On Monday December 7th, Fairfield-based "As Seen on TV" company, Telebrands, and Founder AJ Khubani will be honored as finalists for the NJBIZ Business of the Year Award. With products like the Pedd Egg, EZ Combs, Windshield Wonder and Shoes Under, Khubani has achieved award-winning success and his road to accomplishment can be a model for any aspiring entrepreneur with an a idea and a mission.
After graduating from Montclair State in 1983, Khubani, like all recent grads, was looking for a way to make some money in the tough economy. While working with his father in New York as an importer, Khubani gathered all of his savings and sold an AM/FM radio through the National Enquirer because "it seemed to be the only place that mail-order was advertised," added the NJ "Pitchman." He broke even, but got his first taste of the business and he did so with only "a telephone and a typewriter."
You know those foot massaging tubs that bubble and vibrate our stresses away? Well before those even existed, Khubani found success with massage slippers and in 1985 at 25 years old made his first profit of $200,000. The following year, he made 3 million dollars, had 30 employees and bought his first home.
Future so bright, gotta wear Ambervision
In 1987, Khubani produced his first direct response commercial for Ambervision sunglasses which proved to be wildly popular. They were also his first product that sold in retail stores. He sold 15 million.
Khubani had also created for himself a "hit product factory" producing commercials every week and testing over 50 products a year. "We test market each week and about 10% succeed," said Khubani. "But I love coming up with hit products, just like an artist coming up with hit records."
Over the next 10 years, Khubani and Telebrands rolled out more popular brands with each selling over 100 million dollars each. Some of his best successes (see if you remember them) were: The Jack LaLane Mini Stepper ('90), Morgan Fairchild Dental White ('94), Smart-Mop Shammy ('94), Safety Can('97), Audobon Singing Bird Clock ('98), State Quarters Map ('00), Better Pasta Pot ('02), Doggie Steps ('05), Ped-Egg ('07), Pedi-Paws ('08), Windshield Wonder ('09) and EZCombs('09).
Before the death of fellow pitchman Billy Mays earlier this year, Khubani was a regular guest on Mays' Discovery Channel show "Pitchmen" co-hosted by Anthony Sullivan. Feeling inspired by the concept of the show, Khubani started "Inventor's Day" to bring inventors in and pitch their product-kind of like the American Idol of direct response marketing. So far, there have been three inventions that Telebrands produced: The Windshield Wonder, Jupiter Jack and Heel Tastic. Back in August they had 300 people sign-up and had to split the day into 2 sessions. The next Inventor's Day will be Wednesday December 9th.
Telebrands unique branding strategy has expanded the company to the International market with a location in Mumbai, India and the UK.
For more about Telebrands products, Inventor's Day and the company history, visit www.telebrands.com.