Megan Eddings moved to Houston to work in medical-equipment sales, but a household issue prompted a rethink. When her husband's persistently malodorous workout gear began to annoy her, she hatched the idea of creating a smell-repelling fabric. A chemist by training, Eddings turned her obsession into Accel Lifestyle, which makes "stink-proof" activewear. She discussed her startup with her mentor, Tilman Fertitta, whose TV show, Billion Dollar Buyer, has helped startups make a deal with one of his companies. Her fabric could be used in chefs' outfits--and Fertitta has more than 500 restaurants. --As told to Bill Saporito
Fertitta: How long have you been working on this, Megan?
Eddings: I started developing the fabric about three years ago. I didn't officially launch until recently, because it took a long time. I actually invented the fabric. My background is in chemistry, and
I was tired of throwing away my husband's stinky workout clothes. It was driving me nuts.
Fertitta: Y'all ever think about throwing his clothes in the washing machine?
Eddings: That's what was driving me nuts. You can wash that kind of dry-fit, polyester-type material, but the moment he started sweating in it again, the shirt became--I coined this term--activated.
Fertitta: How can I help?
Eddings: A lot of times, people say wholesaling might not be the best way to go, because if my white T-shirt is sitting there and it's $70, and a Hanes white T-shirt is also sitting there and it's $20, it's going to be tough for someone to spend that $70 until they have familiarity with the brand. But I believe the way to get the brand out there would be through wholesale. What do you think?
Fertitta: You have a unique product, but I don't think you're going to be able to sell it to a big retailer at this point. I don't think you could even scale up to produce enough. What you want to do is find some little boutique stores around town that could carry your product. Do you have a huge label that explains what it is?
Eddings: No, and, actually, I saw that in one of your Billion Dollar Buyer episodes. I have a hang tag that briefly describes just the proprietary anti-stink fabric, and says "Made in USA" and "ethical," but I definitely could expand the hang tags, for sure.
Fertitta: I would do something that's real Millennial-looking, with unique fonts--everything that would attract attention. I like the name No-Stink Athletic Wear. It's a catchy name.
Eddings: I'm tooling with something like Anti-Stink. Or, actually, a friend who's in marketing said "Sweat, Don't Smell" fabric.
Fertitta: That's too long. I like No-Stink. Remember, what is Google? What is Yahoo? What is Alphabet? You've got to have catchy phrases today, and I think No-Stink works. Explain what it is and use an organic-looking tag that hangs off the shirt.
Eddings: Perfect. Absolutely. I love the No-Stink. I read this quote--it's funny how quotes stick with you--about a month ago that said, "If you confuse, you lose."
Fertitta: One hundred percent.