Orca Communications Client Spotlight: Grand Fusion Housewares

May 20, 2022 | Amanda Green

Welcome to the Orca Communications PR client spotlight. Each month our clients tell you in their own words why they do what they do and provide tips for other growing small brands and businesses. 

In honor of National Inventors Month, we spoke to Brendan Bauer, Co-Founder of Grand Fusion Housewares, Inc. Brendan is part of a small group of housewares industry veterans who search the globe for innovative new products to bring to retailers. 

How did you and your co-founders come up with the concept for Grand Fusion Housewares?  

My business partners are Hilton Blieden and Della Ou. The three of us worked together at a previous company and had great chemistry working together with complementary skill sets.  We felt like we could join forces to build a really fun and innovative company.  So we all got on a plane and traveled overseas to see if we could find some innovative products to distribute in the North American market.  On that trip, we found some winning products that we were excited about, and Grand Fusion was born. 

Over time, a few members of the inventor community also started to reach out with ideas. Our first few inventor partnerships also worked out really well and we started to aggressively expand our outreach to encourage new item submissions.  As a result, we’re now helping inventors from around the world bring their cool ideas to market. And, we’re also working with several of those inventors to help us develop and bring some of our own items to market as well.

Your company includes a lot of great brands and products, how do you determine which inventions you work with? 

At first we really didn’t have a lot of focus as we were just trying to find some categories where we could secure retail distribution with customers we’d worked with in the past. We picked items we were excited about and took it from there. Over time, as we started to gain traction in certain product categories, we started to narrow the categories we sell and we’re now trying to develop deeper product lines so that we can be a more important supplier to our retail customers.  Our best categories right now include Kitchen Organization, Gadgets, Products that Keep Beer & Wine Cold, Travel, Eco-friendly Cleaning, Laundry, and Pet items.  We try not to stray too far outside those categories.

 “Inventor” means different things to different people. What is your definition of an inventor? 

An inventor is a creative person who is never satisfied with the status quo.  They’re always trying to come up with ways to do something differently or better.  That may mean developing a completely original concept. Or, it could just be thinking of ways to make an existing item a little better. 

What is your favorite part about what you do?

My passion is working with creative people to bring really cool new ideas to market.  And, I also love selling to and interacting with Grand Fusion’s customers.  It’s very rewarding when you can work with a retail partner to help them grow their business and offer innovation to their customers.

What is your number one piece of advice for entrepreneurs launching a new product?

Proceed cautiously and seek as much outside counsel as you can from friends, family, mentors, etc.  Don’t bet the farm and spend a ton of money developing your idea until you validate that the concept has commercial appeal.  Grand Fusion has been successful by making a lot of low cost calculated bets on a large number of new items. The risk of failure in this business is high so do your homework before you start to spend money.

What’s one thing you like about working with Orca Communications? 

I feel like the culture at Orca Communications is very similar to Grand Fusion’s.  Our account reps are really responsive and in tune to our business. They collaborate with us on ideas. And, they are a pleasure to work with. And, of course, we’ve secured a lot of really positive media coverage as a result of their efforts to help promote Grand Fusion.

What’s the best way for an inventor to get in touch with you?

Go to our website or email me at brendan@grandfusionhousewares.com.  Please don’t call.  We don’t have enough time in the day to speak to all the inventors who reach out to us. But, if you email us some basic information about your idea, we’ll try our best to respond in a timely manner.  And, usually even if the submission is not a fit for us, we’ll try to offer a little constructive advice.  I got my start in the business in 1996 by helping launch a really cool inventor item called un-du adhesive remover.  We got a lot of help from really nice people along the way so we try to pay it back as much as we can with others following that same path.