Diary of a Young Entrepreneur – patience is a virtue!

In the seventh of her monthly blog posts young entrepreneur and inventor Rowena Mead stays patient, has encouraging discussions with multi-nationals and answers some questions.
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Hello again, apologies for my delayed posting, …

By
25th January 2008 at 12:56 pm

In the seventh of her monthly blog posts young entrepreneur and inventor Rowena Mead stays patient, has encouraging discussions with multi-nationals and answers some questions.

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Hello again, apologies for my delayed posting, but I’ve been waiting tentatively for quite some time for the results of my meetings with several big multi-nationals. I’ve also been waiting on the elusive ‘patent search report’, which to all inventors out there, is like waiting for exam results.

Every day you check your post, half hoping to see the UK IPO stamp, but feeling quite relieved when another week passes by and there is no news. The patent search report is the nasty little document that the examiner sends you after scrutinising your patent application inside out. This involves he or she digging around in patents from every decade, and even century, to find any previous citations that may put your patent application into jeopardy. So as you can well imagine, it’s a pretty stressful time!

The meetings with the multinationals have gone very well, I’m forbidden by NDA’s to speak any names, but both the brand managers and new product scouts have been thoroughly impressed by the product concepts I have presented, and I still have further meetings scheduled in case any existing talks fall through.

As the weeks have gone by more and more people have said to me ‘Why don’t you try Dragon’s Den?’. To anyone else out there asking the same question, my answer is simple. None of the dragons, to my knowledge, have any leads into oral hygiene companies. And even if they do, the dragons, in comparison to a multi-national company with its own new product agenda, is unlikely to change its direction because of their involvement. The company either likes the product, or it doesn’t. The dragons are about starting new business or helping existing ones, not about helping an inventor gain a license deal. Don’t get me wrong, I have utmost respect for them all, and thoroughly enjoy watching what they do, but I don’t believe the den is right for me.

Another question that keeps being put to me by a few people, including the MD of a company who called after he saw me on TV, is ‘Why aren’t you trying to sell the product direct to the retailers?’. I seem to have to keep explaining this over and over again. If you have a working prototype of something, it would be quite easy to do this. But I don’t. I have a display model. The product needs input from a skilled toothbrush engineer before the final toothbrush is ready – and this input can really only come from those companies which already make toothbrushes, those which have the teams, and money, to safety test, market, brand and sell this product.

The ultimate aim is to have every parent in the UK, and hopefully further afield buying my toothbrush for their infant. This isn’t something that one person with very little money, and no experience in the oral care field, would be able to achieve. So let’s hope my efforts over the past 11 months pay off, but for now, goodbye and good luck to anyone else attempting to tread this path.

Rowena Mead

Rowena Mead is a freelance copywriter and entrepreneur with ambitious plans to bring a new type of children's toothbrush to market. Married with a 20 month old mischievous daughter named Saskia who was the inspiration behind her invention, Rowena shares her business trials, tribulations and successes with SmallBizPod readers. http://www.subservientcopy.com

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  1. Joanna says:

    Rowena – your search for a multinational to work with to develop your product brought to mind the P&G Open Innovation Challenge that NESTA is running at the moment: http://www.nesta.org.uk/programmes/connect/COI_challenge.aspx

  2. Cally Robson says:

    I know it’s been a while since you posted. Don’t give up! There are many more ways to skin a cat, or get a toothbrush made. Get in touch!

    Cally Robson
    Founder, Invention Intelligence

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