It was about a year ago when one night Melissa and Kevin Kiernan got home at roughly 2 a.m. to find their garbage cans tipped over and the contents picked through and scattered all over the lawn.
“The garbage cans were attacked by raccoons. There’s no question about it, you could see the marks everywhere,” Kevin Kiernan said. “They got to every bag and they got to every garbage can. All they have to do is knock the garbage can over, and the generic lid that you get with your garbage can simply fall off because of the weight of the garbage can.”
The two stayed up at their Waldwick, N.J., home for an hour talking about what to do. It wasn’t the first time their garbage cans were knocked over and picked through.
“Ultimately we had to come up with a solution because it was driving us nuts,” Melissa Kiernan said.
It was that night when they first thought of the Last Lid, a fabric replacement for the garbage can cover made out of 100 percent water-resistant polyester material. The lid has slits on two sides to put the garbage can handles through. One slit has Velcro right under it so the lid can adjust to the size and shape of the can to give it a snug fit. The other side has a grommet and comes with a zip tie to attach the lid to the handle, giving the product its name by making it “the last lid you’ll ever need,” as Kevin Kiernan said.
“With my product, you can take the garbage can, turn it upside down, roll it down the street, run over it with the car and guess what? The garbage will never come out of the can,” Kevin Kiernan said.
He's produced a few and given them to family, friends and neighbors and sold some online.
Kiernan, a graduate who was born and raised in Congers, and works at New Rochelle Chevrolet, and his wife will appear on the ABC show Shark Tank on Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. to pitch their product. The reality competition show allows entrepreneurs and inventors to pitch their products to five “sharks” who then decide if they want to invest in the product and put it out on the market. The third season started airing a few weeks ago, and on the first two seasons the investors dolled out nearly $9 million to back various products.
The Kiernans were flown to Los Angeles in July to tape their episode, but signed an agreement where they can’t talk about what happened or the inner workings of the show.
They were big fans of the show and watched the first two seasons when they heard they were looking for more contestants, so they sent an email about the Last Lid. Melissa Kiernan said they heard back about six weeks later that the show was interested, and roughly two months and a few more stages of interviews and pitches after that they found out they were on the show.
“That two months seems like a year,” Kevin Kiernan said.
Melissa Kiernan said they were confident in their product, but they were still a little nervous pitching it in front of the sharks. Her husband disagreed.
“She can speak for herself because I was ready for the attack. I went right into attack mode,” Kevin Kiernan said. “I wasn’t nervous. I knew what I was walking into, I knew I was ready to handle it and I knew what I wanted to say.”
He added at the opportunity to be in front of such successful people pitching a product they might want to invest in is “essentially what every entrepreneur in the world hopes and dreams of.”
Another possible reason Kiernan was comfortable pitching his product is because he also works as a DJ and emcee for All About Parties, the company he and Melissa own where he handles running the parties that she plans, ranging from Bar/Bat Mitzvahs to Sweet 16s to corporate events. He appeared on an episode of the Montel Williams Show about party planning as well.
Kiernan said he’s thought of different inventions over the years, including one he has a patent for that’s an insulated holder for pints of ice cream that keeps the ice cream cold without making your hands cold and sticky. That’s not on the market yet, he said.
“I’m like MacGyver. I find the solution for all the different situations that arise in my house,” he said. “So whether it’s the kitchen, whether it’s the toilet bowl, whether it’s this, whether it’s that, I always find the solution and a way to make everything work.”