July 25, 1998 - The Tennessean (Nashville, Tennessee)

Dino Miliotis Press News
Dino Miliotis Press News

Wristband puts bugs on the run

Pest repellent has smell of success

By CARRINGTON NELSON
Staff Writer

Dino Miliotis smells funny. And his car. . . . Whoa!
“You should smell the factory!” says Miliotis, who drove through Nashville yesterday handing out 5,000 of his pungent insect-repelling Bug Bans.

The Nashville stop was part of a “goodwill tour” to market the wristbands, which in a short time lifted a self-described penniless Miliotis, who says he hocked his gold jewelry and pilfered his son’s savings, into the ranks of thriving entrepreneurs.

Two years ago, Miliotis left an unlucrative job selling baseball memorabilia to market a product that repels bugs with all-natural ingredients.

Since starting DPM Enterprises with $23, Miliotis has sold about 20 million wristbands, which retail for about $2 each.

The active ingredients listed in the Bug Ban are citronella, lemon-grass and geranium oil While those Ingredients are commonly accepted to be safe, says dermatologist Chris Pardue, he warns that even all-natural ingredients can cause allergic reactions In some people.

Miliotis, meanwhile, says he has had no complaints about the product.
“Believe it or not, they have been proven throughout history to be a safe and effective mosquito repellent,” Miliotis explains of the Ingredients. “So has garlic, but our whole purpose was to find something pleasant”

The natural aromas are pleasant in moderation but the inside of Miliotis’ 1996 Plymouth Voyager, is a bit extreme on a hot summer day.

For that matter, so is the outside of the family van, which is designed to look like an oversized mosquito.

“I love giving the van to the valet guy,” says Miliotis. “You should see his face.”

But even more, Miliotis enjoys seeing the faces of the people who accept his free gifts as he travels from his native Chicago on a tour of the Southeast

“I’m actually seeing the front line two years later,” Miliotis says. His first stop in Nashville has smell was in the area south of Broad, way, where he handed out bug bans to some of the homeless, “I go to the bad areas first, because I was only a couple of days from living there myself.”

Now Miliotis, 32, far from homeless and decked in gold jewelry, has caught the entrepreneurial bug. He has several ideas in the hopper, including the Bug Ban patio grid which can be hung outdoors to deter bugs. He has also begun helping other aspiring entrepreneurs.

“There are great ideas out there,” he says, “but people are scared.”