By Nate Steiner
He may be new to the business, but Dino Miliotis is already finding himself swarming with orders for mosquito repelling wristbands.
Miliotis business, DPM Enterprises, Harwood Road, Homewood, has distributed 18 million Bug Bans, a white plastic band that repels insects, since April 1996 for New York-based manufacturer Eco Tech.
The buzz for the product has Miliotis, who holds the global distribution rights, working overtime. He started with six distribution points that have ballooned to 490.
Really, what people don’t realize is the more money you make, the more money people expect from you, he said during an interview Thursday. Your decisions are worth millions. It’s a really big responsibility.
He won’t disclose sales figures, except to say that he will donate $1 million to charity this summer, spread between Make-A-Wish Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Heart-to-Heart and different senior groups.
DPM Enterprises has taken orders from Venture, Wal-Mart, discount stores, supermarkets, gas stations and golf pro shops.
The bands have a retail price tag of $2.49 to $2.99 each. In addition, companies such as Motorola, Pepsi and Schering-Plough have ordered hundreds of thousands for giveaway items.
And, the United States Army and Air Force Exchange will soon be selling them at military stores.
The money maker came along at a time when business was slow for Miliotis, who was selling sports memorabilia along with the Aurelio family, owners of the Aurelios Pizza franchise.
Before that, Miliotis sold credit card processing machines and furniture. He was a national sales manager for a telemarketing firm and for a time he studied psychology.
“I kept opening businesses and then failing,” said the 31-year-old entrepreneur. “This time it all clicked.”
It happened overnight, he said.
During an out-of-town convention pushing the sports memorabilia, Miliotis manned a booth next to his future manufacturer.
“I had a $2,500 sports item, so I had time to kill,” he said.
So he struck up a conversation with the manufacturer, who immediately wanted Miliotis to jump on board.
“He had me come down to his show in Dallas,” Miliotis said. “When I went there, his was the busiest booth.”
After that Miliotis agreed to become the exclusive distributor for Bug Band, thinking it would bring in $500 to $600 in additional income.
“I was dirt broke,” he said. “I took a shot.”
After taking over as distributor, the memorabilia business has gone to the side.
“I thought I would be spending five minutes a day at this,” he said.
He credits the Aurelio family, which is involved with the distribution business, with helping him find links to distributors.
“When I brought Bug Ban on board, they introduced me to a lot of players,” he said.
The repellent contains lemongrass, citronella and geranium oil fragrances, lasting 40 hours, he explained.
The product is healthy and safe because it contains no DEET, an ingredient in other insect repellents that allegedly causes rashes and other side affects.
“There are other products that are knock-offs of mine, but they contain toxic ingredients,” he said.
It’s nontoxic, a sales achievement, a charity fund-raiser, a fighter against a problem synonymous with summer those pesky mosquitoes and a success story all wrapped up in one product, he said.
“People say, Where do you want to be in 10 to 20 years? I have already hit that,” Miliotis concluded.