Ken Amicon of KissKleen
Meet Ken Amicon, founder of KissKleen, a glass washer invented to better clean barware.
What is KissKleen?
KissKleen is a glass washer, a new design that cleans the inside and the outside of the glass. If you have ever gotten a glass that had lipstick on it, it’s because the device was not used properly. So we patented a design that takes care of the inside and the outside of the glass.
How did you come up with the idea?
Back in September 2010, I woke up with an epiphany. Literally this view in my head. From there, I just started working on it and have been for the past three years.
What was the biggest surprise in starting your business?
I’m not in the restaurant industry, so it was trying to learn it as quickly as I could. That’s really what the biggest issue was for me. Just learning about this business.
I think the other piece of it was the manufacturing. I wanted to build it in Ohio or as close to Ohio as possible. It’s very doable from that prospective, but you have to find the manufacturers.
What does a typical day in your business look like?
Typical day for me right now is, for example, today I’m just wrapping up the business plan. A lot of what I do is finalizing pricing, making sure we have manufacturing set up, and now it’s a matter of getting it into the market, and determining the best way to do that.
What are some of the advantages to doing business in Ohio?
Ohio is great, frankly. I’ve been working with Jeff Shick
over at the Ohio Small Business Development Center. Jeff has been instrumental in introducing me to people, where to go and who to call. There are some great companies here in Ohio. If you look just a little bit in Ohio, you’ll find an enormous amount of help.
What resources or organizations in Ohio did you take advantage of and how did they help?
The Ohio Small Business Development Center, Innovate New Albany
, Big Red Rooster
– these are organizations that are just incredibly open, and Jeff is just a wealth of information. I couldn’t have done it without him, no question about it.
Can you share a funny or amazing entrepreneurial experience with our readers?
Everyday is a laugh a minute. I think the funniest thing is when I initially built it. You’re sitting there, developing this thing right? And when you finally get a prototype that’s not a model and it actually works, it’s like plugging in Frankenstein’s monster. Up to that point, it’s all on paper. The day that we got one and put it in our sink and it worked, it was pretty emotional, that’s for sure.
What inspires you?
When you try to bring a product to market, it’s kind of like raising a child. You work hard to nurture it and bring it forward and get it to crawl and walk and run and off to school – this thing is very similar to that. I believe that we didn’t invent the wheel or spoon, but we believe we have a better mouse trap. Our product solves a need. What I’m inspired by is getting people to know there’s a better alterative. That to me is very exciting.
What founders do you admire and why?
Steve Jobs. Look at what he’s done and the products he has created. You hardly wake up without touching something he’s created. I think that’s amazing.
What’s next for you?
To convince people that we indeed have a better mouse trap. That’s really the number one thing.
Interview by Joe Baur