Have you considered sitting down with the Small Business Adminstration
(SBA) and perhaps some advisors from SCORE
You`re a woman, and you have a steady job, so it seems to me you`d be
an excellent candidate for grants to build your business. That would
likely get you some capital you could use to do various things. One
option would be to sell a quantity to a university, then imprint logos.
On the other hand, I`m liking the idea of a blank white spacer, where
anyone can put whatever they want on the "canvas." One of your eBay
pictures shows an artistically painted spacer, and I`m guessing it was
done by the student who owned the product.
Either way, having some startup capital and a business plan would
perhaps make it easier for you to set up a strategy of getting a
national distributor. Maybe no Wal-Mart, but perhaps someone who caters
to college students.
Another option is to focus on college towns, then find their main
suppliers for all products. For example, in Ithaca NY, there`s a
superstore food place called Wegman`s, where they sell not only food,
but also things like coffee makers, blankets, hot plates, and so forth.
They might be easier to convince than a university bookstore, and could
carry your product.
Walking away from the grants and startup capital, it looks to me as
though you should definitely have your own Web site. We have some
excellent developers here on SuN (check the Marketplace), and they
would likely provide a site without breaking the bank.
From there, with your own site and shopping cart, you`d better connect
with students who, as you say, don`t seem to read newspapers much. :-)
Then you could advertise your site through blogs, Squidoo, Merchant
Circle, and other places Kathy`s mentioned. But you`ll want to point
people somewhere that isn`t as limited as eBay.
My thoughts, anyway.... :-) Cool product, and something that
meets what I consider to be the main criteria for success: Simple,
inexpensive, configurable, and in large supply.