Olugbenga “Tumi” Oredein won the grand prize for the nationwide Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. “Get on the Shelf” competition on Nov. 4. Oredein is a graduate student studying product innovation in VCU’s Da Vinci Center, and his product will be sold online at Walmart.com.
Oredein’s product, SKRIBS, won the grand prize in the below $40 category. His invention is a wristband that kids can write on with almost any utensil, and then erase by swiping their finger or a tissue across the band’s surface. Oredein’s product is available at www.skribs.com, or on Wal-Mart’s website. Oredein won the competition after three rounds of competition, and a final round of preorders.
“We just tried to generate as much word about the product as possible,” Oredein said. “We took a video at the science museum talking to parents and kids and we put that on Youtube. The PR we got was substantially higher,” Oredein said on how he generated enough preorders to win the grand prize.
SKRIBS won the “Kids stuff” category during the audition round, and Oredein went on to place as grand-prize winner out of all the categories which included “Made in the USA,” “Great gadgets,” “Kids stuff,” “Around the house” and “Live better.”
The grand prize winner is granted the opportunity to sell their product through Walmart.com and are also given valuable marketing support, according to Wal-Mart’s website. Oredein said this is especially important because the winners are introduced to merchandising executives who decide what products are put in stores.
“Last year all the finalists ended up being sold in stores, so if we do well online it’ll be brought into the stores,” he said.
The contest ran from July of this year until Nov. 4. The competition was comprised of three stages: a submission period, audition round, and preorder period, where the grand-prize winner was determined. Wal-Mart selected Oredein as one of five finalists in his category of the audition round of the competition announced Sept. 19.
Oredein said he feels confident that he has a shot of having SKRIBS sold in stores, but in unsure what his next project will be.
“My ideal situation involves me being able to pursue my own invention ideas. Whether I do that 100 percent of the time or pursue my ideas part-time while working with a company is still up in the air,” Oredein said. “The SKRIBS endeavor was not really in the plans, so it’s tough to predict my future at this point.”