by Bruce Maguire (Freeman Public Relations) | 29 Sep 2022
Biographies and Interviews
This is the story of how the tradition of decorating Easter eggs hatched a year-round toy company.
When the idea for the now Easter phenomenon the Original EggMazing Egg Decorator came about, Scott Houdashell and his best friend Curtis McGill certainly didn’t think that they’d end up in the toy business – let alone grow into a year-round toy company.
The launch of the Original EggMazing Egg Decorator in 2015 set the duo on the fast-track into the toy industry. Kids (and parents!) could now easily decorate eggs, eliminating messy hands and stained surfaces and smelly dye! The pair found fame and fortune on NBC’s hit show Shark Tank in 2018 and now continue to enjoy the status of the top-selling product on Amazon during the Easter season.
Buoyed by the success of the EggMazing, Houdashell and McGill utilized the same mechanism to create a decorator to sell during the all-important Q4 selling season. The TreeMendous Ornament Decorator lets kids create their own uniquely designed ornaments for the Christmas tree, still without the mess! And thanks to the popularity of the TreeMendous, in 2021 the company launched a sister product the Gift Box Ornament Decorator.
With two major selling seasons covered, the company thought it might be time to dabble in the toy biz as a whole. “We looked at blocks of time where we weren’t selling products. We had about an 8-month span of time between our two big product lines and thought a non-seasonal decorator might be the way to go,” says McGill. Launched in the summer of 2020, the DinoMazing Egg Decorator was the first “true year-round toy” in the Hey Buddy Hey Pal portfolio, combining the roots of the decorators with kids’ love for slime and dinosaurs!
Fast forward to 2021 when the pair were approached by an inventor with the idea to create a Halloween jack-o-lantern stacking kit. The Stack-O-Lantern Pumpkin Stacking Kit, launched this year, allows Halloween DIYers to carve and then stack their own jack-o-lanterns. It fits perfectly in the seasonal craft portfolio they had been developing!
“The Stack-O-Lantern seemed like the next logical retail step in expanding our seasonal business. It allows us to enter into the Halloween space with a product that’s completely different from the decorators, but also compliments our existing line,” says McGill.
But a more immersive presence in the traditional toy aisle was still on their wish list; they were eager to sell 365 days a year, without the seasonal overlay. While ready to expand their footprint in the toy industry and take Hey Buddy Hey Pal to the next level, they were very mindful that the launch needed to not only compliment the products already in the line, but also one that was different enough to make an impact. The result: their new Cake-N-Bake Challenge game!
“The games category as a whole has always been extremely popular, but since the pandemic the category has completely exploded in popularity. They always take center stage in gatherings, whether it be with friends or even just your family,” says Houdashell.
Combining that popularity with the explosion of culinary competition shows, food podcasts and recipe apps, the Cake-N-Bake Challenge game was born and turned the previously contraseasonal company to year-round toy maker.
In this fast-paced, color-matching, action-packed game, kids are challenged to stack their “cake slices” in a race to be the “fastest baker.” Complete with bright, rainbow-colored, textured foam cake slices, icing cards with yummy toppings, and Special Action Cards for added gameplay challenges.
Houdashell and McGill wanted to be sure as they entered the games arena that they had a fun, playable game. They took to deep at-home testing with friends, family and even colleagues’ kids and played and played!
“This was a big decision to go beyond our tried and true seasonal products,” said McGill. “After hours and hours of gameplay with friends and family of all ages, we knew we had a game that kids not only enjoyed but wanted to keep coming back to play!”
While most companies launch toy lines, then expand those lines and occasionally dip their toes into seasonal items, Hey Buddy Hey Pal did it a bit untraditionally and went from seasonal to year-round toy maker. From two guys in a garage with a hot glue gun and an electric screwdriver not knowing a thing about the toy business to now an all-around toy manufacturer, they’re now playing with the big guys, all year long.
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