Would you ever buy your baby a onesie that's also a mop? I mean, hey, he was down there anyway, right? It's not like you handed him a mop.
There are products that are just plain wacky (like bacon breath mints) and then there are products like the baby mop that make you go – well, that's wacky, yes, but also kinda practical.
They're totally wacktical!
What's more, they do their own advertising in the form of all of us talking about them.
"Wacky products have an advantage. They get our attention.Anything that is different than the norm will always get customers looking at it," said Mike Michalowicz, a consultant for entrepreneurs and the author of "The Pumpkin Plan" and "The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur."
"I think there is a significant population that is more likely to purchase a fundamentally silly product if they feel that it might somehow actually be used. Emotionally,the barrier to spending money is lowered and consumers can justify a higher purchase price," said George Shea, a media-relations pro and half of the dynamic brother duo behind the Coney Island hot-dog eating contest and its governing body, Major League Eating.
Wacky is tricky, though – you can't be TOO wacky or people won't buy them, Michalowicz cautioned. And, in some cases, they get old fast,so you have to make sure you keep evolving the product or coming up with the next wacky variation or next wacky thing, he said.
You wanna see some wacktical? Yeah you do! Here's a look at some truly wacktical products:
$40 on www.betterthanpants.com/baby-mop.html
Yeah, yeah, your baby is the cutest. He's so cute he could be a baby model. But what else does he do?
Enter Baby Mop, a onesie with mops on the arms and legs so your baby can mop while he's crawling around being the cutest baby ever.
"Love it!" Michalowicz said. "It's perfect for moms and dads that want to make their baby the center of attention."
Plus, according to the Better Than Pants website that sells it, it will teach your baby a strong work ethic early, your baby will learn to not waste food, your baby will have toned muscles and it will save you time so you can do more important things than mopping.
"Hang on!" you say. "I am offended by the very notion you would use my child as a household mop."
"It is offensive and that is its charm!" Shea said, but added he thinks it has "zero functionality."
(Unless, of course, you could have your Roomba train your baby to mop in straight lines and around furniture.)
"Perfect for America's cutest home videos!" Michalowicz said.
$28 on www.beardowear.ca
So, your chin gets cold – I mean REALLY cold -- but you're either 1) too young to grow facial hair,2) one Y chromosome short of a beard or 3) too cool for a ski mask.
Enter Beardo, a crocheted beard that attaches to your hat with Velcro.
"This may be the coolest piece of headwear I've ever seen!"UFC fighter Mac Danzig told Beardo.
"This is perfect for the snowboarder who wants attention.You just need to have the skills to back it up!" Michalowicz said.
Possible tagline? "Be the hairiest snowboarder on the mountain!" Michalowicz said.
Shea cautions that this is one of those wacktical products with a short shelf life and it's important for a company like this to be thinking of the next thing.
But the kids at Beardowear are already on it: They've got BeerMo's -- mustaches that clip onto your beer bottle, baby bottle or other bottle that give you an instance mustache when you're drinking! At first they seem just wacky but then ding! You realize they're also practical -- they come in different colors so you can tell which bottle is yours!
Don't you just hate when you mix up your baby bottle and your beer bottle?
$99 on www.studiobananathings.com
Everyone knows how awesome napping is; but honestly, who has time for a nap?
Enter the Ostrich Pillow, a pillow that slides over your head (with a breathing hole, of course), that lets you take a nap anywhere – from your desk to the airport.
It's wacky, yes, and expensive, too, but enough people believed in it that it raised more than double its goal on Kickstarter, clocking in at $195,094.
"It's perfect for offices trying to recruit long-hour-working employees!" Michalowicz quipped.
"Ostrich pillow is great because it suggests people would actually nap at their desk in this manner and pokes fun at the person to whom it is given as a slacker," Shea said. "By the way, my friend, Kevin, naps by lying under his desk."
It might be a hard sell for the mainstream, Michalowicz said, but he's got a tagline ready to go: "Finally, you can sleep on the job!"
Power Nap Capsule
$25,000 at www.hammacher.com
Leave it to Hammacher Schlemmer to find the $25,000 nap solution – for the, um, serious napper who has everything. Inspired by NASA,the power nap capsule is made of calfskin leather, foam and fiberglass-reinforced plastic. It is billed as a product that contours to your body, relieves pressure points on the back, encourages proper spinal alignment,improves circulation and facilitates optimal relaxation.
Heck, for $25,000, it should also make me a sandwich! ( A really good sandwich. With truffles or something.)
Light Therapy Visor
$100 on www.hammacher.com
This time of year, it seems like by the time the coffee kicks in, you're ready for a nap. And by 4 p.m., you're ready to call it a night.
Enter the Light Therapy Visor (cryptic name, eh?), a visor with LED lights that emit "daylight spectrum light," the light blocks the sleep hormone melatonin, making you more alert and energetic.
Sure, you'll look a blackjack dealer at the kids' table but most importantly, you'll be alert!
If you're worried about the goofy factor, consider this: You only have to wear it for 20-30 minutes in the morning. Your significant other has already smelled your morning breath and seen that weird growth on your back so the cool mirage has long since passed!
And, if there's ever a power outage (I'm looking at you, NYC),you are totally set with a hands-free, battery-powered light source!
GPS Navigation Shoes
Not available for purchase. More info: www.dominicwilcox.com
Sure, you could look up an address using the maps program on your phone and you'll get there just fine (providing you're not using Apple Maps). But what if your shoes already knew where they were going?
Enter GPS shoes, an invention by Dominic Wilcox commissioned by Global Footprint in Northamptonshire, U.K., a product featured in the WiredStore this holiday season (www.store.wired.com).
Here's how they work: You upload your destination to the shoes via mapping software and a USB cable that plugs into the GPS device,located in the heel of the shoe. One shoe has a circle of lights to point you in the right direction (whichever light is lit – walk that way) and the other shoe has a "progress bar of lights" – kind of like the Domino's pizza tracker –so you know how close you are to your destination. Green light and you're there!
The inside of the shoes are made of red calf leather, which is no coincidence. It's a nod to Wilcox's inspiration – Dorothy's ruby slippers in "The Wizard of Oz."
There's no place like… hey, shoes, where are we going again?!
MakerBot Replicator 3DPrinter
$2,200 on www.robotshop.com
3D printers sound like something out of a sci-fi movie but,in fact, inventors use them all the time. It's not for making whatever pops into your head come to life (e.g., sizzling bacon) but it does make 3D prototypes out of PLA, a renewable bioplastic that you can get in a variety of colors. (That's right, this 3D printer is in color!)
If you're still dubious of the powers of a 3D printer, MakerBot has a store in New York at 298 Mulberry Street, where you can get actual 3D printing demos.
MakerBot's web site www.Thingiverse.com offers owners of 3D printers to share what they made – everything from a Duplo hexagon railroad crossing to Universal Servo Driven Tank Tracks.
Leave it to the Japanese to figure out what we really want to make from a 3D printer – customized action figures! You know mine would be Super Bacon Girl. (www.omote3d.com/index.html)
Dogs Who Can Drive
For adoption at www.drivingdogs.co.nz
We couldn't, in good conscience, do a piece about wacky but practical, and not acknowledge these New Zealand pooches who can drive a car!
It started out as a gimmick by the SPCA in New Zealand to get people to adopt them but the truth is, these dogs – Cali, Calypso, Taho,Chardonnay, Haylee and Genesis -- can actually drive. And they've got about 8 million witnesses (views) on YouTube to prove it!
OK, they require a trainer to be calling out the commands, but still, their skills behind the wheel are pretty impressive! More impressive, than say, many of the drivers on my commute this morning. There, I said it!
Would you buy any of these items or adopt a dog who could drive? Drop your comments in the box below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.