About Us - Big Idea School

About Us

We are Dennis & Mary Lou Green.

We founded Big Idea School to help you learn more about how to create and sell simple products.

Experience is a great teacher. We encourage you to use ours. That’s why we are taking you on a tour showing you some of our customers and a few of the 50 simple products we created that achieved more than $120 million total retail sales--and growing. Our experience demonstrates that you don’t have to be rich or have any special business connections to turn an idea into a product and take it to market. We also want to stress that creating and marketing simple consumer products can be a rewarding, lifelong pursuit, not a one-shot experience.

Mary Lou and Dennis in 1976

How We Started

We created our first product together in 1976, married in 1978, and built a multi-million-dollar business together.  We sold our company and retired. But after a few years we missed contributing and being away from the creative flow. Now we are investing our ideas and energy into our most exciting creation of all, Big Idea School, where we are creating real-life courses to help entrepreneurs succeed.

Remember, True Wealth Isn't

All About Money

We want you to know that It is also possible for a husband and wife to work side by side in a volatile business and still be in love. In the end, isn’t love the one true wealth we all seek? Business is about creating and selling products, but even more, it is about the process of working with people you care about and achieving something you set out to accomplish. Yes, your bills need to be paid, but that doesn't mean you can't also feed your soul. Look for our book about marriage called: FIVE STAR LOVE: How to Treat Your True Love Like a Customer and Get the Marriage of Your Dreams.  

​​​​Some of Our Customers

Our customers have crossed the retail spectrum from independent gift stores and hair salons to the largest chain store retailers on the planet including:

  1. Mass Market: Walmart, Target, Kmart, Carrefour de Paris
  2. TV Shopping: QVC
  3. Supermarkets: Kroger, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Publix, Safeway
  4. Clubs Stores: Costco and BJ’s;
  5. Automotive: Auto Zone, Advance Auto, Kragen
  6. Home Goods: Home Depot, Bed, Bath & Beyond
  7. Department Stores: Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, JCPenney, Dillard's
  8. Sporting Goods: Footlocker, Dick's Sporting Goods, DSW, Finish Line, Athlete's Foot, Big 5, Sports Authority
  9. Convenience Stores: 7-11, Total Petroleum, Texaco and dozens of regional chains
  10. Thousands of independent stores, online retailers and distributors in 26 countries

A Few of the Simple Products We Invented

Extra Life: A green container filled with an active ingredient that oxidizes ethylene gas and makes fruits and veggies stay fresh longer in the fridge.

Sneaker Balls: Air fresheners for sports shoes, gym bags and lockers. Twist the ball to release a fresh clean scent to fights sweaty protein odor. 

Little Cookbooks: 12 page greeting cards containing recipes for a specific food such as strawberries, chocolate, cheesecake, etc.

Zooville:  Pint-sized plush animal air fresheners that hang from a suction cup for use in car, home or office

Wildcat:  Air Freshener clips to the car's dashboard air vent. It spins and releases a fresh scent when air comes out of the vent.

Happy Face:  Squeezable foam car air fresheners that hang from the rear view mirror. Also, great for relieving stress when you're stuck in heavy traffic.  

Ballmania Lip Balm in a ball. Decorated with animal prints and geometric designs. Ball shape makes lip balm easy to find in the bottom of a purse.

Fresh-T:  Tee-shirt air fresheners for the car. Shirt designs reflecting affinity themes such as animals, motorcycles  and Americana

Gummi : Air Freshener hangs from rear view mirror. Made with scented plastic and is reminiscent the classic Gummi Bear candy.

Sun Catcher:  Air freshener molded from scented plastic. Hangs from rear view mirror. Transparent Center image lights up in the sun.

Scentimentals:  Balsam scented Balls printed with Christmas designs to add a fragrance to artificial Christmas trees.

Bug Balls:  Contain citronella oils that mask the carbon dioxide released by our breath and skin respiration that both attract mosquitoes. 

Cedar Magic balls contain a mix of three cedar leaf oils that repel clothes moths and stop them from laying their larvae that eat holes cotton and wool fabrics. 

Tribal Magic  skull ceramic air Freshener for the car hangs from rear view mirror. Great for Halloween and Day of the Dead celebrations.

French Lavender  balls contain lavender oils to be used to freshen drawers and closets. Twist to release the desired strength. 

Speedball air freshener balls contain a variety of scents, vanilla, cherry, citrus etc, to keep the car smelling fresh. 

Mighty Balls   a golf ball gift pack with lip balm ball, car freshener ball, shoe freshener ball inside a giant golf ball.

One Minute Painter  A sport bottle with a paint pad applicator that works for quick touch up when you don't want to open the paint can. 

Z-Cardz  Credit card size plastic with die cut pieces you pop out and use to build a variety of 3-D scale models of animals and vehicles. 

Solair  super-thin polyethylene scented insole overlays you add to shoes to keep them smelling fresh and clean.

Totally Organized Daily planner with photographic covers reflecting your interests such as music, sports, art, cityscapes, etc.  

Torn Sky greeting cards with positive messages on the outside and inside for everyday use.

Sugar Free Cards  R-Rated twelve page greeting cards with story poems that end with a with a positive funny punchline.

Phony Credit Cards  Credit card sized greeting that parody real credit cards such as Ecumenical Express, The First Rational Bank.

People Magazine July, 1989

All of these products were created from 1976 until 2005.  We created many more products, but have lost the catalog sheets.