Sunday, October 11


Tonight was another meeting with fellow inventors and entrepreneurs in Suffolk County.  Basically, a few weeks ago I look up groups of similar interest on that were in the Long Island area that I could network with.  I cannot express enough how important it is to put yourself around people with the same goals and level of ambition as you that are willing, in fact, are delighted to help you as much as they can.  In other words, if you want to become a better soccer player you don’t hang out with the swim team.  Tonight was no shortage of inspirational people bringing their ideas and products to the table, along with a guest speaker from Dart manufacturing, a custom manufacturing company, here in L.I.    What I got out of tonight’s meeting was the importance of learning the lingo in whatever industry you find yourself in.  For example, when the time comes for you to inquire about MOQ’s (Minimum Order Quantities) it sends a message manufacturer’s that you’re in the game.  It’s amazing how people or companies treat you a little differently when they see you have some industry knowledge.  It really shows you have been doing your homework and, in a way, it is a testament to how much you respect their field of work.  

Sunday, September 20

WEEK 9 – Your Product, Your Problem

I’ve been receiving questions lately asking about where I get started on putting my business plan together.  Actually I didn’t go the route of creating the traditional business plan because I didn’t see myself going the traditional route to start my business.  Fortunately we’re in an age where it’s not necessary to have to crawl to the local bank, corporate investors, or venture capitalists that would require you to have a business plan with tons of statistics and market analysis.  With the emergence and popularity of crowdfunding it has become possible to side-step old-fashioned means.  With that being said, you still do need a plan.  My plan is what is referred to as a Lean Business Plan.  This is just a straight forward, no-frills, just listing out all the important stuff that’s for internal use only.  I chose to structure this plan using an IMO strategy. This plan is set up intentionally to tweak and change as time goes on to better reflect your business.  For more info, click on the link here that will explain in more detail to see if a Lean Business Plan suits your business.

As I mentioned last week, I was expecting my first proposal from one of my prospects, Jeff.  I don’t have the budget to be able to have a lawyer look over everything for me, so I’m left to trusting my own judgement and going with my gut.  After reading through the proposal there were some portions of the contract that needed to be revised.  Since I’m dealing with a first-to-market product it’s important to me that I protect any improvements made along the way.  This was very important to me, although in fairness, if a significant improvement is implemented than all those involve should share the credit.  Along with that, there were some other minor changes that needed to be made that Jeff had no problem conforming to.  I was able to make the changes that suited me and that we both agreed were fair.  Do not be afraid of challenging manufacturers, consultants, or whoever for better terms, pricing or both; at the end of the day it’s your product on the line so it’s your responsibility to protect it.  

Sunday, September 13

WEEK 8 - Results

Calls, Calls, Calls – feels like that’s all I’ve been doing for the last few months.  Finally I’ve connected with someone that can get me to the next level, actually I’ve been communicating with two people.  One of which I found out is a consultant in the non-woven industry branching out on his own to start his own business, and the other was a manufacturing company.  The consultant by the name of Jeff – it’s amazing how much you can learn from a single conversation with someone who has been doing this for years – was someone I came in contact with after making numerous follow-up calls.  It was refreshing hearing Jeff get just as excited about my product as I was.  The issue for me is that he is what I consider to be a middle man, and personally, I try to avoid middle men. 

My other contact was a guy that actually reached out to me first.  Well then again, I did throw the first stone by submitting a RFQ (Request For Quote) on Thomasnet.  It’s a very powerful tool that Thomasnet has on their website where you complete a short form describing your product and they send an RFQ on your behalf to at least five different companies within your industry.   Next thing I knew I was getting an email from Fabrico asking me if I could more descriptive about my product – duh, yeah…that’s what I got this pitch sheet for.  So this week I’ve been in the talks with two people, Jeff and Barry from Fabrico.  The daunting question now is who is going to cost me the most money.  Even though I believe in paying for good quality I still need to stay within my budget and get the best I can for what I can afford.  So as I type this Jeff is working on a proposal to send me.  Check back here next week and let’s see what this proposal looks like.

Tuesday, September 8

WEEK 7 – The Good and the Bad

The bad news – more “no’s”.  Another week of phone call after phone call and constantly sending out emails of my pitch sheet.  Although it has been interesting to talk to people who were sincerely trying to help me.  There were a few companies I spoke with who, even though they couldn’t help me with my product per se, they were willing to help me and point me in a more favorable direction.  Also, among the no’s, there are a few companies that were interested and I’m waiting to hear back from.  So fingers crossed. 

The good news – non-provisional patent “APPROVED”.  A big sigh of relief came in the mail this week, my non-provisional patent application was accepted.  So now the clock officially starts.  I have one year from my filing date to file for my utility patent.  This one year is used to see if your idea is marketable or not.  I have basically two options: one, to take my idea and shop it around to see if there’s anyone who would be interested in buying the rights to my patent or maybe offer me a licensing deal; or two, get my product to the retail shelves myself and see if I can build a business from it.  Decisions, decisions.

Here’s a good read that I want to pass along this week on how to get your product made from Martha Stewart herself.  Check it out.

Sunday, August 30

WEEK 6 – Each one Teach one

Well, another week of more “no” and a few “interesting”.   As I mentioned before, I welcome the nay-sayers, they are my stepping stones.  What I can say is, having to talk to as many people as I have been lately has made me a lot more comfortable talking about and describing my product.  It also helped having a pitch sheet (see week 4) handy for emailing.  Because my product is unique, being able to provide a photo along with a description of the product did me justice in more ways than one. 

Also, I would definitely advise finding a networking group in your area to help with gaining contacts and learning more about your business.  Luckily for me it was finding the Inventors& Entrepreneurs Club of Nassau County on  And it just so happens my first night with the group their guest speaker was a gentlemen from the US Patent & Trademark office, who dished out priceless information on the proper way to submit a patent and links to learning aids.  Another good reason I happen to find myself there that night was because it turns out I improperly filled out my provisional patent application.  I showed the USPTO rep my response letter and he quickly identified the error I made.  Special thanks goes out to Brian Fried for creating a networking platform for the small guys.

Monday, August 24

WEEK 5 – Fuel to the Fire

Once my mind is made up I’m all in...

Mission: make a list of at least 100 manufacturing companies and call every one.  For me, everything is about putting that first foot forward.  So I began scouring the web knowing that there’s an association for “you name it”.  For my product it was INDA, the have a membership link of over 100 companies that you can contact.  And contact was just what I was planning to do. I made it my mission to make a least two calls every day during my lunch break until I reached someone that was going to help me reach my goal.  Not to mention, Thomasnet was also a very good source of information in helping me find a lot more sources.  (Spoiler Alert: It was through Thomasnet that I was able to find our manufacturer)

Yeah!  I got my first “No” this week.  I know what you’re thinking, “What do you mean Yeah!?”.  Honestly, I was just so happy to get the ball rolling and talking about my product, I just know this is going to be a thrilling ride.  Plus, the way I see it, every “No” puts me one step closer to a “Yes”.  As cliché as it may sound, it’s totally true.  The company that shot me down was US Nonwovens Corp.  There reason:  “We get ideas like that at least once a year, we just wouldn’t be a good fit for you.”  So a big shout out to US Nonwovens for adding fuel to my fire.

Sunday, August 16

WEEK 4 – Who Am I

As I began calling around to non-woven manufacturers, almost immediately I found difficulty in defining my product.  Since it will be used for cleaning will it be a household product?  But I plan on marketing it as a shaving accessory, so does that make it a men’s grooming product?  If I choose household I would be competing against all the Uline’s, the Clorox’s, and other major cleaning brands.  Whereby, in the men’s grooming industry I found no application similar to mines.  Ultimately, I chose what would give me the best chance for success and to help I did a couple of product category exercises to make it a little clearer for me.
Defining my product was essential to coming up with my elevator pitch.  I mean, how can you pitch something if you don’t know what it is first?  Establish your “Who Am I” to the point a third grader could understand and your product vision gets a lot stronger.  Here’s the elevator pitch for my product:

“For ages men around the world have stood over bathroom sinks shaving and grooming, only to be left with the inevitable hairy mess afterwards.  Often times, the clean-up process takes longer than the actual grooming.  Most men do one of two things: either they, reluctantly, wash the hairs down the drain then clean up whatever is left, or they try everything, from using old t-shirts to paper towels, just to avoid the clean-up process altogether.
We have developed a patent-pending, disposable, nonwoven product that provides an efficient way to not only prevent hair from clogging your drain, but gives new meaning to having a clean shave.”

Short and sweet…your thoughts?

Sunday, August 9

WEEK 3 – About Me

Before I go any further let me take this time to introduce myself.  My name is Negus Negesti, me and my dog Sergeant hail from Virginia and we are now living in Long Island, New York.  I have dabbled in some of everything from selling ad space for a magazine called Erbanlyfe to working in a dingy shipping terminal loading trucks at night for an extra paycheck.  For the past 15 years I have worked as an Architectural Engineer for some of the most respected names in the industry and enjoy taking an idea from concept to reality.  I can remember from the first time I sold my first box of candy back in elementary school being bitten by the entrepreneurial bug.  Ever since I have pride myself on my strong work ethic (thanks mom) and my relentless effort to pursue my dream – to start my own business.

A little something very few people know about me; when I was eight years old I almost drowned while crabbing with my older cousins.  A favorite crabbing spot of my cousins happened to be on this old pier not too far from my aunt’s house.  One day, while tagging along with them, I decided to go horse around along the edge of the pier and wouldn’t you know it – man overboard!  All I remember was holding my arm straight up and seeing nothing but murky darkness.  The amount of time I was underwater I could not honestly tell you but I was later told that I surfaced two times and was going down a third.  Legend has it, if you go down a third time you do not come back up.  Needless to say, I am here.  That summer I taught myself how to swim.

Sunday, August 2

WEEK 2 – Invest in Yourself

I was once given the advice, “if you’re going to invest in anything, invest in yourself.”  So that’s what I decided to do – GO FOR IT (again)!  Now that I have this idea swimming around in my head I need to protect it.  I knew nothing about patents or trademarks so I had to learn real quick.  Honestly, I was scared that I was going to unveil that someone had already thought of my big idea, but I owe it to myself to do my due diligence.  So for another week I searched the USPTO database for similar patents…and searched, and searched, and searched some more.  Yes!  There were actually some patents similar to mine, but they were all either outdated or weren’t designed to be consumer-friendly. 

So now, how do I file for a patent?  What’s involved?  And most importantly, how much is this going to cost me?  The thing about me is, when I have my mind set on something it takes over me.  All I could think about was getting my idea protected and fast.  I read up during my lunch breaks, I read when I was supposed to be working, and spent nights reading more when I should’ve been sleeping.  Fortunately, I found out that the USPTO has an alternative to filing for a full utility patent, they also have what they call a provisional patent at a much cheaper cost (hint: Micro-Entity).  This allows me to “test” my idea before getting a patent lawyer involved and pillaging my bank account.

So within a month I was online filing my provisional (takes deep breathe) – SEND.

This is probably my 5th attempt at starting a blog and trying to stick to it.  I think it might be a bit easier this time around since I got something to write about other than myself.  And what is that, you might ask?  A new adventure that I can use to help me stay motivated and maybe encourage others along the same path.

I’ve never considered myself an inventor, but if you ask I do tend to come up with some pretty good ideas from time to time.  So here I am staring down into my bathroom sink, after my usual ritual of shaving, thinking to myself, “there has to better way of cleaning up this mess.”  EUREKA! – A towel that catches my hair from going down the drain AND makes it easy to clean up afterwards.  THE DISPOSABLE SHAVING TOWEL was born.  But wait, surely someone has had this problem before me and came up with a solution?  I spent the next week combing every website possible and every store in a 50 mile radius and there were none to be found.

So this blog is a chronicle of me trying to get the Disposable Shaving Towel to market and the few highs and the lots of lows that I expect along the way.  I will do my best to keep a weekly entry to update you guys on my achievements and pitfalls.

Welcome to my world.

Note:  At the date of starting this blog a lot of events have already occurred, therefore, you may notice the timetable isn’t quite adding up.  Allow me time to get caught up.  Thanks for reading.