a stick
By Mya Frazier
Plain Dealer Reporter
It sounds a bit hokey, but it just might make sense for a new Cleveland
marketing tag line - Visit Cleveland: the nation's capital of toothbrush
remember the spin brush, right? The low-cost battery-powered toothbrush
that debuted in late 1999, developed by Dr. Johns Products Ltd.
of Bedford Heights. The spinning toothbrush quickly became the best-selling
individual toothbrush in the country before being bought out by
consumer products giant Procter & Gamble for an undisclosed amount.
Most likely, Dr. Johns investors and owners walked away either millionaires
or close to it.
to hit store shelves; the Giggle Brush, which (you guessed it) makes
a giggle-like noise when moved back and forth, and the PopOut toothbrush,
which uses a plunging device to cover the bristles with a movable
shark or a dolphin figurine when not in use. Both retail for $2.99.
Marketing Inc., a Cleveland-based youth marketing firm, got the
Giggle Brush idea from one of its 14 free-lance inventors.
a long time, toothbrushes were just bristles on a stick," said Bruce
Good, owner of Good Marketing Inc. "Kids just didn't want to brush.
This teaches good oral care."
undergoing the development and design stages, Good Marketing then
licensed the manufacturing and distribution to Kabam Products LLC,
a one-man firm based in Warrensville Heights. Jay Pearlman, owner
of Kabam, also invented the PopOut toothbrush. Kabam is handling
manufacturing and distributing for both products.
have no emotional attachment to anything,"
Pearlman said. "The goal is to build it, sell it and start something
29, hails from Cap Toys (maker of Spin Pops, lollipops that spin
around at the touch of a button), where he worked as director of
sales before the company was sold to Hasbro Inc. in 1997.
thinks he can spot a market winner. After all, his father, Alan
Pearlman, was one of the original investors in the spin brush and
walked away with some of the buyout money. "This is a toy, but it
offers a parent a positive reinforcement for the child. They are
buying something that's good for the child," Pearlman said.
the typical scene: screaming, whining, heartfelt pleas, candy-laden
bribes. It's nothing other than tooth-brushing time with your toddler.
And it all seems like so much frustration. But to Pearlman, it all
seems like an ideal moment for profit.
fact, the whole field of health and beauty products seems like a
gold mine to Pearlman. His vision for Kabam is to apply toy concepts
to other products, such as soap, toothpaste and shampoo.
companies rely on small companies for innovative products, and then
they go out and acquire those companies," Pearlman said.