One entrepreneur promises to make you look flawless … in a snap.
Allan Shoemake, founder of the LuMee case, claims to have created the "first smartphone case for the selfie generation." The idea: to light front-facing camera users while they take selfies, Skype or FaceTime so they can look amazing, even in the dark.
"In clubs and in bars, you can actually take a selfie where you can't take one now," Shoemake said.
A professional photographer with more than 30 years of experience, Shoemake consistently found himself disappointed by less than picture-perfect video chats and selfies. So he decided to come up with a solution.
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Working with an electrical engineer, he developed his patented LuMee smaprtphone case, which has built-in LED lights to "bathe the user of the front-facing camera in soft, flattering light while at the same time protecting their cell phone case," said Shoemake. The LuMee case can double as an instant flashlight as well as a handy makeup mirror. The case is charged separately and can last up to two hours on full brightness.
Shoemake recently was given 30 seconds to pitch his company to Shark Tank's "Mr. Wonderful," Kevin O'Leary. The millionaire entrepreneur and no-nonsense investor was impressed—and baffled by the fact that LuMee currently has no competitors.
"It's just one of those things where you come up with the idea and you think, 'Oh, it's probably already out there.' But it wasn't," Shoemake said.
He went on to explain that there are several cell phone apps that provide light for front-facing camera users, but none provide sufficient lumens. "Cell phone case companies are focused solely on phone protection," he said.
Since the official launch of the LuMee case in September 2014, the start-up has sold approximately 4,500 cases. It recently shipped cases to Nordstrom and just signed an agreement with JCrew. "At our current sales rate, we look to be profitable in six to seven months," said Shoemake.
Currently, the LuMee case is available for the iPhone 5/5s, iPhone 6/6 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S5. The Samsung S6 model will be on the market in July. His cases retail for $39.95 for the iPhone 5/5s and $44.95 for the other models.
Based in Boonton Township, New Jersey, LuMee has one full-time and three part-time employees. To date the start-up has raised $62.5K in funding, a combination of owner contributions and angel investor capital. Shoemake told CNBC he plans to introduce future product lines, including tablet cases, fashionable silicone covers and integration of the lights with the cell phone functions.
Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."