This week, co-host Deanne Bell meets husband and wife duo Tommie and Vernice Nellon. It’s a huge family production, where they each divide the work among them and their children. They give a tour of their warehouse, explaining that they hope this hat could be “a financial game changer.”
The Kool Breeze Solar Hat is a solar-powered fan system that is attached to either a hard hat or straw hat. Their vision is “to introduce world changing solar cooling sun hats that promote safe and comfortable outdoor activities.” By simply stepping into the sun, the fan system is instantly started, according to their website, sending cool air throughout the hat.
First, Bell goes over the safety standards that the hat must meet, which it would not in its current state. She tests it and calls it “interesting.” She points out that there’s not an overall cool, but more like she put an ice cube on the top of her head. She then calls the straw hat a novelty item, while the hard hat would have to be more official.
They have invested $80,000 into the business so far and they are now at their breaking point. Their savings have been depleted, with only their children’s education funds remaining untouched.
Next, Bell takes the Kool Breeze Solar Hat to the Bluefish engineers, gifting a hat to them and Zaidan. She wants to make it more high-quality and also make sure it passes safety certifications. They say it looks like the fan and hat “crashed into each other” and get to redesigning. They redesign it so that the air blows out and make it look much more aesthetically pleasing. They added side impact protection and more solar panels, as well as adding another fan. Tommie is surprised to hear that they switched the air direction, but Bell believes the best way to prove the difference is to give it to construction workers out in the field.
At the building site, Tommie is still skeptical that the air direction was switched and worries that the performance won’t hold up. Using temperate as their data point, the construction workers say they can definitely feel a difference and they find that it lowers the temperature. They say ventilation is good and Tommie finally gets on board with the new design. Bell then introduces them to a safety certification expert, who advises them on how to get it ready. The certification costs less than $2,000.
The day finally arrives to meet with an investor: Kevin Herzberg. They are seeking $900,000 for 35 percent equity for just the hard hat. It is not yet ANSI certified. They explain that they hope to sell it for $59.99. Herzberg says he has paid $15 for a hard hat and wonders if people would be willing to pay that much more. They assure him that construction workers really appreciate any kind of cool relief they can get, even if it’s just a few degrees.
Herzberg says the marketing might be tough on the straw hat, but thinks there is a good amount of opportunity with the hard hat. He thinks it would be challenging, however, to manufacture and says he is not willing to make an investment. Tommie and Vernice push on, however, continuing with their family-run business, in addition to promising that their kids will still go to college. They continue to seek out an investment.
“Make Me A Millionaire Inventor” works to turn a million dollar idea to a million dollar invention. Hosts and engineering experts George Zaidan and Deanne Bell find entrepreneurs with revolutionary ideas, take a look at their prototype and help take the product to the next level. According to CNBC, “Top engineers scour the country looking for amazing ideas they’re convinced can make big money. They’ll track down the inventors and give them a second chance to bring their ideas and dreams to life.” The hosts also have the opportunity to hear their pitch before taking the product to an investor, as well as connect with the inventor by hearing their backstories.
“Make Me A Millionaire Inventor” airs every Thursday night at 10 p.m. on CNBC.
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