If you want to start a business, they say you're better off selling aspirin than vitamins.
Selling aspirin of course is a metaphor for curing headaches -- a deeply felt pain that customers are very willing to pay to fix right now. Selling vitamins is more about selling a nice-to-have. The pain point just isn't as deeply felt.
List all the pain points in life, and there are few more acute than what a mother or father feels when his or her child is in need.
It never really goes away, I think, no matter how old your kids get. But, I think it's most acute when your children are young -- especially if you're a first-time parent.
That's part of what makes the new parent market worth a reported $70 billion market in the U.S. alone. It also means it's a market ripe for scammers, or at least for potentially dangerous products that wind up doing the exact opposite of what parents hope.
Inc.'s Jeff Bercovici tells the story of Jon Sumroy, a British-born pharmacist-turned-inventor living in Israel, who launched an Indiegogo campaign a child's booster seat, for use in cars, that folded down to the size of a paperback book.
He's not the scammer in the story; he's the good guy. In fact, Sumroy had to use aircraft grade metals to make his Mifold car seats secure enough to pass safety regulations in countries around the world.
But, no sooner did he get to market, than he started seeing plastic knockoffs on Amazon. So, Sumroy bought a bunch of the knockoffs, ran them through through a crash test, and did a video exposing them. He's had some success getting them taken off Amazon.
But not 100 percent, and that means there are likely some parents out there, desperate for a safe, portable kid's booster seat -- who are going around with a danger they know nothing about.
It's not supposed to be like this, right? In the U.S., we're supposed to have good regulatory agencies that root this kind of thing for us. But that system is under fire.
Last month, the Consumer Products Safety Commission said Fisher-Price was recalling 4.7 million of its Rock 'n' Play sleepers.
It seems like the responsible thing -- but then, you see that both Consumer Reports and the American Academy of Pediatrics had been urging the product be recalled for years beforehand -- saying that it had caused the death of at least 32 infants.
It all adds up to something very scary. It's hard to believe that in 2019, it's up to the parents, sleep deprived as they probably are when their children are that young, to beware of unsafe from famous companies products and ripoffs from scammers.
Or else, if you're the one with the business, it's up to you.