Inventive entrepreneurs are trying to convince QVC buyers that nothing says “Idaho” better than a spud on a stick, or a pet pack, or maybe a wearable sled.
Those products, along with retractable phone cords, bird houses and a multi-angle shower attachment were all on display Thursday in Boise for the QVC national television shopping network.
It plans to sell Idaho products in a special July 8 segment, broadcast to 50 million households nationwide.
QVC is the nation’s largest electronic retailer with annual sales of $1.4 billion. Idaho is the 24th stop in QVC’s 50-state tour.
How badly do these 186 entrepreneurs want to be one of the 20 Idahoans who reach a national market for their products?
“Do you want me to get on my hands and knees and beg?” asked Kimberly Garringer.
The Coeur d’Alene woman was showcasing her Power Sled: a plastic, flexible device that straps onto kids’ backs to eliminate the hassle of dragging a sled uphill.
“We’re looking for products with a distinct Idaho feel,” said Bill Lane, QVC director of new market development. “Something with an agricultural, Western or outdoors feel.”
Farmer Wes Farris caught buyers’ attention with his frozen spud pack complete with four quick potato meals, including spud-on-a-stick and stuffable potato shells.
Joan Balzarini brought her black Shih Tzu dog to help show off “Pack-a-Pet.” The pack straps onto the chest so pet owners can take their dogs and cats for a stroll.
“This might just allow me to hit the big time,” Balzarini said.
Lane will announce the winners in a few weeks. Each manufacturer has about a 1-in-10 chance at stardom. And the stakes are intense.
Just look at some of the predecessors.
A Texas inventor of Hoof-Hoof-Hooray shampoo and nail conditioner for horses has sold 200,000 units since January, nearing the $1 million mark in sales.
Each Idaho product must have at least a $15 retail value, be shippable and not distributed nationally.