Dr. Christian Hahn, the owner of Ideal Dentistry in Prospect and a father who invented Frogglez Goggles for his children, spent more than a year in negotiations with Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT).
And he learned a lot from the process that convinced him to pursue other options besides Wal-Mart, which doesn’t want to sell the goggles at the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.
The goggles are made of materials used in wet suits. They don’t pull hair, are easy to put on and float in water.
After receiving a patent in 2013, Hahn has worked with chains such as Wal-Mart and Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ: BBBY) to sell the goggles.
“When we first launched the company, we wanted to be everywhere,” Hahn said.
The result: Frogglez Goggles are available online and in 250 Wal-Mart stores, 30 Bed Bath & Beyond stores, 250 Kroger stores and 30 buybuy BABY stores as well as One Step Ahead. Online, the goggles are for sale at Amazon.com, Costco Wholesale Corp. (NASDAQ: COST) and soon online at Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT).
But as Hahn went through the process of obtaining vendor numbers from the retailers, he realized his business philosophy doesn’t quite fit with that of Wal-Mart.
“Do I want to be a mass-market discount merchandiser,” he said, “or do I want to create a new experience in the swim goggle market?”
He chose the latter, he said, because Wal-Mart wanted prices that are too low to make a profit.
So as Frogglez Goggles see dwindling days at Wal-Mart, Hahn is focusing on other retailers that will sell his product at the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, $19.95. Currently, Wal-Mart sells Frogglez in stores for $16.96. Locally, the goggles are sold at SwimVilleUSA, Brilliant Sky Toys & Books and Snazzy’s Consignment.