It is easy to spot the red "As Seen on TV" logo on the shelves of many retail giants, including Bed, Bath & Beyond, Walgreens, Target and Walmart. The man behind the iconic symbol is A.J. Khubani, a self-made man born in New Jersey to Indian immigrants. And although his infomercial empire is fast approaching a billion-dollar value, he told "20/20," his climb to the top wasn't easy.
Watch the full story on "20/20" Friday at 10 p.m. ET.
The Montclair State University alum graduated in 1984 as the country was coming out of a recession.
"The prospects of getting a job were ... very dim," he said. "I got an idea to sell products through mail order, directly to consumers. And so I started experimenting with that while I was in college."
Khubani, 51, said that inventions have always interested him. He recalled watching his father -- whom he called a "tinkerer" -- in their workshop as he created electronic gadgets.
Inventing "is like any other talent -- you have got to have a real desire and interest in something to do it," Khubani said.
Khubani dived into his life savings of $20,000 in 1983 and took a chance on starting his own business, which eventually evolved into TeleBrands Corp. Four years later, he would have his breakout success when he stumbled upon a big idea called Amber Vision Sunglasses.
"They were kind of these funky-looking glasses ... that helped cut through the distorting blue rays, and they retailed for $10," he said.
Within three years, the glasses grossed up to $150 million. And that was only the beginning of his blockbuster infomercial success. Hundreds and hundreds of inventions later, Khubani is the man who can take a simple idea from everyday life and turn it into gold.
Fairfield, N.J.-based TeleBrands is now in more than 100,000 retail stores in the United States, and the company has also grown internationally. Khubani says that with everybody focused on coming up with high-tech ideas, "somebody has got to focus on low-tech," and that is where his company comes into play. Khubani says he's always thinking about the next big idea.
"I can't get it off my mind. So I naturally think about it all the time. ... When I go on vacation, when I go out with my kids. ... If I take a walk on the beach ... even if I go … shopping. ... I am always looking and thinking," he said.
How do these ideas come to life and make it onto people's TV sets? Some ideas are Khubani's very own, including the multimillion-raking PedEgg, while other ideas are generated from the public.
Because of the high volume of calls daily to his company from wanna-be inventors, he decided to create "Inventor's Day," a pitch-fest that is part "American Idol," part "Shark Tank." It is a day for inventors from across the country to come out and show off their best inventions to Khubani.
The contenders have only five minutes to wow him and potentially launch their own invention, including their own infomercial and a $1 million contract. As glamorous as it might sound, he cautions all inventors, "Don't put all your hopes and dreams in one product, because the odds of that one product being successful are pretty slim."