Silver Consumer Products
Catherine and Peter Drogin
After piling away savings while working at dot-coms in the 1990s, Catherine Drogin, 39, and her husband, Peter, 40, decided it was time to make the switch from employees to entrepreneurs. They also chose a market about as far from the glamour of the Net as they could get: tongue depressors. The Drogins saw their opportunity in 2001 when a pediatrician told them that the worst part of a doctor's visit for children, after getting a shot, is the oral exam. They thought kids might be less scared if the wooden probes were printed with colorful cartoons of dinosaurs or smiley faces. They founded Silver Consumer Products in Brooklyn, N.Y., and spent two years and $50,000 finding a manufacturer in China, test-marketing, and registering with the FDA. Sales took off after major medical-supply distributors added their FunDepressors in 2005, with revenue rising 20% this year. A jar of 200 sells for $22.99. Their business is also profitable, the couple says.
—Sara Hennessey (posted on November 11, 2008)