When Chris Schutte lost his high-paying corporate job, he wasn't sure what he was going to do next. He'd always dreamed of being an inventor, so he used this time to create his masterpiece: the Hot Dog EZ Bun Steamer. To protect his invention and launch an LLC to market it, he turned to LegalZoom. His story, and the five-and-a-half minute video he submitted in LegalZoom's "What's Your Story" customer video contest, earned him the grand prize of $5,000 and a starring role in LegalZoom's new national advertising campaign.
LegalZoom's "What's Your Story" contest invited customers to share their inspiring stories for a chance to win cash prizes and possibly be featured in a national television commercial. With nearly 50,000 views on YouTube and hundreds of customer stories, LegalZoom proudly awarded Schutte the grand prize, and two first prize awards of $3,000. First prize winner Bridget Lane founded One Mom on a Mission Charity and its offshoot, Helping Hands Bakery to help autistic children. Pete and Christy Sullivan also won first prize for their story about using LegalZoom to create a will.
After reviewing all the video submissions and realizing how many amazing stories there were, LegalZoom decided to award prizes to every qualified entrant. Mike Turner, LegalZoom's Chief Marketing Officer explains, "So many of the stories our customers shared exceeded our expectations: they were compelling, inspiring, and conveyed how LegalZoom was able to help. This inspired us to give every qualified entrant a $100 prize. It's incredibly rewarding to know that we're a part of their success."
MEET THE WINNERS
Grand Prize Winner
From Big Dreamer to Successful Inventor
Chris Schutte had always enjoyed the hot dogs he ate at sporting events, but could never replicate the taste at home. Then one day while he was volunteering at the concession stand at his son's little league field he discovered why. The difference was steamed buns, which makes them warm, soft, and absolutely delicious. That's when it hit him and he asked himself, "I'm already cooking the hot dogs in boiling water, why can't I steam the buns at the same time?" That is how the Hot Dog EZ Bun Steamer was born.
Chris built a prototype that consisted of a simple insert in order to cook your hot dogs and steam the buns at the same time, and he test-marketed the hot dogs with the local firefighters in his community. They were such a hit that he knew he had something special, which is when he turned to LegalZoom. LegalZoom helped him conduct a patent search and file a provisional patent, create an LLC for Chris and his investors, and secure a trademark so his dream could become a reality.
With the legal protection Chris secured from LegalZoom, he was able to take his invention to the International Housewares Show in Chicago, where it was picked up and featured on the evening news. With the publicity Chris received from that show, he was able to secure a deal with the home shopping channel QVC, and is now selling his product nationwide. Subsequently, this past fall, his hot dog invention hit the shelves of stores across America.
First Prize Winners
Helping the Community, Protecting Their Children
LegalZoom's two first prize winners are also making their dreams a reality. After her sons were diagnosed with autism, Bridget Lane was inspired to find a way so that those with autism and other special needs would always have a job through One Mom on a Mission Charity and Helping Hands Bakery. LegalZoom helped Bridget make her dreams come true by helping her establish her nonprofit online, become incorporated, and complete a 501(c) (3) nonprofit filing. Bridget's effort has made a difference in her community by giving those with special needs valuable vocational training at the Helping Hands Bakery.
Pete and Christy Sullivan were also awarded first prize for their touching story about finding peace of mind in busy times. After getting married and having two kids, the Sullivans moved to Boston when Christy was accepted to medical school. Even in the midst of a busy time, the couple still knew they needed to protect their most precious assets-their two children. With the ease and affordability of LegalZoom, they made it happen.
For more information visit:
LegalZoom's YouTube site (includes all of our customer story entries, and more!)