Entrepreneur Stories and Featured Entrepreneurs
How Matt Moman Got Rich
Written by Chris Martin for Gaebler Ventures
Have you ever noticed an innovative object -- often something small or trivial -- which prompted you to ask, "I wonder who thought of that?" Chances are, the answer is an entrepreneur. Exhibit A: the New Corona Extra Lime Bottle Opener.
Unlike many church key or "pop off" type bottle openers, the so-called "limer" is shaped exactly like a half lime -- so it fits easily in the palm of your hand.
But the flat side has an indention which fits over the top of a glass bottle and allows you to remove the cap with a twist of your wrist. In addition, the indentation is magnetic, so it holds the cap firmly until you can dispose of it properly.
So who thought of the New Corona Extra Lime Bottle Opener?
Matt Moman, entrepreneur and owner of Moman Sales, which specializes in... plastic flowers.
Moman says that he got the idea during a business trip to San Francisco in 2007 for a trade show. While perusing through the latest faux flora offerings, he noticed plastic limes which looked and felt much like the real thing. His "aha" moment came a few days later... while sipping a beer.
Subsequently, Moman contacted Winward International, the company which sold the plastic limes. With the company's help, Moman fashioned some crude protoypes in his garage. After some trial and error, Moman came up with a design he liked... and proceeded to file a patent for his creation.
In the summer of 2008, Moman approached Grupo Modelo, the conglomerate which owned the Corona beer brand. Corona's advertising images commonly show their product offerings accented with a lime wedge atop an open beer bottle, so the limer was a natural fit with Corona's branding. Despite only having his pending patent and a pre-production sample, the executives at Grupo Modelo were impressed enough to offer Moman a contract in early 2009.
How did these products go over with the public?
The following autumn, the company's initial run of just over 5,000 limers sold out rapidly. So Grupo Modelo ordered tens of thousands more to be sold in grocery stores and on the beermaker's official website in advance of the 2010 summer season.
Moman says he hopes that some 250,000 units will be sold by the end of 2010 at a retail price of about $8 apiece. In other words, a whimsical idea involving plastic fruit may soon result in a multi-million dollar revenue generator for one of the biggest beer producers in the world.
But Moman isn't resting on his laurels. He plans to create a "second-generation" New Corona Extra Lime Bottle Opener which is even more lifelike - and may even be accompanied by a lime scent. Grupo Modelo officials say that sales of limers have skyrocketed and show no signs of slowing down.
Perhaps the moral of this story is that ideas for successful products can come from anywhere. So if you're an entrepreneur, you should always remember that small ideas can turn into hugely successful products.
Even if all you do is sell plastic flowers.
Chris Martin has been a professional writer for the last seven years. He is interested in franchises and equity acquisition.
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