Konel Banner & Frank Weston
Secret to Success:
Outdoor enthusiasts, Konel Banner and Frank Weston of Davis County, Utah started Insta-Fire in 2008 to begin the production and distribution of an innovative fuel product they developed while experimenting in a warehouse. Now the product is readily available as a safe, versatile and easy to use fuel source and fire starter that can be used for emergency preparedness, cooking, grilling, camping, and a variety of seasonal activities. Insta-Fire is also an excellent resource for military personnel or other individuals who need fire quickly or who are under extreme conditions where fire sources are not readily available.
Insta-Fire is appealing to consumers for its green properties, ease of use and its strength against the elements–all offered at an affordable rate compared to other fuel products. At first glance, Insta-Fire looks like a mix of kitty litter and rabbit food pellets. The product is made of recycled 2x4 boards and volcanic rock that acts as an insulator and heat conductor. The mixture lights quickly, burns at 1000 degrees and can start in virtually any weather condition including rain, sleet, snow and high winds. Insta-Fire’s key feature for camping and backpacking enthusiasts is its capacity to dry wet wood or burn on top of snow, so users stay warm and can cook food in an emergency.
The product is unique in its class of fuel sources because of its safe and environmentally friendly components. Insta-Fire does not leach any chemicals or vapors, can be stored near food and shipped by freight. At the end of the products burn-life, the product can also be used as fertilizer for plants and gardens. The product is also a safe alternative for lighting charcoal briquettes because it doesn’t have any cancer causing agents that are found in most liquid lighter fluids.
Banner and Weston have observed significant growth in the company in the last 12 months. During the fourth quarter of 2011 alone, the company more than tripled their sales revenue. The product is being purchased internationally and is the only approved fuel source by the Boy Scouts of America. Banner and Weston donated some of the product to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to support recovery efforts in Haiti, and shipped the product to a Haitian orphanage that used the product to cook food.
To facilitate the successful launch of Insta-Fire, Banner and Weston have created eye-catching marketing videos, including one video that demonstrates how the product can be burned on top of the surface of an iPad without causing damage because of its insulating properties. Banner and Weston also participated in various trade shows (which have lead to valuable networking opportunities), and engaged in entrepreneurial training and mentoring at the Kaysville Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
The SBDC helped Banner and Weston outline a business plan, create a vision for the company and get connected to industry partners that have helped to package and market the product. SBDC services also provided the owners of Insta-Fire a chance to meet with an attorney to negotiate a product patent, and connected them to a panel of highly successful business leaders who provided valuable feedback regarding the company’s launch.
Insta-Fire was recently awarded Davis County Business of the Year for its innovative product development and exceptional growth among national and international markets. The Kaysville SBDC congratulates Konel Banner and Frank Weston for the successful launch and growth of Insta-Fire. Utah’s economic future is quite a bit brighter because of their innovative vision, dedication and success.