At-home inventor Kevin Bunn is taking his “Sock Dock” to the Friday finals of the “Today” show’s “Next Big Thing” competition. The Clayton man beat out two other inventions Wednesday and will make his pitch tomorrow morning for the $150,000 top prize and an appearance on the home shopping channel QVC.
Bunn’s “Sock Dock” is a washable caddy that aims to cure the anxieties of mismatched socks lost in the wash. Socks are paired up and secured on an elastic string, and Bunn offers a touch of whimsy with a plastic foot-shaped hanger. He also believes he’s made the sock drawer obsolete.
“It saves time, it saves money, and most importantly, it saves relationships by keeping socks in pairs so you never have to sort, match or search for socks ever again,” Bunn said in his 20-second intro Wednesday morning on the “Today” show.
Through online fan voting, Bunn’s invention beat out the “Bunjiball,” a tennis ball with an elastic string boasting longer throws for those playing fetch with their dog, and the “Gas Cap Grip,” a grip designed to make it easier to loosen and tighten gas caps.
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In making his national television debut, Bunn said the exposure put a strain on the less-ambitious servers running his website. Whether he ends up being named the next big thing, Bunn said the experience has been a big step forward for his product.
“No matter if we win or lose, the amount of exposure received from the ‘Today’ show will be life changing,” Bunn said. “We are super excited and grateful for this opportunity, and we are extremely lucky to have an amazing hometown like Clayton who pulls together to support their own.”
Friday morning, Bunn and two others will make another pitch to a panel of QVC and “Today” show hosts, including weatherman Al Roker. Bunn said he found out he was a finalist Wednesday evening when voting closed at 5 p.m.
Bunn grew up in Clayton and has an engineering degree from N.C. State University. He formerly owned a coupleof gyms in the Triangle but spent the past five years developing the “Sock Dock.” His appearance can be found here.
Drew Jackson; 919-603-4943; @jdrewjackson