GameTag Success Story
A stay-at-home mother of four from south-west Sydney could make a fortune out of a simple Nintendo DS accessory she invented out of frustration.
Janene Samuel, 42, invented the $20 Gametag - on sale in EBGames stores around the country from tomorrow - after her young kids kept losing their Nintendo DS games, costing the Bankstown mum close to $100 every time.
No matter how many times she told them to pack them away, the games were constantly scattered across the carpet and they were soon being hoovered up by the vacuum cleaner. All four of Samuel's kids - aged between seven and 13 - have a Nintendo DS and the tiny game cartridges were easy to lose on family outings.
"Some people I've spoken to have lost seven or eight games - that's a weekend away for a family, it's almost a mortgage payment for some people lost in a child's toy. It's a huge expense," she said in a phone interview.
Samuel fashioned her first Gametag prototype out of odds and ends she found in her cupboard around Christmas 2008, but it took her another year after patenting the invention to begin trying to commercialise it. They have only been on sale online for about six weeks.
"Other mothers started saying to me 'oh my god, where did you get that from'? In two weeks I had 12 mothers approach me and ask and I said to my husband, 'I think I'm onto something'," she said.
The deceptively simple product consists of a lanyard attached to a keyring that holds eight tags, which are stuck on to the game cartridges. They always remain connected to the handheld games console, even when playing and swapping between games.
Australia's largest video game retailer, EBGames, believes in the invention and has ordered an initial lot of 1000 units, to be sold in its stores around the country. Samuel said she was in negotiations with other distributors and retailers and also hoped to sell the product internationally by the end of the year.
She is also selling the Gametags on her website for $20, and through her local Bankstown and Fairfield markets.
Samuel estimates she has sold over 450 units just through word of mouth. The only comparable products on the market are containers for Nintendo DS games but Samuel said these don't work as kids never put the games back in the box.
"From a child's point of view they never lose the game, so we never get into that situation of $89 down the drain. You pick up the console and you have all your games," she said.
Samuel, who stopped working after having her first child, said she had sunk several hundred thousand dollars into the venture and had much of her extended family around the kitchen table helping her assemble each Gametag. She has enough stock for about 300,000 units so far.
"We're just a normal joe blow family from the suburbs so the stress of the money outlay has been the only downside to the whole thing," said Samuel.
"I didn't really set out to invent something but I'm quite humbled by the interest from everyone. Even old ladies came up to me and said I don't have a DS but I think it's wonderful."
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[Via - SMH]
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