It all started with a goal to create something that would remove sand from the putting greens on golf courses.
Eben Dobson’s lightweight, bristle comb broom swept the particles into the grass with ease.
“Sand was all over the putting green from people hitting bunker shots, and they were slapping it with their towels and hats and stuff,” said Dobson, the creator of the Wisp. “I said, there should just be a little brush here that could help sift that sand into the grass.”
What the Solana Beach man didn’t realize at the time was that he may have actually reinvented the household broom. He said the lightbulb went off in his head when workers from the Lomas Santa Fe Golf Course informed him that people were purchasing his product for their homes.
For the last seven years, Dobson has marketed the Wisp as an easier-to-use broom that can be used on any surface, including hardwood, concrete and carpet in one fell swoop.
“The bristles create a seal to the surface, like a squeegee,” he explained. “Everything in its path is captured with a very easy motion. ... The whole intent of our product line — based on what consumers have told us — is to make life a little easier.”
But asking people to use a different type of everyday household item hasn’t been easy, Dobson said.
“We literally have tried to de-commoditize or ask people to change the way they’ve been doing something for centuries,” he said.
Thankfully, the product — which comes in small, medium and large sizes — has had no shortage of exposure this year. It was featured on “Good Morning America” and “Shark Tank,” where Kevin O’Leary offered Dobson $500,000 for his product.
The inventor declined.
"[Kevin] saw enough to try to buy a big piece of the company for a fairly significant sum of money,” Dobson said. “My instincts at the time were to see if I could get Lori [Greiner] to be involved with it because I thought, of the Sharks, she’d be the greatest partner for us in the future to help with the consumer goods brand with her QVC connections and all the phenomenal things she’s done with products in the past.”
He said although he declined, he felt like “Shark Tank” provided great exposure for his brand.
Shortly following the taping, Dobson received a fateful call from Greiner. She wanted to feature his product on QVC.
“We couldn’t be more than happy to have her on board,” he said, adding the Wisp is now being shown on QVC, just in time for holiday shopping.
“Lori doesn’t represent products that she doesn’t think are fantastic.”
Because of how lightweight and easy-to-use the Wisp is, Dobson said he believes his brand is ideal for anyone and could change the way people handle an everyday chore.
“I did not develop the Wisp or any of our products to sell to people,” he said. “What I did was listen to what people wanted and made what they would buy. People helped me build the Wisp and all of our products.”
For more information, visit www.thewisp.com.