From goggles for pooches to plastic wishbones, we count fifteen of the dumbest products and inventions that made millions for their creators!
15 – Dog Wigs,
- We all know dog owners like to go a little overboard when showing their furry best friends love. It’s why pet accessories have become a multi-million dollar industry. You can now adorn your pet with every kind of weird and wacky accessory imaginable.
- Dog wigs are the latest travesty – I mean innovation – by entrepreneurial pet owner, Leah Workman. Her successful dog wigs brand Cushzilla was inspired by a trip to Japan.
- The stylish headpieces include coloured pigtails, neon mohawks, blonde curls and imitations of celebrity hairstyles, like the Lady Gaga or Marilyn Monroe.
- So if you thought your Pomeranian–Poodle cross couldn’t look any more ridiculous, pick them up a fluorescent pink dog wig and see how wrong you were.
14 – Flowbee,
- Flowbees are a million dollar Nineties idea. They’re basically vacuum cleaners with hair clippers attached. You run the electric clippers through your hair for a cheap DIY haircut that’ll probably invite smartarse remarks like, ‘Did you lose a fight with a lawnmower?’ But, hey, thanks to the vacuum, you at least won’t have any hair clippings to clean up.
- The Flowbee came from Californian madman Rick Hunts, a carpenter who demonstrated his bizarre product at State Fairs before stepping it up to late-night infomercials.
- By the turn of the new millennium, he had sold two million Flowbees and was officially invited into the millionaires club.
13 – Pet Rocks,
- While neither rocks nor the art of swindling idiots can be considered an ‘invention’, the pet rock did earn its creator millions of dollars and was inventive.
- Gary Dahl was an advertising executive from California with rocks in his head – that is, he had the so-stupid-it’s-genius idea to decorate and market rocks as pets.
- Dahl purchased ordinary grey pebbles from a construction supplier and sold them as pets, spawning a wildly successful nation-wide fad. Some rocks had painted faces, some had glued-on googly eyes – but all of them had personality, at least to the kids who bought them.
- In a stroke of marketing genius, Dahl sold his product as the perfect pet, as it never needed to be fed or cleaned up after. It came with a humorous manual instructing owners how to talk to it and teach it cool tricks like sit and stay.
- The Pet Rock debuted in 1975 at $3.95 – or roughly $16 in today’s economy. In six months, Dahl sold more than five million rocks, making the equivalent of $56 million in profit – because buying and delivering the rocks cost him next to nothing. Rock on.
12 – The Beer Belly and Wine Rack Bra,
- Because encouraging alcoholism is cool, I give you the Beer Belly bladder and Wine Rack Bra! These his-and-hers alcohol concealers are designed to be hidden under clothing so you can stay blotto during your child’s boring sports games, music recitals and PTA meetings.
- The Beer Belly bladder holds eighty oz of alcohol, which is more than a six pack’s worth, and makes you look like a fat lard, while the Wine Rack bra turns A cups into double Ds.
- These products are amazingly successful with those times you want to drink in public, but feel they can’t because of the pesky law or judgemental society. I’m struggling with the fact these millionaire entrepreneurs are lining their pockets at the expense of their struggling alcoholic customer base, but maybe that’s because I haven’t had my 10 am Mojito yet.
11 – Wacky Wall Walker,
- Wacky Wall Walkers were an enormously successful octopus-shaped toy moulded from sticky elastomer. When thrown against a wall, these toys could ‘walk’ their way down.
- They were manufactured in the US by Ken Hakuta, who purchased the rights from a Japanese toymaker after recognising their marketing potential.
- Sales crawled along like an octopus on a wall until a Washington Post reporter wrote about the product. The article generated so much buzz that over 240 million sold within a few months, earning Ken around eighty million dollars.