EMU-aided product, inventor QVC bound Sept. 2
YPSILANTI - Monitoring the QVC shopping network Sept. 2 may be a class project for students of Eastern Michigan University's Phil Rufe, an instructor with EMU's Center for Product Research and Development.
The network will be of interest because the Center's most "famous" client, Janet Brown-Smith, will appear on QVC's "Decade of Discovery" sometime between 2-4 p.m. to sell her "Chase-it" pet toy.
The Plymouth hairdresser will pitch her invention, which has an ergonomic handle designed and produced at EMU's Center.
"I will be going on the air to sell my product, thanks to the wonderful prototype design by EMU. The handle has made such a difference. It's not just another pet toy," said Brown-Smith.
"It's a long road to retail success and she's gotten the furthest of anyone (using the Center) when it comes to consumer products," said Rufe.
After a nationwide search among 5,000 inventors in 10 cities, QVC, a shopping network, selected Brown-Smith as one of only 100 people whose product will get exposure in the QVC National Product Search. Her product, "Chase-it," costs $24.95 and is currently available at www.chaseitpettoys.com.
The toy has a handle on a fiberglass rod, covered with braided nylon, which is tethered to a rope with a stuffed animal attached at the end. Everyone can use the toy, including a person in a wheelchair or anyone with difficulty gripping or arthritis, she said. By swinging the handle and twirling the rod, the toy moves causing animals to run and jump for the toy.
Brown-Smith, who described her QVC experience as an "unbelievable blur," recently went to Sedona, Ariz., to rehearse for her appearance.
Brown-Smith said her QVC appearance would give her invention national exposure and help increase sales.
"It's a high-quality product," she said, pointing out that it has passed QVC's 200-lb. quality assurance crush test. "I'll let the nation find out about it on QVC."
In the future, she plans to offer a smaller version of her pet toy for cats. "If I don't do it myself, someone else will do it," said Brown-Smith.
Created in 2002, the EMU Center offers individuals and companies help with patent searches, product design and prototypes for medical, electronic and mechanical devices. Its projects have included an idea that may save lives and another that saves time and energy. He estimates that about 85 percent of products that come through the Center are consumer-related.
Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their careers and lives, and to be better citizens.
Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.
Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.