Startup Stories: K&C Hughes, Inc. – KC’s Magic Garden Wasn’t Magic

The book with new character, KC, helps build magical anticipation for children, promotes good behavior and even brushing their teeth.

Tell us about your entrepreneurial product or service.
We have created a magical bedtime story and simple activity from our own family tradition for birthdays, holidays and special occasions which builds anticipation for children and creates a magical, experience overnight. KC’s Magic dust *grows* lollipops and other treats ;) The book and activity promotes family time, reading, tradition, good behavior and even brushing teeth! Our children have loved it, so we wanted to make it easily available to the public in a one-stop-shop all-inclusive kit. Simple & Easy.

What inspired you to launch your business idea?
We have been doing The Magic Lollipop Garden in our family for years. One day my sister-in-law said to me (in our exasperated pursuit to create something completely new) “How about the Magic Lollipop Garden?” I got the chills and so we dove in. That was in 2009, when search engines had not one lollipop in any garden. Things have changed in the last five years, be we also kept thinking of all the children who would not have this product to experience, and then imagining the ones who would. Every time we felt overwhelmed we would go to a retail store and see all the products and imagine every one of those people had an idea and went through the steps we had to do in getting it on the shelf. Products we adored that would otherwise not be there. That was motivating and inspiring. There are a lot of courageous inventors out there we are incredible grateful for!

What problem does your business or organization solve?
There was a vacancy for building a fun tradition for birthdays. We had proposed our idea to another company we hoped would be a perfect fit in early 2012, they kindly declined, so we decided we should try to do it ourselves. There seemed to be a character for every holiday, but nothing for birthdays, so we began with that in branding and creating the new character, KC. In the process we realized KC’s Magic Garden also didn’t need to be confined to just birthdays, but that it could be used for holidays and other special occasions too. The problem of being locked into one area was now more universal.

What has been your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur and how are you working to overcome it?
Lack of time has been our biggest challenge. We are both working and stay-at-home moms. It has taken five years to get to market and many, many long nights. We also had challenges with packaging and concerns how to keep certain aspects concealed from small children without fear of discovery. A lot of prototypes were built in my living room. It took about two years on the packaging aspect just to find a solution. We had an extremely small budget to work with, that was also a huge challenge, so we had to rely on many developed skills from previous careers to get this off the ground.

Give us one word that people might use to describe you.
Kim is very organized. She is also very creative, hence starting the tradition years ago for her daughter. I am Stubborn. When I get an idea in my head, I wont stop until it is fixed, figured out or finished. It used to be a negative personality trait, but now I would say it has helped us to get where we are and I am now grateful for being so stubborn.

How has Project Eve helped you and/or your business?
I have read countless articles from Project Eve. I can’t even express how much these articles have helped us. Many times I felt reading articles as though you knew my questions and when we were stuck because the solutions would be there. Project eve articles have been like daily meditations – thank you Project Eve!

Give us an insider tip that relates to your industry or startup story.
We had absolutely no idea what we were getting ourselves into. I joke now about if anyone had handed me a book in 2009 that showed all that needed to be done for the next five years to get our product ready for market, I wouldn’t have touched it. We are now very glad we didn’t know what we didn’t know! Kim’s idea and brain child was just the start. Once we started researching about product development, pro types, testing, patents, lawyers, websites, illustrators, suppliers, customs, etc. we realized how much of it we would have to do on our own. Be sure to check your sources. We relied very heavily on search engines and how-to videos for solutions. We also wanted to be sure our team of people were thorough, prompt, detailed, careful and caring. Especially dealing with products for children, it was very important that everything was safe and tested and that all the suppliers were in good standing. We hope that it spreads a lot of joy and fond memories and family traditions.

Company: K&C Hughes, Inc.


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