Kiersten Hathcock and her family moved to LA for her husband’s job. She had worked outside of the home in marketing for 10 years and was struggling with the idea of putting her kids in another daycare situation. She decided she would do whatever it took to stay home with her children. Kiersten tried being a shared nanny for others as well as doing some contract marketing on the side, but the work wasn’t steady enough. Kiersten also realized she was missing something very dear to her--a creative outlet.
Not long after, Kiersten started Mod Mom Furniture. Mod Mom would lead her to a Shark Tank win and many other adventures (and misadventures) along the way. Here is a bit of her story.
Why toy boxes?
Many houses in LA (where we lived) have modern, streamlined decor, and I started wondering where all of these families were putting their toys. It was not in plastic bins or toy boxes with cartoon characters plastered all over them. With that said, Shark Tank producers encouraged me to lead with the “we needed a toy box” story—and that was kind of true. We were always needing storage. When I looked online and saw there was only one mod toy box available, the light bulb went off in my head. I realized there was a market for modern-looking toy storage that would look good in any room of the house. The only obstacle was figuring out if I could build them.
What made you think you could build toy boxes?
I grew up in Ohio. My parents were both teachers. They told us—my sister and I—we could do whatever we wanted to do, that we had within us everything we needed to succeed.
We did not have a lot of money growing up because my parents were teachers. My dad was a weekend carpenter who made a lot of our furniture. I had no interest in it, but I think it made me less scared to try it out later in life. I thought, “My dad did this. I just might be able to do this.” So, I went online to figure out what I needed to do. I figured out what kind of table saw I needed and how I was going to put it together. I have a lot of do it yourself in me, and I credit my upbringing for that.
Tell me about the early days of trial and error.
Oh my gosh. They were horrible. I was such a novice. I was using the wrong nails in the beginning. I can’t believe the early ones I built are still together. With the first few toy boxes I sold I went back to the buyers a year later and gave them new ones for free. I truly felt badly for them.
When I was designing the Owyn Toy Box I would literally cut the top panel, draw the leaf designs with pencil until the point where I got the balance right, and then I would go in with the jigsaw and cut it. There were no paper or CAD drawings involved.
What was the timeframe between tinkering in the garage and your first toy box sale?
Too fast. I would say within the first three months.....................
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