The two guys who invented those New Year’s Eve glasses with the year on them are shutting down their business in the face of declining profits from cheap knockoffs and a poorly placed “1” in 2010.
The Seattle Times: They thought they dreamed up a winner — that night of Jan. 27, 1990, when over some beers at a Ballard apartment, Richard Sclafani and Peter Cicero were doodling ideas on paper.
Their brilliant invention was those plastic, glow-in-the-dark, New Year’s Eve glasses shaped like the year…
Their first Glow-Year Glasses were marketed for 1991, and since then, Sclafani and Cicero have sold 1.2 million of them.
Then came the knockoffs:
“Some people were selling them on the street for 25 cents,” says Sclafani. “I always knew we had competition. I didn’t know we’d get knocked pretty much out of business.”…
For 2009, Sclafani had 10,000 glasses made and has sold only 2,800…
“I get depressed on New Year’s Eve,” says Sclafani. “It used to be such a thrill to turn on the TV, and there were our glasses! Now, all I see is knockoffs.”
But at least for now, the pair won’t have to contend with one of their biggest business frustrations: being unknown.
They’ve never gotten proper recognition for their idea — patent number 335,134, “Novelty Eyeglass Frames.”
“Nobody knows who we are,” says Sclafani.
Hat Tip to Gothamist
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