Santa Barbara inventor John Bolton celebrated the unveiling of his new product’s national television ad campaign in January, a marketing feat rarely achieved by such a relatively small business. Following the premiere of its commercial on Women’s Entertainment, Fine Living, and FiTV networks, Bolton’s “Euro-Scrub Exfoliating Bath Scrubber” is now selling quickly, attracting attention from QVC and other national sales networks, and putting his small enterprise into competition with Oil of Olay and some multinational billion-dollar companies.
Euro-Scrub is a three-part cleaning system consisting of a textured floor mat that scrubs and massages your feet while you stand on it, a wall-mounted cleaning scrubber designed to reach the hardest spots to clean on your back, and a “Beauty Mitt” to clean the rest of you.
For Bolton, the invention was a long road. After breaking ribs in his back years ago, Bolton was long afflicted with the kind of intense, unreachable itching that only broken bones can bring about. Then in 1986, he was in the Montecito YMCA locker room when his attention was drawn to the material on the floor. It was a kind of rough rubber threading that is mainly used for flooring in public locker rooms because of its ability to resist mildew – its back-scratching applications had yet to be discovered. As Bolton puts it: “The idea light bulb went on.”
Being independent of any larger company, Bolton had to build the product and company from the ground up. He put the prototype together by finding materials and fixing them together. He joined an inventor’s club called Inventors Workshop International. He flew to China himself to contact the manufacturers he could not find in America.
He got a contract with Competitive Edge Marketing in San Luis Obispo, who changed the product name from “Flamingo Brand Bath Scrubbers” to “Euro-Scrub.” He waited four years for his patent to come through. He made a demonstration video to show marketing companies, which his wife filmed and for which he modeled.
He decided to bring “Euro-Scrub” to the attention of the nation the same week President Barack Obama became president, hoping for good luck to follow in the momentum of the presidential campaign. Bolton says he and Obama both helped their campaigns soar by “finding the right people.” Being a newcomer to the world of national marketing, he had to make sure he found people who would fight for his product while leaving him in charge.
Bolton attributes much of his product’s success to its simplicity. It wasn’t designed by “top scientists,” as many beauty products claim to be, but simply to scratch an itch. “It’s low-tech,” said Bolton, “and it really works.”
While sometimes he may feel like a little fish, this Santa Barbara inventor is comforted by his success so far. “Most patents never make it to market,” said Bolton, a self-described David in a world of commercial Goliaths. “This is my stone in the slingshot.”