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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

Hey Sharks. I’m Trey Brown and I’m Don Brown. We’re two brothers from Los Angeles seeking a $200,000 investment for five percent of our company. 

Imagine a peaceful day on the road – wind blowing, sun shining. You’re bumping your favorite track, cruising down the back streets, just catching a vibe. But then that smell hits you – a nearby landfill, spilled coffee, even forgotten french fries can turn your car from an oasis into a horrible, stinky nightmare.

For years the problem of a stinky ride has been solved by a series of ugly and unstylish air fresheners. So we created Ride Fresh – the world’s finest air freshener brand. I know you guys are probably wondering why paper air fresheners. When you do a little sniffing around you’ll figure out that it’s an untapped market.

In Ride Fresh we offer a subscription-based car air freshener brand with unique scents and designs that’ll be sure to blow you and your customers’ minds. We have amazing scents like wood grain, eucalyptus – I love this one bro – nice – and even your favorite basketball teams. This one smells like winning. Sorry Mark.

Are you okay? You’re kind of still over there. Oh you know what, most marketing move ever. I’m out.

What? That’s it, seriously? Seriously you’ve got to read the room wrong move, wrong time. What are you upset about? Yeah why, what do you think? The one air freshener from the NBA is the team that beat us in the NBA Conference Finals. Got to know that. Cut it out. No it could be, but I’m not… Wow.

Which they’re going to order from you how many dollars of merchandise?

2.1 million dollars in 2023. So it’s like Pep Boys, that kind of thing. Yeah it’s AutoZone, right?

What did you sell last year?

Last year we sold $540,000 and out of that $540,000 was any retail? It was at all subscriptions.

Why does somebody buy a subscription model right for an air freshener for their car, right?

Yeah, so it’s a convenience factor, right? Think ride share drivers, taxi drivers, these types of individuals. If I started with you how long before I cancel? About four months. And how much is the subscription? They range so the base one is you get two a month and we have them in pairs and that’s $8.25 with shipping. And then the highest one…yeah…and the highest one is $10.99.

So 38 cents is our cost landed. Out of the $540,000 you did last year were you profitable? Yes. Yes. What did you make? $40,000 in profit. Wow, $40,000! Yeah, funny enough I’ve done some litigation against one of those air freshener companies that we saw… Um, not to be mentioned. No, not, not this, not this particular one. But anyways… Yeah…Uh…I would say interesting but it’s not…it’s an air freshener…I don’t get what sets them apart from others besides the kind of bad name. I just, I guess I don’t get it. I don’t get it personally.

But why…I mean just off and why… You know “Fresher” they’re going to order from you…how many dollars of merchandise? I wanted to take that person…I think that from a branding standpoint I just think it’s, it’s just, you know, you’re basically saying “fresh” but you’re spelling it… People are gonna be confused when they try to search for it. You’re letting other people basically use the word “fresh” in that space when you could have it on lockdown if you had a more unique brand.

I’m trying to get into their application they had an application through USB since 2020…Might have actually been even before that…Made it in 2018 and I was thinking about it but essentially they were not allowed to register the trademark. So you know…We’ll see if they ultimately get it but at this point it doesn’t look like it.

They did tell me their major differentiator was kind of the way that they’re selling to this subscription model. That was the only way they’ve gone to market. Was very interesting but they were saying Uber drivers, you know those that drive all the time, it’s just easy for them to pop them in and out. And they have different interesting smells but no distinctive characteristic.

I was searching for something patentable of course. From the design perspective if they had it shaped in a very unique shape. Okay that’s a potential for a design pattern but the things are square. If they had at the molecular level okay a truly unique smell you could actually get a patent on the actual substance. But those are usually kept as trade secret. Think about perfumes and colognes. That’s those are super…You know…Hard to… You can’t actually reverse engineer many of those to find out what chemical or what fragrance is involved.

I want to get your opinion on something, you know, relatively simple, right? And trying innovate and go to market with that. So on this guy’s product that we just looked at…Yeah man I mean I think it’s look…In terms of, okay, low cost to manufacture, right? So that’s a positive I think 31 cents, right? Is that would that be about where you put it? I don’t know it’s, it’s, it depends on volumes you know I’m saying it depends if you’re buying a thousand or if you’re buying 100,000 pieces but in terms of like getting to, to get to, to get to an actual sellable product that a benefit of that is that there’s some stamps and tooling that has to be made but there’s not so much so the means that the, the money out of the investment actually goes more towards product and marketing and honestly the marketing is what makes this product.

The subscription plan is a good idea in my opinion…You know…I mean you know they’re playing with it’s a licensing play man they’re trying to get company team logos but you have to have good connections to get those deals and a lot of them cost money, right? You have to pay a fee to be able to use their brand on your product, yeah, right? A lot of times they’ll also take a percentage of anything that’s sold or whatever. I’m not too keen on that stuff but…

And their margins were raised within them you heard them I mean half million dollar sale 40 grand profit and that’s pretty thin and so if some of the licensing now gets me on top of that they might be close to zero profitability…Yeah…Yeah I mean was that year one? I don’t know if that was year one or year…I don’t know where they’re at. That was the most recent year they were saying. Yeah they sold 1.2 million over the past three years…With three years…Yeah…It was just over half a million.

So I mean who knows how much of that money is actually what they’re paying themselves to run the business as well you know what I’m saying? Like…Yep…So I mean there’s $50k $100k each one of them right there. That’s like half of that potentially…Absolutely.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at