SOUTH SALEM, N.Y. – Five years after Michael Weinstein’s invention took the internet by storm, his hilarious-yet-practical product is getting a new life.
The brainchild of a Howard Stern producer, the mitten-shaped moist wipes have a dirty name that combines an expletive with mittens. Weinstein, a South Salem resident, helped bring the product to market and it became a viral sensation almost immediately, garnering coverage on Huffington Post, Yahoo News, Redbook, BuzzFeed, Parents Magazine, Men’s Health, Pop Sugar and more.
In 2013, Weinstein, a lifelong fan of Stern’s radio show, said he was listening in his car as Stern’s staffers pitched ideas to Mark Cuban, a billionaire investor who is featured on the popular TV show, “Shark Tank.”
Producer Richie Wilson’s pitch to Cuban, mitten-shaped moist wipes, caught the attention Weinstein, a marketer who knows a good idea when he hears one.
“It was unbelievably funny and easily explainable,” Weinstein said. “You get it in a couple of seconds. I actually felt it really did solve a problem.”
Weinstein immediately reached out to Wilson and, the next day, had scheduled a meeting with him in New York City.
“I contacted him and said I can help make your idea become a reality,” Weinstein said. “I took him through the process and he said, ‘Done.’ ”
Thought of as a gag gift, the product also has a very practical uses, Weinstein said, especially when it comes to babies, pets, the autistic community, the elderly and disabled people.
“I’ve even gotten calls from nursing centers that help out people like amputees,” Weinstein said. “It’s been used in the medical community like crazy.”
In 2016, the Project Hope Foundation, a South Carolina-based nonprofit organization that works with people with autism, made a YouTube video endorsing the product.
“When you have a gag gift that also truly solves a problem, that’s a home run,” Weinstein said.
Thanks to the power of the internet, the product has made more than seven figures in sales while less than $100 has been spent on advertising, Weinstein said. The product, available on Amazon, has 4.5 stars and has been reviewed 214 times.
“I sourced it, had it manufactured, created the artwork, created the website, put it up on Amazon,” Weinstein said.
Just recently, the product received a second life when it was featured on an episode of “Chain of Command,” a documentary series on National Geographic about military personnel. In the episode, an Army member receives a care package that included the mitten-shaped moist wipes.
Weinstein said he will continue to promote the product as is, but is considering a different branding for the medical and pet community.
Weinstein is the chief marketing officer at Allstar Products Group, the company responsible for launching many successful “As Seen on TV” products, including the Snuggie (a blanket with sleeves). He moved to Lewisboro in 1999 and his kids attended Katonah-Lewisboro schools.
Weinstein has a bachelor’s degree in computer science, a master’s degree in business management, and is a frequent public speaker on topics that include invention licensing, direct-response marketing and digital advertising.
When he’s not selling products, Weinstein said, he is “deeply involved” in music. As a musician, Weinstein is a keyboardist in Two Shots of Blue and has performed and recorded with members of Meat Loaf, Spyro Gyra, Mariah Carey, Blood Sweat and Tears and others. His album, “30 Days,” was released in 2011.
Weinstein is also an accomplished mixed martial artist who holds a second-degree black belt in tae kwon do under Grandmaster Duk Sung Son and is a student of Brazilian jiu-jitsu at Gracie Sports USA in Norwalk, Conn., under master Marcio Stambowsky, one of the Rolls Gracie’s “Famous Five” black belt students.
Learn more about Weinstein’s product at amazon.com/dp/B00F547P6S.