The Shaper Image has been in business since 1977. Business was slow at first, but suddenly took off in 1979. They made their first million that year. Below is an excerpt from their monthly newsletter detailing the events that sparked the drastic financial upturn.
[Letter is not authentic. It is a fabrication of my imagination, although any events that actually did occur are by pure coincidence.]
By David Sharper and Engval Image
January 6, 1979
The past year has proven to be an unaccommodating and taxing financial year for The Sharper Image, Inc. Beyond the strain on the nationwide economy and the burden on the average American, we remain optimistic for our future. We have some sensational conceptions of where we would like to take our product line in the coming year.
What have we learned this past year? We have learned a lot about the consumerism of fans. The small handhold fans are hardly worth the $39.99 we charge. People also feel self conscious about holding a tiny fan up to their face in public. We have also learned that there is a very limited market for the underwater fan that increases the swimming speed of the average scuba diver. As it turns out, divers don't want to hold a large fan while diving. They would rather use their hands for things like moving scuba equipment, taking pictures, swimming and saving other divers. Who would have thought?
There were other miscalculations: Our line of tiny travel pillows was discontinued when we learned that airlines were providing a free pillow at no charge! We also learned that the key hiding rock proved very befuddling to those that have a yard that is a rock garden. Finally, we completely miscalculated the public's lack of demand for the life size, $2,000 Spidermen. We may want to rethink the price of those or stop making them of pure granite. We will continue to offer all of these products, but on a very limited basis.
Despite our misfortune, we are super charged (with our line of $25.00 alkaline batteries) for the products we have in store for 1979. There is one particular item that has both Mr. Image and myself hopping with jubilant elation. A brainchild of one of our MIT trained scientists, this product has the potential to overtake the world. We feel that it is so full of possibilities, that it will have our competitors scrambling for an answer. This product will put The Sharper Image on the map.
The future of our company rests upon a product that does the unthinkable - It trims nose hair! Now clean up the coffee you just spit all over your desk before you read on... Got it? Okay... allow me to continue. Not only does it trim nose hair, but it does it with an, now hold onto your seats, ELECTRIC MOTOR!
Again, we know what you're thinking: What self respecting man sticks a moving blade up his nostrils? Certainly a valid question. Well, included in today's newsletter is a free travel sized version of this product. Give it a try. If you do not like it, no hair off your nose. But we have a strong feeling that this will be a smashing success and move our company into an entirely new hemisphere. Or, dare I say, rhinosphere.
We do not have a name for this product yet. Finding the perfect name has become tiresome and arduous. As a result, we have created a company-wide competition to find the perfect name. Please place your ideas in the giant jar on Barb's desk. (Please do not mistake the entry jar on her desk with the other jar that she uses to collect the business cards of all of the crazy people that enter our office with some insane idea for our next catalog. Like that guy, Daryl Frattenhouse and his demented product, the "self massaging chair".) Make sure your name is on the back as the winner will receive the entire stock of leftover miniature air purifiers from the October catalog! (The winner will get the 2" model, not the full foot longer.)
And this is not the end of our good news! As of Friday, David Sharper and I have struck a deal with a magazine entitled, "Skymall." This is a brand new magazine that will be placed on every Continental flight! Our consumers will have the opportunity to browse this periodical while they are traveling to Tuscon, Calgary or even Fort Worth. Our researchers have concluded that people are more bored while flying than ever before. Many even forget reading material and find themselves desperate for even the slightest entertainment. Picking up the free magazine in the front pocket of there chair will occur in 90% of continental flights and 72% of transatlantic flights.
What is even more exciting is that our research shows that 60% of airline passengers are bothered by their nose hair during flights of two hours or less. Apparently, by sitting so close to other passengers with long nose hair, they become more self absorbed by their own nose hair. The hair begins to tingle and tickle until it becomes such an annoying quagmire that they are relegated to unruly rubbing and picking. 70% of the 60% previously mentioned say that they would happily pay upwards of $50.00 for something that would rid them of this irksome dilemma. (The research has an accuracy rate of + or - 39%.)
We feel confident that the strife of the last year will begin to turn into anti-strife and yes, even un-strife. We appreciate you for all of your hard work and innovative ideas. However, we feel that this one idea is going to put us over the top of our competition. While your ideas have counted, they do not count nearly as much as the one George Q. Tweezers had when he thought of this one. Thank you and sorry. So here's to a new year of success and glory!
David Sharper and Enval Image
Presidents and CEOs of The Sharper Image
The Shaper Image declared bankruptcy on February 19, 2008. Consumer insiders state that their downfall was their inability to create an updated method of trimming nose hair in the new millennium. Of course, their dedication to the giant Spiderman statue did not help either, despite nationwide yearly sales of 7.
Let it be known that Carlton Schuller won the naming contest for the new product. His thoughtful and impressive entry "The Nose Hair Trimmer" won critical praise and the lifelong supply of 2 inch air purifiers. In 1989 he was given a lifetime achievement award by the academy. He died in 2004 of a hemorrhage to the left fibula.
That is all. Thank you and good night!