It's been thirteen years since I bought a sheet of plywood at the local lumberyard and started designing the Gracie Toy Box.
It's truly surreal that it's been that long. As you might know or have read in "What happened after Shark Tank", the road has not been easy but it's been worth it! Although, during the times I was in tears sitting on the sawdust-covered step of my garage workshop, I didn't know if it was worth it. All I knew was that no matter how much I wanted to throw in the towel, I couldn't.
This year, we're only 26 days into January and I can't quite believe what's happening! (In a good way!).
First of all, I'm incredibly happy and proud to say that I was approached by Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation about design collaboration opportunities last year, but this year, I'm now knee deep in exploring those collaboration opportunities. As in, I went into the garage and designed (and built) a table and chair set that's inspired by Mr. Wright's work.
There's so much more to come on this partnership, but what I can say right now is that I'm still pinching myself. Who knew that a self-taught carpenter and designer would be working with the biggest name in architecture (and design) in the US?!? Certainly not me. I was told when I started my Mod Mom journey that it would be impossible, that I would never amount to anything because I didn't have a design degree, and many said that I should just quit. I'm so glad I didn't listen to the noise.
In addition to the new developments with Mod Mom Furniture, I am also jumping up and down about next steps with the memoir I just finished writing. Much to my delight, after sending a few query letters to literary agents, one wrote back. After reading stories of how long it takes folks to land agents, I was half expecting it to take years. It took only three months. She was interested in reading more about my book, and after doing so, offered to be my literary agent. You can read more about it (and reviews from beta readers) here.
I'm also thrilled to share that the retired NYPD detective/current CEO of a private detective firm I work with in NY will be writing the foreward for my book. To say I'm grateful is an understatement. Surviving and healing from abuse is far from easy but I realized along the journey that if I learned to trust my intuition, it would prove to be a roadmap leading me out of pain and hurt to love and light. I'm so glad I trusted it!
I can't wait to see what's to come in 2020 but I know one thing for sure—I'm going to keep moving forward committed to the things in my life that I'm passionate about.
I couldn't do this without the love and support of my family. Scott, Noah, and Grace —you are my world and my inspiration. Thank you for being you. And for supporting and loving me through all of the ups and downs of life.
Here's to 2020! May it push you to the edge of your dreams and give you the courage and strength to just keep going. Believe me, it works. Just keep going!
When I started Mod Mom in our garage back in 2007, I had no idea what I was doing. I merely had a gut feeling, some wood, and a drive to make up the salary I lost when I chose to stay home with our kids after Grace was born.
And then Scott was laid off. Ah, good ole 2008. So many of us went through it.
Mod Mom became a necessity for us. Most entrepreneurs I know can relate to this. Every toy box and play table I built and sold ensured we could pay our household bills.
My initial vision wasn't to expand internationally, it was to sell toy boxes locally and continue to be able to be home with the kids like I couldn't when Noah was little. So many families struggle with this and for me, entrepreneurship was the answer.
The icing on the cake was when Mod Mom grew nationally and then internationally in a very organic way. I'm forever grateful for all of you out there who have supported Mod Mom in one way or another. I wouldn't be where I am without you.
Now, I even consult with entrepreneurs helping them scale their businesses and/or get their products manufactured or licensed. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I did not get here alone; a whole host of folks helped me along the way and I love being able to share what I've learned over the past twelve years.
To all of you out there who risked it all—ridicule by naysayers, stability, hours and hours of your life, crying in your pillow (er, sawdust), the hard AF choices you have to make, and all the rest that comes with entrepreneurship, I have the utmost respect for you.
You are the risk takers. The brave souls who continually push through fear. You inspire me and I hope that in some small way, sharing my journey has helped you.
Happy National Entrepreneurs Day to all of you!
It doesn't feel that long ago that our kiddos sat with me in the garage workshop making sawdust cakes and talking about their day at school while I polyurethaned a toy box.
Cliche, I know, but I really do wonder where the time went.
Now, our kids aren't kids anymore. Noah is 21 and Grace is 17—a far cry from the ages they were in my SHARK TANK episode.
I always hoped that seeing their mom in the garage working hard towards something that others said was ridiculous would help silently encourage them to trust their gut, work hard for what they want and for who they want to be, and ignore all of the haters along the way.
Now, I'm not saying I had anything to do with their general awesomeness but maybe, just maybe, they did take something from the journey both Scott and I have been on since they came into life and stole our hearts. Oh, and maybe all that sawdust (and going against the grain) that filled their childhoods really did make a tiny impact.
Noah is now doing the bravest thing I've seen anyone do—he's changing genders. We are so proud of him (he's not changed pronouns yet) for having the courage to fight for what he knows is right for him. There's nothing more important than feeling comfortable in your own skin and he's finally on his way. Also, Noah is continuing to pursue his love of illustration and he's wowing us with his creativity. I've said many times throughout my life that I believe both Noah and Grace are here to teach us more than we are teaching them. Our old soul first-born is a shining example of what an incredibly fearless leader looks like who is shining so much light on the world without even knowing it. Noah's just being Noah but I know he's encouraging all of us to be more compassionate and to love ourselves and each other with our whole heart. noahhathcock.com
Grace—our caring, strong, talented, heart-centered spitfire—is bravely stepping out in major ways with her music. She's been singing and writing songs since she was little, not to mention she taught herself piano and guitar. We're blown away by her heart and creativity—she brings audiences to tears when she sings. Her capacity to feel and to help others move through their pain is unmeasured and it's certainly one of her gifts in this life. Recently, she opened up for music industry giant, Andy Grammer, at Northern Arizona University and received roaring applause for being exactly who she is on-stage and off-stage. She looked as cool as a cucumber up there while her Dad and I were practically hyperventilating. I love her courage and faith in herself as as musician to follow her own path and stick to her guns about what she knows is right for her. gracenoelle.com (She's currently in the recording studio recording 5 original songs-- they'll be released in 2020)
To say I'm a proud mama is an understatement.
I'm inspired by them daily and so grateful for the time I got to spend with them when they were little—even if it meant we were all covered in sawdust.
When I started Mod Mom Furniture in 2007, I had zero carpentry or design experience and I didn't have funding. I had a gut feeling that what I was embarking on would work. The first few toy boxes I built were horrible but I got better over time. I built everything by hand for three years in our 400 square foot garage, designed my logo using PowerPoint, built a not-so-easy-to-load website in Microsoft Publisher, handled all sales, marketing, invoicing, and shipping (aka, loading up a toy box in my minivan with a toddler in tow and dropping it at UPS.)
I couldn't be more grateful for those early days in the garage. And for the many naysayers. At every turn, I was forced to check my gut and go against what everyone else was saying I should do. I got better at doing this over time. I got better at trusting myself.
Entrepreneurship is so much about risk taking and believing in yourself—far more than it is about being an expert in your field. I wasn't an expert in any of what I was doing but I believed in myself.
Today, I'm back in the garage exploring collaboration ideas/designs with Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Talk about surreal!
Moral of the story: Trust your gut even when others say it won't work.
I had the honor and pleasure of being part of a brand new docuseries about entrepreneurship called TRUEFUTURE.
And the icing on the cake was Flagstaff (and so many amazing local entrepreneurs) were profiled in Season 1! We even had a docuseries premiere at The Orpheum Theater in downtown Flagstaff.
I'm super grateful for Dan Kasprzyk of Poba Medical for encouraging the production team led by Joe Mullings to include my story in their series. It was truly a wonderful experience!
Above is the episode I was featured in.
Below are a few photos from the premiere...
Look for TRUEFUTURE on Truefuture.tv as well as your TV in the near future.
P.S. Our daughter Grace played the cocktail hour, too! We are so proud of that girl of ours. You can find more about her music here: gracenoelle.com.
(Click the video above to watch 2018's 1st Annual Hathcock Christmas Variety Show - 30 minutes long)
Singing has always been a huge part of Scott's life and he's always wanted to host a variety show. His musical idols growing up were Dean Martin and The Rat Pack. Scott's parents (Larry and Judy Hathcock) are very talented musicians and singers so naturally we thought why not put on a Christmas variety show reminiscent of the Dean Martin Christmas Show from the 1960s.
We went live on Facebook Christmas night 2018 (split into two videos but merged into one above). We had a blast hamming it up and loved the fact that Gracie (our daughter) and Scott's mom, Judy, and our awesome neighborhood audience played along with us during the LIVE portion! I make an appearance in a silly White Christmas duet with Grace but mainly I was cameraman when I wasn't on stage. And I built the stage out of plywood and 2 x 4s and ordered a lovely winter scene photo backdrop from Amazon. (It was that easy -- anyone can do it!)
We've left the stage up without the backdrop and Christmas decorations in the living room so we can sing and play all year round.
Thanks to all of our friends and family for joining us on Christmas night! We love you all! <3
I'm honored and grateful to have had the chance to present a Ted Talk in Sedona last weekend.
The full video will be available in the next couple of months but I wanted to share the beginning of a very emotional "talk" I gave last Saturday. I'm beyond grateful for my family and friends who have supported me through some of the darkest times in my life.
Here I am speaking on the TEDx Sedona stage about narcissistic/emotional/verbal abuse I endured from 2014-2017 and the tools I used to help rebuild my life and heal deep wounds that kept me locked in the cycle of abuse. Hopefully, the video will be uploaded to TED within two months! Super grateful for the opportunity to tell my story in hopes it will help others know they aren’t alone. We have a silent epidemic on our hands.
Here's a sneak peak of the beginning of the talk...
It's hard to believe it's been eight years since Shark Tank aired my pitch. I can say without a doubt that A LOT has happened since my time in the tank.
I wrote about the initial "after the tank" back in 2011 and then again in 2014. And I speak about it as I travel the country talking about my entreprenuerial journey and lessons I've learned about trusting my own intuition and never giving up. I'm forever grateful for my time in the Tank so I thought I'd give you the nutshell version "where are they now—Mod Mom.”
If you're an entrepreneur, I have a sneaking suspicion you'll relate to my timeline below.... (Read more below by clicking READ MORE.)
I have the best partners on the planet! And they just relaunched The Gracie Toy Box today! Click the photo above to purchase, or check out the blog post about the relaunch....
You don’t have to be around the home furnishings industry long to realize that integrity is, well, not a must-have when it comes to design. Or management. Or marketing.
You will see copies of furniture designs everywhere. It’s how it’s been for years and designers are constantly fighting back. And in some cases, they know the fight is long and hard so they just don’t fight at all. I've fought back when companies in the US and Canada starting producing exact copies of my copywritten designs. It's pretty mindblowing that it happens as much as it does. (Read more below by clicking READ MORE.)