Happy Birthday — Hula Hoop

The Hula Hoop turns 50 this year – at least as we know it.  Actually, hoops were used as toys, being pushed along with sticks over 3,000 years ago in Egypt.  Native Americans used hoops as a target for teaching accuracy in hunting.  But then in 1957 Richard Knerr and Arthur Melin of Wham-O started marketing a lightweight plastic version of the Hula Hoop.  They sold over 100 million from January to October of 1958 at $1.98 each. 

Knerr and Melin were not able to patent the Hula Hoop as it had been around for many years.  All they did was make it out of a new material and then market it well.  Which highlights a very important point.  I see people stuck in the “patenting” process – wasting time and money on what may be an insignificant part of their success. 

Keep in mind, most people put too much emphasis on developing their product or idea, and not enough on Marketing.  If you have a new invention:

2% of your challenge – Protecting your Idea (Patent, Trademark, Copyright)

8% of your challenge – Is it a valid idea or product?

90% of your challenge – What is your Marketing Plan?

Most people spend too much initial time, energy and money protecting their idea rather than selling or marketing it.

Knerr and Melin did trademark the name Hula Hoop® and that became the recognized and requested name around the world.  What could you do with your idea – what could you do to tap into the viral power of the masses?  Remember the Pet Rock; the Frisbee?

Here’s more on Inventions and Patents

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9 Responses to “Happy Birthday — Hula Hoop”

  1. Cookeville Weather Guy Says:

    Awesome Dan…appreciate the information on the Hula Hoop and your advice about marketing is SPOT on!! What good is something if you don’t go out and sell it. People would do well to follow what Ron Popeil has done with his RONCO stuff. While he may be annoying, that guy knows how to market his products!


  2. Jay Peroni Says:

    Thanks for the post Dan!

    As a financial advisor to many succesful business owners, I have found that the number one reason businesses fail: inability to execute an effective marketing plan. Every one of us can think of an idea that could make you a millionaire. However less than 1% of the population will actually create and execute a marketing plan. If you have a product, idea, or service do not wait any longer. Dwight D. Eisenhower said it best, “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”

    Today, I received an email from someone who downloaded the first 3 chapters of my book for FREE at http://www.jayperoni.com and his response was he cannot save for retirment because his company doesn’t pay him enough. I don’t mean to be insenstive, but it baffles my mind. We live in a country full of abundance and opportunity. It’s not a failure to be paid, it is a failure to deliver value.

    You get paid directly in the value you provide. If you can create a product, service, or idea that improves people’s lives, you can make more than enough money for retirement. Dan has some great strategies and suggestions in 48 Days and No More Mondays. If more people took advice from people like Dan Miller, Dave Ramsey, and myself the world would be in much better shape financially allowing us as a people to give more to God’s work. It is not that God needs our money but rather a way that we can get to the heart of Christ’s love and show him with our treasure. Love God, love people, but don’t love money. However don’t fail to recognize the power of money and how God can use it as a tool, test and ultimately as a way for you to bring glorify to Him!

    Jay Peroni, CFP
    Author of The Faith-Based Millionaire

  3. Tim Says:

    Hey Dan,

    Right you are on marketing being the focal point. One correction, though… Spud Melin did get a patent on Hula Hoop, but by the time it was granted the craze had come rattling to the ground. Timing is everything.

    Spud Melin and Rich Knerr were master marketers and were responsible for not only the Hula Hoop, but Frisbee, Super Ball, Slip ‘n Slide, Silly String, etc., etc., We’d have have heard of any of those hit playthings had they not been very focused on MARKETING!

    Play Well!

    Tim Walsh
    Author of WHAM-O SUPERBOOK: Celebrating 60 Years Inside the Fun Factory!
    at http://www.theplaymakers.com/WHAM-O/SUPERBOOK.html

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  5. Successful Says:

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  7. Cagney Says:

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  8. Mike Says:

    The rest of your article may have valid points but the 2nd paragraph has an error. Not to be the ant at your picnic- the Hula-Hoop was patented.
    See the following link.

    US 3079728 A

    Enter 3079728

    Hoop Toy by MELIN ARTHUR K on March 5, 1963

  9. Masson Says:

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