Young Monmouth entrepreneur making with strides with law enforcement
For some people, developing a company from the ground up is challenging. You spend long weekends and sleepless nights making that perfect product. If you succeed, that first big pay check comes to mind. I found a Monmouth nine-year-old's response refreshingly surprising, on the eve of his own product line launch November 5.
"I am going to buy a nice car and I am going to give my grandpa a Porsche that I promised him. Maybe a black one or a white one."
Maxwell Lanfrank is an entrepreneur, and the head of MoMax Enterprizes. Lanfrank's firm has the police sirens turned on around Monmouth County, but don't worry, the yellow caution tape isn't coming out. He's devoted to them.
Lanfrank's story really begins way back a whole year, at the tender age of eight, when he went horseback riding with his aunt. And, of all things, it was an aloe plant that she gave to him after the ride that set the wheels in motion.
“He’s always been the kid that wonders, 'why.' Why something happens, how do I make this, where does something go after it’s been put in the garbage can,” said Max’s mother, Kristen, adding that Max's aversion to germs - and his vision - led him to turn the aloe plant into an organic hand sanitizer.
“He was very big into Purell, he was doing it so many times a day that he was drying out his hand," she recalled. "So he was wondering if he could use this aloe to create something that would keep his hands soft and also kill the germs.”
Soon he brought this idea to his grandmother’s house, They call her “Mom Mom.” Max’s grandmother is interested in essential oils and all-natural healing. Once Max told her about his idea the company “MoMax" was born.
The first product they created was an all-natural hand sanitizer after hours of research, but they didn’t stop there, Kristen said.
“He ‘s also a little bit of a lip balm junkie. He’s a kid who gets lip balm everywhere we go. He’s got a container next to his bed, filled with every type of lip balm you can imagine.”
Max's three-year-old sister couldn’t keep her hands off of his lip balm collection. Enamored of the flavors, she would dig into his collection and eat some. Max noticed that some lip balms contain petroleum and another light bulb went off in his head.
“He said, 'Petroleum, that goes in cars, that can’t be good if my sister is eating them. I wonder if I could create something that would be okay if she ate it.'" That led to a line of lip balm products.
"Max created all of these different flavors that are natural and organic," Kristen enthused. "But one lip balm is making headlines around Monmouth County police departments. Don’t worry, it's good headlines."
Max's dad, Bill, has worn a badge and uniform for more than 20 years, so the budding businessman is comfortable and respectful around officers. He set out to create a lip balm specifically for them.
“He wanted this lip balm to be a specific flavor. He chose spearmint," Kristen said. "Max hands out the lip balm to any police officer he sees working, and gives them a big thank you. He also visits local police stations in Monmouth County."
Boom, “Behind The Blue Lip Balm” was formed. When word spread, people wanted to buy it. Max also donated his earning to local law enforcement agencies.
“Then we said, 'All right, if all of these people want to buy them, we need to find someone who has the same mission as us. Now we have them manufactured in an organic plant,” Kristen said.
Since Max’s product is being made at an organic plant, it can be sold in retail stores around the country. The manufacturer is in Florida.
“They Skyped with Max and they totally loved his idea, loved his vision," Kristen said. "They started out making lip balms in their kitchens, same way [we did], before they decided to become a full-on manufacturer.”
Given Kristen's wholehearted commitment, I had to find out how Max feels about being in the celebrity spot light. He told me it’s a lot of hard work.
“Me and my grandma did a lot of research to find this out," he explained. "We would do this for hours on the weekends when I would sleep over.”
Max said he looked forward to weekends, to work on his product. When his friends asked him to hang out, Max said he had a business to run. Far from being turned off, they support his dedication.
Many of these products are difficult to make, and there’s one MoMax product that takes a lot of his time. Max told me it was his Max-I-Mum Smooth Shave Soap.
“We have to put it in the crock pot and wait a couple of hours.” But Max said is favorite one to make is the Behind the Blue Lip Balm.
To help grow his company even more Max told me he has busy couple weeks ahead of him. He just launched the MoMax web page and, on November 5, tosses a launch party at the Junior League of Monmouth County, in Rumson. Max picked out the tasty snacks and t-shirt apparel.
Newcomers to MoMax products can browse, sample and purchase them at display tables.
“All of my friends are going to be there, most of my family. I am just hoping that it’s big,” Max said. Law enforcement agencies around Monmouth County will also be at the launch party as well.
“I handed out invitations to Rumson, Eatontown, Little Silver. We are trying to get to Red Bank.” When Maxwell handed out the invitations, law enforcement officers were impressed and excited, and they committed right away to attend.
On October 21st Maxwell stopped by the Little Silver Police Department and handed out his special lip balm to officers. I spoke with Chief Daniel Shaffery and got his insight on Max’s product.
“When you see the media, and you see what’s going on with all of the negativity, it starts to bring you down," Shaffrey confided.
"I’ve been doing this job for so long and look at all of the negative press. That's now what we're all about. So to have someone actually come out and be positive on what were doing, it’s actually refreshing.”
Shaffery is extremely impressed that Max's efforts cast law enforcement in a positive light. For those who don’t know what The Thin Blue Line represents, Shaffery says, “It’s the thin line separating law abiding citizen from chaos and anarchy.”
“We are getting a lot of encouraging feedback from people. When we actually have The Thin Blue Line put out there, people start to recognize it and understand what it is it only helps us as law enforcement.”
In light of The Thin Blue Line becoming well known, I asked Chief Shaffery what his favorite product is.
“Max just graciously gave me the sanitizer spray, which is a flat spray that fits in my pocket. The impressive part is you can actually have this on you all the time. It very inventive. This took a little bit of research for Max to find out what actually works and what police officers do.”
Shaffery sees that Max is taking time out of his personal life and is dedicating a lot of time in something that he believes in.
“To be nine years old and actually go out there and come up with a product....to take the product from your kitchen to a professional facility and go out and market your product; with balancing school and family life...it's very impressive.”
With the help of his mother and father Max recently applied to get on the show Shark Tank. If he’s selected to go on the show he told me he would team up with Barbara Corcoran. He would team up with Barbara because she’s innovative and great with young kids like himself.
The Chief told me he’s a big fan of Shark Tank, and he believes Max can get on the show and make a deal.
Max’s big goal in mind is to market his “Behind The Blue Lip Balm to law enforcement agencies around the United States. To learn more about MoMax, you can visit his link and www.momaxgivesback.com.