Do large companies really seek outside innovation? If so, are they continuing to do so in our current economy? As an independent inventor, what is the best way to submit my product idea? These are some of the most popular questions that plague people with inventions. I went straight to the source to give you the answers – Lifetime Brands. If you don’t believe me and if you haven’t been convinced by the success of other independent inventors, believe Dan Siegel, the Executive Vice President of Corporate Innovation Strategies at Lifetime Brands, Inc.
If you aren’t familiar with Lifetime Brands, you may recognize some of the more popular brands they market their products under: Mikasa, Pfaltzgraff, Farberware, Cuisinart and KitchenAid.
In 2008, Lifetime Brands introduced 4,600 new or redesigned products. In 2009, they expect to introduce over 5,000 new or redesigned products.
Dan explained the many ways in which Lifetime Brands develops new ideas.
“We have an internal design department – they’re our core engine team that works on all products. We also have a team of people who travel the world looking at trends both inside and outside of our industry. We rely on their reports as both an external and internal tool. Lifetime Brand is also open to ideas from the outside. We have recently begun to actively pursue new outside ideas,” Seigel explained.
What are some of the benefits of working with Lifetime Brands, instead of bringing a product to market on your own?
“Speed. If we like your product, we turn it over to our design team to turn the ideas into saleable products quickly. Size. Once produced, we have a great distribution network that covers virtually every major retailer in the U.S. It’s a win-win situation. Lifetime gets additional innovative items, and the inventor gets up-front fees and a continual royalty for the idea.”
What are some of the latest outside innovations Lifetime Brands has picked up?
“Products geared towards value and innovation are the hottest movers right now. Due to the current economic climate, consumers are moving toward exceptional values and/or great concepts. If you can combine the two — which we have — you can generate a lot of excitement. For example, a product that we are launching that happened to have come from an outside inventor is called Speed Prep, the one-handed mandoline slicer. It will most likely be one of our biggest-selling kitchen gadgets in 2009.”
Another such product is a newly designed splatter screen. Dan explained that “a gentleman who designs athletic bags with an odor-absorbing carbon fabric and who also happens to love cooking pungent foods came up with a way to put a carbon fabric inside a splatter screen.” The result? An odor-absorbing splatter screen.
Lifetime Brands seeks products that are used in preparation of food, such as kitchen gadgets, cutlery, cookware and bakeware.
Interested in submitting to Lifetime Brands? Seigel advised the following.
“Please include a thorough description of the product and reference to where in the patent process the project stands, in addition to any renderings, CAD drawings or prototypes that may be available. Lifetime Brands has a standard NDA that may be signed by both parties, upon request.”
Contact Warren Tuttle (722 Silvermine Road, New Canaan, CT 06840, 203-594-8808, firstname.lastname@example.org) to do so!