CHESTER — Valerie Guglielmo has invented a tool she believes solves the bothersome issue of blow dryer attachments flying off hand-held hair dryers.
Her invention, the SnozzlePro — a short, heat-resistant silicone tube that fits over concentrator or diffuser attachments — is meant for everyday users, as well as hair professionals, Guglielmo said.
The Chester start-up founder said plastic hair dryer nozzles can get as hot as 450 degrees.
“You will burn the living daylight out of your hand when you go to remove that concentrator. It can fall off, shoot across the floor, and then you have to scramble to go find it,” said Guglielmo, who arrived at the SnozzlePro idea a little more than three years ago.
She’s determined in her mission: “I will not rest until I put a Snozzle onto every nozzle.”
Guglielmo, whose SnozzlePro product is patent pending, is a first-time inventor.
The 58-year-old will be vying to win the top prize on the new season of “Everyday Edisons,” a reality TV series similar to “Shark Tank.”
The new, eight-episode series will be streaming live on Crackle Feb. 11, which is Thomas Edison’s birthday as well as National Inventors Day, Guglielmo said.
She will be one of 24 inventors invited to Charlotte, N.C., last November to compete. Over the course of five days, contestants were filmed interacting with a variety of experts in the field of product development.
On the last day of filming, each pitched his or her product to a panel of judges. Only one inventor per episode is chosen as the winner — the next “Everyday Edison.”
Guglielmo was so wound up, she only slept four hours a night as she worked to perfect her product pitch.
Her tool’s name is a coinage of “silicone” and “nozzle.” Guglielmo’s pitch includes jokingly telling people: “SnozzlePro, for the professional snozzler.”
The inspiration came from an unsuccessful and frustrating online search for a heat-resistant hair dryer adapter that forms a seal tight enough to stay put. With a background in marketing, graphic design and public relations, Guglielmo thought a silicone attachment would provide the functionality she sought.
“[People] buy an attachment. Sometimes they get lucky and it works, and, when it doesn’t work, it always had the same problem. It didn’t fit their hair dryer and it popped off. The only way to keep it on is duct tape,” a short-term fix, Guglielmo said.
“You cannot take it off, you cannot turn it, and the glue from the duct tape gets messy and it’s rather ugly — you’re stuck with it that way,” she said. Some people have even told her they are forced to glue on their nozzle attachments.
She enjoyed the competition: “The whole experience for me was exciting, surreal and utterly life changing. It was the most nerve-wracking thing I ever did,” she said.
Her parents have run a successful company in Wallingford, M & R Fundraisers, since the 1980s. That’s where Guglielmo began to hone her business acumen. “There is nobody more hard-working than my parents,” she said.
It took 31/2 years to go from concept to production after she secured a contract with a company in China. She wanted to use an American manufacturer, but found very few silicone makers willing to manufacture her relatively small first order for 3,000.
Guglielmo recalled the moment in 2017 when she got the news her prototype was ready. Her husband, Joe, was there to share in the excitement.
“I was jumping around the house, screaming like a little girl. It was an ugly prototype,” she admitted. “But it works.”
Last February, her product took off after 10 months of demonstrating the adapter and offering it on her website.
In less than three weeks, she was shipping SnozzlePro to customers in South Africa, Germany and London. Now, she’s in negotiations with an Australian company interested in buying the device wholesale.
Customers said the attachment can also solve “the curly girl’s problem.”
Curtis Hutchinson, owner of Amici Style Salon in Virginia Beach, Va., attended North Haven High School with Guglielmo. They had connected recently on Facebook, but the inventor had no idea he owned a salon or was a hairstylist, she said.
Hutchinson is a member of the America chapter of an international styling guild, which, he said, places him among the top one percent of hairstylists. “We try to set the pace of where hair is going to go in the future.”
Guglielmo sent him an early version of her product.
“What hair stylist doesn’t have that frustration from time to time? It hasn’t come off my hair dryer since she stepped in with the first prototype,” Hutchinson said.
The businesswoman also asked stylists at Ulta Beauty in Old Saybrook to test the SnozzlePro. They were impressed, Guglielmo said.
Hutchinson has the same problem as other people trying to straighten or dry their locks. “That air director gets hot, so I would have to grab a towel, unscrew it, pull it off.”
He would hear the sound of attachments hitting the floor of his salon, knowing the tool would have to be cleaned, dried, and reaffixed before stylists could resume their task.
“It’s a time drain,” Guglielmo said.
“If you’ve got 30 minutes to dry your hair, and you pick up the diffuser and it pops off, this eliminates that hassle,” explained Hutchinson, who outfitted six of his employees with the adapter. He expects to order more in order to sell them to his customers.
Guglielmo is very pleased with her success. “I love what I’m doing. It’s not about money. It’s about having the freedom to be creative. I invented something completely original,” she said.
For information, visit snozzlepro.com or SnozzlePro on Facebook. Check out an instructional video on YouTube.