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You might remember me talking about Chris Schutte, and his invention, The Steamie, in an earlier blog post, after he was crowned “Inventor of the Year” at the 2010 ERA D2C Conference in Las Vegas this past September. However, Chris has something even more exciting going on lately. While exhibiting at the 2010 INPEX® show, he met a contact from Lenfest Media Group, and has signed a licensing agreement with them! Below is Chris’ journey on taking his product from concept to a licensing agreement:

INPEX® 2010 exhibitor Chris Schutte believes that all hot dog lovers have the right to one thing: a well-steamed hot dog bun. After being laid off from his high paying sales management job in 2007, Chris decided this was his opportunity to pursue an idea that he had been kicking around since childhood. “I figured there had to be a way to get a freshly steamed bun just like the hot dogs my mom used to make me as a kid,” he said.

The Suwanee, Georgia inventor spent a lot of time perfecting his invention, The Hot Dog Bun Steamer. In 2008, he exhibited his invention in the InventHelp-INPEX® Inventor’s Corner at the International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago. Chris says this experience is what helped him get his product on QVC. “As an exhibitor in the InventHelp-INPEX® Inventor’s Corner, I had the opportunity to present my product to numerous people in the housewares and direct response television industry. That experience helped launch my product onto QVC, where I’ve now made three appearances.” Another piece of invaluable feedback that came from the Housewares Show was that Chris should consider making a larger unit that would not only steam hot dog buns, but other food items as well. And at that moment, “The Steamie” was born. The Steamie converts an ordinary pot into a multi-level rack and basket steamer for vegetables, tortillas and lobster.

Chris was less than camera shy. After securing his patent for The Hot Dog Bun Steamer through LegalZoom, an online legal document service, he decided to enter the company’s contest that would award one client a cash prize and a chance to appear on a nationally televised LegalZoom ad campaign. “After 47 takes in my kitchen to get it just right, I finally sent in my entry video and began to wait,” said Chris. “After waiting week after week, I finally heard from LegalZoom. I had won. I was about to be featured in a national ad campaign with my product!”

Even after being featured on commercials in front of a national audience, Chris was not about to slow down. He knew he wanted to forge ahead and find someone to license his product. Chris decided to exhibit at INPEX® 2010, June 16-18 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was at INPEX® where he met Andy McKinley, a partner and Vice President of Strategy & Business Development for Lenfest Media Group. After a few months of negotiations, Chris signed a licensing agreement with Lenfest in September of 2010. The company is currently conducting preliminary market testing for the The Steamie. Andy is glad he made the decision to look for new products at America’s largest invention trade show, “I feel very gratified that I went to INPEX® this year as it gave me the opportunity to meet Chris Schutte and his Steamie Genie invention. I was very impressed with his product demonstration and am excited that Lenfest Media Group is going to partner with Chris to potentially bring his product to market.”

The licensing agreement that Chris signed with Lenfest is specifically for The Steamie. This agreement enables him to pursue other opportunities for his original brainchild, The Hot Dog Bun Steamer. “I am fortunate to have the ability to pursue a dual path to market. While The Steamie will hopefully be sold on TV, The Hot Dog Bun Steamer is being tested in 50 to 100 grocery stores nationwide,” said Chris.

“The feedback that I have received at trade shows in the past few years has been invaluable. One key element to the launch of my product has been my relationship with INPEX®. I would not have met my licensing company, if I hadn’t decided to fly to Pittsburgh and take part in America’s largest invention show.”

While the above exhibitor’s experience is not typical of what most INPEX® exhibitors can expect from attending the trade show, the events reported are a result of what can happen from attending INPEX® – The Invention Show.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to exhibit your invention at INPEX® 2011, held June 14-17, at the Monroeville Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. Call 1-888-54-INPEX to speak to one of our account representatives and reserve your booth today!


Related INPEX posts:

  1. News From A Past INPEX Exhibitor!
  2. “Inventor of the Year” Announced at Electronic Retailing Association’s Annual Convention
  3. Top Five Inventors Highlighted at ERA D2C in Las Vegas
  4. INPEX Exhibitor Strikes Deal on Dragon’s Den!
  5. INPEX® 2008 Inventor Lands in Ace Hardware Stores

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