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2006 Best in Category: Lighting & Home Décor and Outdoor Living

Mark Feldstein & Assoc., Inc.

Illuminator Radio Flashlight

Best known for its broad assortment of gift and home décor items, Mark Feldstein & Associates development of the Illuminator Radio Flashlight served to not only expand its product mix, but also expand the company’s retail base into the hardware segment.

Unbeknownst to the company’s president, Mark Feldstein, the combination radio/flashlight would also be a winning entry in the 2006 Housewares Design Awards, taking top honors in the lighting and decorative accessories category.

“Winning this award is a substantiation of the time and effort everyone here puts into designing and bringing products to market,” said Feldstein. “At times we go unnoticed, but we are very excited to receive this honor.”

In an era of wireless technology where rechargeable items such as MP3 players and mobile phones are common, the Illuminator Radio Flashlight captures that same spirit. Combining a flashlight and radio into one compact unit, the item uses no batteries or bulbs. It features a renewable source of energy that when wound for 30 seconds, produces 30 minutes of light and sounds. In addition, the light emitted is through LED technology, eliminating the need for traditional light bulbs.

Feldstein noted that development of the Illuminator came from the company’s ongoing desire to bring products to market that mesh quality, with functionality and, where appropriate, unique features and sounds at pricepoints that are palatable to a broad range of consumers.

“The one thing we did not want to do is bring to market another inexpensive flashlight,” he said. “We wanted the product be unique and the self-winding feature and LED technology for the flashlight speak to that.”

The item has also been a hit with retailers across a number channels including mass, specialty, hardware and drug. “It’s one thing to get the initial sell-through, but we have been getting a large number of reorders, as well,” Feldstein added.

While the initial development of any product is fraught with challenges, perhaps the more daunting and important task is developing packaging that conveys the features of benefits of the item to consumers while also providing them an opportunity to touch and feel the product.

“For some of our larger retail customers, the traditional clamshell packaging works well,” Feldstein explained. “But many of our smaller gift store customers want something different and typically like packaging that has a ‘try me’ feature while doubling as a gift box.”

As a result, the company developed a giftable package that features on the back a small opening that provides consumers an opportunity to try the features of the Illuminator Radio Flashlight. “Typically once [consumers] see how the product works, they buy it,” he added.

Unlike other gift or décor products offered by the company, which tend to come an go with the trends, Feldstein feels the Illuminator Radio Flashlight is an item that is evergreen and will be a staple in his company’s product catalog for years to come.

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