As Walmart battles the damage to its reputation in the wake of the Mexico bribery scandal, in the United States there's still nothing as golden for small vendors as getting a go on the shelves of Walmart stores across the country. With one deal, personal fortunes are made and entrepreneurial success stories are written.
That's why the sky is now the limit for a trio of startup brands that won valuable shelf-space via Walmart's first "Get on the Shelf" crowdsourcing contest: HumanKind Water, Plate Topper and SnapIt Eyeglass Repair Kit.
More than 4,000 inventors, entrepreneurs, and small businesses entered the contest with video submissions for products ranging from household wares and children's toys to organic food and green items, Walmart said in a press release. The winners' products will be carried on Walmart.com and at Walmart stores in the United States.
"Get on the Shelf has brought out the best in American ingenuity and creativity with products that are clever, fun and useful," stated Joel Anderson, president and CEO of Walmart.com. "The three winners demonstrated a deep passion, incredible imagination, and sheer persistence."
Humankind, the grand winner, bottles and sells water in America and then donates 100 percent of its profits to help locations around the globe afford and buld water-sanitation systems. "We will literally save tens of thousands of children's lives," the founder of the Philadelphia-based startup claims in the company's Get on the Shelf video. Walmart.com is selling it for $1/bottle in cases of 12.
PlateTopper, based in San Francisco, enables people quickly and easily to store food right on their dinner plates with a plastic topper. "All you do is press down on your food" on a plate, "and you have this airtight seal," founder Michael Tseng explained in a video. The product is now available on Walmart.com for $19.77.
And SnapIt Eyeglass Repair Kit is a patented screw kit that enables someone to fix eyeglasses in just 30 seconds, inventor Nancy Tedeschi claims. It relies on a unique design for the tiny screws that hold eyeglasses together and enables easy repair. "One day I just kept thinking about a better way," the East Wenatchee, Wash., resident explained. The kit sells on Walmart.com for $4.77.
One key to victory for the winners, Walmart explained, was to go all out. So HumanKind, for instance, had an online "war room" dedicated to the contest, and Plate Topper got a bump from a humorous YouTube video by the wags at Epic Meal Time that has been viewed more than two million times: