The second day of the virtual summit the live virtual Summit. I'm here with Christina Dave's Christina. Welcome on board.
Hi, thank you so much for having me.
Thank you this purpose patents and profits. That's the topic today. Let me start the initial slide.
Your purpose patents and profits. And those of you that were not here yesterday, we had a keynote presentation by Kevin Harrington, the original shark on Shark Tank. He's launched over 500 products with revenues of 5 billion in sales. Also, Kara Williams, the inventor of Greenland baby, wonderful story of her journey as an inventor. And then finally, Dennis and Mary Lou green and amazing power couple inventors that are developed the sneaker bones, along with 50 other products and sales of $120 million. So with that purpose, patents and profits, and today's guest is Christina Davis, she's the creator of cosmetic designs, you'll hear a little bit more of her story. Actually, lets Jenny if you're on with, let's play a short video interview of Christina
Ventura's will reveal their unusual new products on the Steve Harvey Show this afternoon. And they're gonna compete to see which of their ideas dazzled Steve's studio audience and a panel of judges, a Virginia woman named Christina Davies is one of the inventors competing and she joins us this morning with more on her invention. And good morning. Thanks for having me. Tell us first of all, how did you hear about this competition on the Steve Harvey Show?
And there's something called Harrow, which is Help a Reporter Out and they send queries for different things. And there was just an anonymous query that said, Do you have a product you'd like to take to the next level?
And the idea that you get a $20,000 prize? I think we didn't know
we did not know until we got to the show. We were in the greenroom. And they popped in and said, Oh, by the way, you're all competing for $20,000 prize. Wow, I had no idea.
Well, tell us about your invention. Okay, so
what I did, I actually broke my foot in the summer of 2010, and was put in a medical booth
and a medical Buddha. And that's what these are, they don't look like the ones we usually see.
And I was actually headed to New York fashion capital of the world. And I can't go looking like this. So it started coming to me and I came home and started designing and I came up with some fur cuffs to kind of make it look like an Ugg boots. And we've got really easy socks that you can, you know, dress up on the boots and put up and flowers to put on them. And the flowers are great, because they all have a pin back and alligator clip so you can wear them after injury.
So tell me are these all just the regular medical boots that you can buy accessories to go with?
Yeah, this line that I have here is from DJI, which is the largest orthopedic bracing company in the world. So odds are you're probably going to get one of these boots. So we kind of designed to go on these. And
of course, you told me you came up with the idea because you were wearing I was selling Correct. Okay, what kind of inventions were you up against? On the show?
There's somebody who has an accessory for an iPad, a woman who has a very unique your MUFE a singles calling card, a great shoe tying aid, and then somebody who's got something that you put on a bed to help with storage in a dorm, or you know, small like apartment bed or it goes under the bed, but I'll let you watch
this afternoon. Yeah, we wish you good luck with this. Because I tell you, I see a lot of folks out there, Keith, my partner over there was in one of these booths until just a few days ago. So probably would have loved to have had some of these decorations to go almost
4 million people. So we want them to look inhale their best and experience the healing power of fashion.
Men for men and women. Yeah. Well, we thank you so much for coming in. And we wish you good luck. Great. First of all, find out who the winner is this afternoon on the Steve Harvey Show. That's a two o'clock right here on NBC four. And we will see if you win. Okay, thank you. Thanks so much. Thanks for having me.
That's wonderful. Are you going to keep us in suspense or LSU? Wine?
I won. Which was amazing. Because everyone who's watching knows when you invent a product, you invent we've mortgaged our house, we maxed out credit cards, I was broke. I mean, I was dead broke at this point. Because you see, I had been something totally new in the market space. So that $20,000 From the Steve Harvey Show, not to mention being on the Steve Harvey Show right now the exposure that that got that was the shot in the arm that I needed, and it just it just completely up leveled my business.
Well, and I'm so glad you said that. A lot of the comments. And one in particular, I brought that up with Kevin Harrington yesterday. I don't know if you got to see his interview. But um, one of the comments on social media was from somebody who said I don't need to watch a bunch of pre Which people make more money, and that nothing could be further from the truth in terms of our lineup. And that's what Kevin said yesterday, he said, you know, he was one of six kids. His father was a bartender's been working since he's 15. It wasn't the spoon of privilege silver spoon that allowed him to launch his idea. And I'm so glad you talked about your start, because it's different when people look at you now and vendors look at how your products doing now. It's intimidating because they're like, Oh, my God, I could never be like, Christina, but why don't you tell us your story and start from before you were an inventor? What did you do and and go from there?
Yeah. So I grew up outside of Washington, DC. I went to Virginia Tech go Hokies. If anyone's watching, still diehard fan, but I was a double major in political science in German and I had a job in Germany, I was all set to go, I graduated from college, I was getting all my paperwork together. And my father was diagnosed with stage four esophageal cancer. And this is back before cellphones, before FaceTime, when it was really expensive to fly. And I didn't go because I knew he didn't have a lot of time left. And six months later, my father passed away. So I'm right out of college, I'm in my early 20s, I was lost. So I didn't know what to do. And that basically kind of started my life of entrepreneurship. Accidentally, I got a real estate license, I partnered with a guy was selling real estate with we started an event planning company. I actually booked the Dave Matthews Band two weeks before they made it on the radio. So I like to say I discovered. But no, it was a long process. And I did a lot of things. I owned a retail store for 10 years. And which was interesting when I came up with the whole concept. And I'll tell the whole story in a second. But But I thought that retail background was really going to help me oh, I can invent a product. I know all about wholesale. I know about retail. It's still a big learning curve. So you heard on the interview, I broke my foot. It was in a boot my husband, I are going to New York, I'm like this thing is so ugly. So I'm on the train googling medical boot fashions, medical boot accessories. And I joke, I swear he saw the light bulbs go off on my head when I realized there was nothing on the market. Because once you're an entrepreneur, you're an inventor, you always have that
it's hard to turn it off, right? You can't?
No, you can't. And I had sold my share of the store. I was very burned out from the retail part of it. So the light bulbs went off. And I invented this fashion line for it, which I will tell you everybody loved. So for those of you who have this invention, everyone's like, Oh, Christina, that's the greatest idea ever. Well, then you go, you know, it's your money, all these people who tell you how great it is, you know, so we weren't at our house, we maxed out the credit cards, it was a great idea. But nobody knew about it. Nobody knew it was an option. And when I say we were broke, we were broke. And I had two young kids. And I was I'm not losing my house, like what am I going to do. And I had hired a retail expert. And he took a lot of money from me took $24,000 That's all I had left, he was going to help me, you know, get my product to market, all the things. And and I still remember this so vividly. When he called me and said there's no faux fur in China. I knew I was in big trouble. And my girlfriend who I owe the store with was at the Atlanta Gift Show, which you guys all know about if you're getting products. And she thought it was so funny to send me picture after picture of all the products with fur on them, you know, gloves and hats and, you know, table claws. So it was horrible, a horrible experience. But that segwayed into really what I'm doing now is helping people get publicity for their products, because that's what I figured out. And that's how I got on Steve Harvey. And I've just gotten so much media exposure for it that really elevated the brand.
And that's was something that didn't cost you didn't pay for that. Oh, like none of that media exposure was like, like paid. So that's amazing. Especially
any money left. I couldn't hire a PR firm. I wish I took that 24,000 But I got this is something anyone can do. Anyone watching this, you can get publicity for your product. And it's so easy now because with social media and the internet, it's not like the old days where you had to send out a press release and it was this you know the golden Rolodex. Those days are right on you can get anybody now.
Yeah, and part of it talk about Harrow in your car. You did. That's an amazing resource. I've used it myself when there's not too many requests for for patent attorneys from the media, but when, but when there is one, I'm sure to respond because they need help. They need somebody who can clarify the different types of patents and, and
not. Yeah, it's help a reporter.com. I think it's amazing. I tell everybody, though, because you're gonna sign up for it. And you're gonna be like, Christina, what is this? It looks like a 1990s email, right? If you use it, it's they they don't format it. It's just a bunch of queries from journalists. But that's how I got on the Steve Harvey Show. The query said, Do you have a product you're looking to take to the next level. And I submitted for that. And I submitted in August, I didn't know it was the Steve Harvey Show. I found out after the fact. But I found out in October. But I have a client that I worked with who's an inventor 74 years old. I love this woman first year in business. She got herself on things like I don't actually don't know that today's show is Harrow, but the view all kinds of real simple magazine. I mean, she got millions and millions of views because she just constantly responded. And right now with all the gift guides, everyone's missed the actual print gift guides, but all the dot coms, they are looking at the high ranking blogs, they're looking for products. And that's
so 50 What what our research found was 50 media outlets in within a year is the kind of coverage you got in with, you didn't have like what you call the golden Rolodex, right that Yeah, did you have any contacts in zero,
I knew nothing. I didn't know what I was doing. And now I coach on this, and I teach you about this. But my first call to NBC, I had no saliva in my mouth. I was horrible as I. And needless to say, I didn't get on them. But you saw that I did make it on, right. It's just learning a system, learning a process so that you stand out from the noise. And once you do that, and I still get on media all the time. I don't pitch myself as much as I used to, because I'm helping other people do it. But if I really want to, I went out to Denver, pre COVID and was speaking at an event and I thought, Oh, let me show them how easy this is. I never been to Denver in my life. And I pitched a segment for about Colorado inventors. So I reached out to all these different vendors, all my inventor contacts, and said find me people who live in Colorado. And I put the story together and they loved it. So never been to Colorado not one contact in the state. I pitched the story. When I spoke on Thursday, Wednesday morning, I was on I did a whole segment about Colorado mentors just to show them give them a good story idea. And you can get in the media.
Right here. Well, so going back to the early days of you're coming up with your idea. Was there tell us about obstacles? Maybe we only have a half hour for this show. What obstacles did you face? And were there any that way? You know, or almost you're thinking that this is when you're going to throw in the towel because that's every every inventor so far during this summit has reached that point where in I had a couple of weeks ago, another inventor who is actually set their idea aside for six months and did nothing on it, because they had given up. But the idea is don't die. It keeps coming back every time they see the need it like yes, that you took to help birth it. So go ahead. Let me let's let's hear what were the reverse obstacles that you faced?
Yeah. Well, where do we start? First of all, trying to get it manufactured, I was dead set on having it manufactured in the United States. I spent four months to tell you that I literally called every factory in the United States that does fabric type things, socks, gloves, anything like that. Nobody wanted to make my product. And like nobody's gonna give you money to do this. I want to pay you to know we can't take a risk. You know, it's a new product. So I literally went to the textile show in New York City with one of my sockets which is the nobody's gonna know what it is. It's half a sock with Velcro. And I went to every booth, can you make this? Can you make this? Can you make this half the people didn't speak English. They're trying they want me to tell them what it is. I'm not going to tell them what it is. And I went to this one sock booth and there were two gentlemen in there who said what is this? And they they signed an NDA right there and they they represented me to get my product manufactured overseas. They did socks and but out that was the big I'm like, How do I get a product to me, and I'm pretty resourceful. That was the first one, then the money. You know, you go to your bank, and you apply for an SBA loan, which is great. But they wanted me to triple collateralize the loan triple. So if I wanted 100,000, I did put up 300,000. Like, well, that doesn't make sense. You're like giving me 100,000. Right? So long story short, that's where the mortgaging of the house came in. Thank goodness for the 0% credit cards. So and of course, there's manufacturing issues. Now we got lucky, I didn't get stuck on a port anywhere, I got the product, but my products are spandex, you know, stretchy material. And they're supposed to stretch this way. Because you know, boots, well, some of them stretch this way, and not this way. So all of a sudden, we had a new size medium only. But I think that's really common, but the money, the money was the biggest one. So So we launched in February, and I'm doing every you know, everybody loves my idea. What I my biggest fatal flaw was that I thought doctors would sell it in their offices. So my business plan really had that built into it. What I didn't know is that doctors don't want to do retail. Now they have to I was too early. Now 10 years later, it is a big part.
In fact, I have a client that's a veterinarian, it started with veterinarians, because they think they're the ones that realize that there's a lot of profit in accessories for pets, and you have owners right right there. And but doctors are doing it now as well.
But 10 years ago, they weren't. So that's where the whole PR thing came in. But so I kept trying. And and you guys when I tell you that I got 500 nose, every I called, you know, catalog companies, no, you know this, no, this No, well, then I get my big break. And it's Shark Tank. And it's season two, and I send my video in and I do my application. And then you guys maybe people watching have done this 30 page at that time handwritten application. They don't want to type 15 I think they probably did handwriting analysis. So the producers loved me Don't go We love your energy. We love your product. Mark Burnett. I say Mark Burnett loves me his team I made I pass that test. And then ABC, Sony turned me down. Because in season one they had a wasn't a medical boot, but a product, an aftermarket product for boot, like a cowboy boot. When I tell you I couldn't I couldn't stop. I cried for an entire weekend. Because this was my big break. I was gonna make it. So that's April, for months, May, June, July, August, September. No, no, no. And I remember this so vividly. It was a Tuesday night and I'm, I'm on my laptop and I'm crying. What do I do? I've done I'm asking the universe and like I have done everything. I'm a good person. I work hard. I'm not trying to get rich quick. I just such a great idea. And the next morning, I wake up to the email from the Steve Harvey Show. And they said we need a video from you by 10 o'clock. Now I have two young kids at this point. So I'm like, do a video. You know, I just got out of bed. I have no makeup on. I don't have anything set up. You need lights. And so I took the Shark Tank video and I edited out my you know, the skills of editing. I edited out the Shark Tank wording and sent that in. I'm like, that's all I have long story short, I interviewed all day. That night. My husband I were at the high school at a booster club meeting. And they call it we walked out and they said we want you on the show. And I was like oh my gosh, that's so great. When tomorrow, what's the name on your driver's license? And what's your airport of choice was like my husband like just go just go. But I didn't know it was a contest at that time. I just knew it was a way to and that was harrow back circling back. Yeah. Well, that got me there. So. So you gotta hustle. You got to find when this door closes, and you have to be open for that other door opening. So that you see opportunity, because as an adventurer. We have great ideas. We have great products. We've got to get it to the right people.
Right. It's funny you mentioned, let me see if I have Oh, on the shelf. So yesterday's inventor I inventors Dennis and Mary Lou Greene. I mean, they wrote a book about strengthening their marriage. Because it's tough enough being an inventor, but having two inventors in the same family married I mean that's that's a recipe for a lot of clashes. Tell us about your support system. Obviously your husband when you know he said whatever airport whatever time just go. Is was that a big Part of what allowed you to take some of these because they are risks. I mean, if you're short on money, you don't you know, obviously the Steve Harvey Show is not paying for your travel and hotels and oh, they did. Okay, well, that makes it a little bit easier. But certainly all the PR. I mean, you didn't. You didn't have the luxury of hiring a video editor.
No. At this point, I'm broke. I have nothing. Yeah, my husband but but you have to understand this was my second really big big venture that I invested in the first one was the store, which you know, marriage is ups and downs. That was a lot rockier back then we young kids, my girlfriend and I, who we, when we opened the store, we joke that it was our little family. It was two moms and four kids. Like we took care of the kids. We did this, our husbands worked by this after having a really successful business. By the time this launched, he was so supportive, go just go we'll figure it out. You know, we'll make all this stuff work. Because he believed in it to give it really is a good product. It was just early on, it was hard to catch on. Because that I relied on the doctors, but then I got into Amazon, I was a vendor and Amazon for many, many years. They just recently cut me off of that. I think they're cutting. If you're not multimillion dollar sales on Amazon, they don't want you anymore because they're so big.
Right. Right. So when one quick question, because it's from from Paul, he's asking about the 90 style email thing that you mentioned, Hera, I heard, that's how she got on the Steve Harvey Show, but I didn't catch what she was talking about that before we get too far from it.
So help a reporter.com you sign up as a source, and three times a day, they're going to send you this nice nice looking email that has requests from journalists, and right now for inventors. And I look at this every day, three times a day, because I do a lot for my clients, too. There are so many gift guide opportunities right now. So product printers, from September to November, you should be on harrow every day. And a lot of them are blogs look to make sure it's a high ranking blog, there's a lot of bloggers that get stuff, you know, you send them a sample. And I always use alexa.com to test to see if it's a high ranking blog or not. If you guys don't know how to do that, you just type the blog in scroll down to the bottom of Alexa, type that blog in. And if it's the lower the number, the higher, the more people are reading it. So I say use 100,000 as your number. But anyway, so you'll get there's all these requests. I mean, I've been in 1000s of media outlets now. And I would say 90% of them. I'm not pitching myself, I use harrow
well, so that's really helpful and Jenny's are moderator in the back if you want to type in help a reporter.com into the chat box. And also somebody asked if Christina can repeat what she said at 1210. I don't know if we can do that. But, Jenny, if you can post the link to the inventors mastermind, a private Facebook group, we're gonna put the video on there. And then you can go about 10 minutes in and you're posting if you want, but I don't know if you would remember. Tell us about is was there a no. Your first venture the store was that successful?
Yes. Yeah, yeah, yes, we opened a retail store and, and this was crazy. And I've talked to people years later who said we had vision kind of like my invention. Like we're inventors, you know this entrepreneurs. So we opened our store in a blighted town. Literally hardest town called Haymarket, Virginia, which is now thriving, but when we open the store 2002 But so we would big brands like Brighton and Vera Bradley, we're not sold in our county. So we went to them and they'd send the sales reps out, and they would come in to our driveway and they would leave, we're just a little historic house off the beaten path. What they didn't know is over the hill, were 1000s of 800,000 $2 million homes being built. So literally, we opened and people were buying things out of the boxes as we were trying to stop the store. Wow.
So I mean, the reason I asked you yesterday is interview Dennis and Mary Lou, they're two married inventors the first venture didn't work out and it's always tougher to get your support system the back you on your second idea, the first one doesn't do well so but that's you know, it's sometimes for a lot of inventors. It's not you don't hit it out of the park the first time and or the second or third. The funny story, true story behind WD 40 the lubricant it stands for water displacement formula. And the 40 is the 40th attempt before they got the formula working right so WD one, WD two, W do D three. So that's that's just the nature of inventing the support system is critical. And especially if you had earlier ideas that didn't launch, and now you've got the one that you think yes, but this one's is going to be the one to get that support. Was there any misconceptions about being an inventor that you faced? You know, the famous, you know, the well known, I guess, image of the crazy inventor, sometimes that holds inventors back. And people make judgments on that, was that an obstacle for you or
that wasn't but you know, nobody tells you how hard it is. Nobody tells you how long it's going to take. And nobody tells you how much it's gonna cost. You do a business plan, you plan all these things, you're gonna hit obstacles. And I said this early on, you've got that passion in your belly for your product. Don't lose that. Don't forget that if you've gone to, I've gotten a lot of press because I guess, actually taking an idea and going to market with it is a really big deal. Not there. There might be a lot of inventors, but really going through with mass mass producing mass marketing is it's a pretty big deal. So you should be proud of yourself for that. But yeah, when it gets bad, just go back to that passion. You know, what drove you to where you are. And I mean, I hit obstacles, I had to figure things out. I said, the life of an inventor is like somebody playing pinball, you know, you bing, bing, bing, bing, bing, you know, then you hit the big stuff, and then it goes back down again. And then, you know, it's just a constant, but, but that's the reason that we're these kinds of people. You know, it's just how we're wired. So you got to just keep going. And I told you, I cried for months after the Shark Tank thing. I mean, I was a mess. That was my big golden ticket. And now in retrospect, I think, Oh, God, they would have eaten me alive, because I didn't have a sales yet. And then I got to be on Steve Harvey, I get $20,000 free, no strings attached.
Right? No percentage of the company that you have to give up or owe or control or ownership or any of that? No, no. Well, well, but that was I have to give you credit for your resourcefulness in just doing it all yourself. I mean, a lot of times, it's very tempting for inventors. And I get asked all the time for recommendations to marketing agents, or, you know, patenting agents or licensing agents. And everybody wants the one stop shop. And it's really, that's what allows a lot of these scam companies and fraudulent operators, I don't know, the person who gave the $24,000 to the beginning if that was one of them, or if it genuinely just didn't work out. But you want just like with dieting, I mean, you want the you want to not diet and not exercise, and lose weight. Yeah. And whoever promises that they're going to outsell all of their competitors, the person that's out there saying, You know what, you got to watch what you eat, you've got to run, you've got to die, you've got to exercise the other guy will forget, forget you. And then they go to the person that that promises it that it's not like that. So but to resist that, and maybe it's a blessing to be broke at the time, because you can't you know, maybe it's so the 24,000 You would have put more money into it if you had it. And somebody came along and said, Listen, I know exactly what to do. I'll do the marketing. I'll do the PR I'll get you but instead you're left with your own resources. It didn't yourself you didn't hire an editor you didn't hire somebody to you know to send out releases or any of that you started with Harrow, which I don't know if it's gone up but I mean, at one time it was only $19 A month then
free I don't do the paid I've never used the paid version ever. There is a paid version, but you don't need it. I've had tremendous success with the free
like wow, wow. So that's another this this is amazing. A lot of value for inventors to hear from a real inventor that's done it and that still remembers what the early days were like, well, they
still do it. I was just in Thrive global a few weeks ago about my product. So I'm still I walk the walk. That's when I tell people all the stuff I do. I teach PR I coach in PR but I'm still doing it because I still run that business. So the PR side helps because I get PR for me which talks about that but that was all about cosmetic my story. And your story is so important. Your story will sell. They love so many people didn't know my story. So that article came out and I sent it up to my email list and put it on LinkedIn. And people were like, Wow, your story is great. Anyone who invents a product there's a story behind it. Why did you do it? So focused on Not
so in. We're out of time. But let me ask you for one final piece of advice, something maybe you wish you had known before you started and you've already said that it's going to cost more than you think take longer than you think, if not more obstacles, but any parting advice for inventors?
Well, I think marketing is key. So learning good social media skills, like learning engagement on social media, how do you cut through the noise, learn messaging, social media and PR and you could do it yourself. You just have to learn how to do it.
Perfect. Great advice, Christina. It's wonderful to see you here. Hopefully we'll have you come back for the next summit meet hope. I hope to go back to doing them live in person. But but we'll see we can't say when it's going to be right but have a wonderful day.