I'm excited to share the final part of my series. Today, I am going to share how I landed a licensing deal with major toy company, Wham-O! To read the rest of the series see below this post for more.
Immediately following the airing of Shark Tank, Locker Board grew over 300%. It was incredible, but also a lot to handle. My parents had to get more involved to help me, especially my Mom (it became a fulltime job for her). I was homeschooled so I could work on my company.
Retailers and people all over the world started contacting us. Major TV Networks, YouTube Channels, and news outlets wanted to interview me (the year after Shark Tank aired I appeared in over 50 articles/shows/speaking engagements).
We had to find the right manufactures to take over production of Locker Boards and figure out fulfillment, marketing and website platforms. My Mom and I flew all over the country for interviews and public speaking events. This affected my whole family. It was a lot of hard work and, at times, difficult to manage.
I was 11 years old when I filmed Shark Tank and 12 years old when it aired. I was homeschooled 7th thru 8th grade as we figured things out. I'm social and did NOT like being homeschooled.
As high school was approaching, I told my parents I wanted to go back to school. I didn't want to miss out on my high school experience, but I also didn't want to let go of Locker Board. I talked to Sir Richard and the Virgin Group about it and we set a goal:
To find a partner that could take Locker Board to the next level while I focused on school. That partner would take over manufacturing, selling and the day to day operations while I managed my social media and remained the face of the company.
I've always loved the Wham-O brand. I grew up playing with all of their toys (Frisbee, Slip-N-Slide, Hula Hoop, Boogie Boards and more). I decided to reach out to them and sent an email to Todd Richards, the president of Wham-O.
One of the most important things I've learned from my parents is the 50/50 rule. When you put yourself out there and approach someone for help, you have a 50/50 shot. The very worst thing that could happen is hearing the word "no"...and what if they say "yes". It's worth the risk.
It turns out Todd knew who I was. He had been following my story. His son is a teacher and had been one of my homeschool teachers in 7th grade and they had talked about me (I had no clue that my teacher was related to Todd). He invited me to their corporate headquarters, which was only an hour away from our home, and (get this) in the city of CARSON (how ironic is that)!
I'll never forget pulling up to the Wham-O HQ building. It's massive. We didn't realize they also own another one of my favorite brands, Body Glove. I was awestruck when they showed us around. When I met Todd and his team in their boardroom that day, I knew I wanted to work with them. They were so fun, excited about Locker Board and we totally got each other.
The team had to run it by their owner, Joseph Lin. I came back to meet him. I was really nervous because he's a super important guy. We hit it off immediately. My Mom and Dad came with me. When we left, I told my parents that I wanted to do a deal with Wham-O.
It took a year of negotiation and in February of 2020 we officially became partners. A month after we announced the deal on ABC's hit show, 2020, the pandemic hit, and I wound up having to be homeschooled anyways (fortunately this month school started up again and I'm back 4 days a week).
It's been a crazy, tough year, but we have made it through and are praying this is going to end soon throughout the world. I hope you and your family are well and staying positive.
Throughout the pandemic, the Wham-O team has continued to work hard on Locker Board and just launched their Wham-O Wheelz Locker Board Series which are now available at Big 5, Dick's Sporting Goods and on Amazon. It's an exciting time and I still can't believe that Locker Board is part of the iconic brand's line up of toys.
I'm grateful to Joseph, Todd and the Wham-O team for all they have done to make this happen (and in the middle of a pandemic) and sending the team positive vibes that they land Locker Board in major retailers: Costco, Target and Walmart!
God continues to put the right people in my life, at the right time. That doesn't mean there aren't hurdles. A lot of things along the way have been discouraging and difficult. I've learned that when I'm clear about my goals, work hard and I'm patient...amazing things can happen.
I hope you have enjoyed learning more details about my journey through this 6 part series. My family and I felt it was important to share this aspect of my story. God can make amazing things happen if you are willing to trust Him and His timing and you never give up. If I can do it, you can do it.
Shred Hard. Dream Hard. Work Hard.
Above: Taken after my first meeting at Wham-O in 2019 with Todd Richards (President of Wham-O), Carson Kropfl (Founder of Locker Board) and David Huang (Head of Design and Product Development at Wham-O)
Below: Taken in 2020 at Wham-O HQ holding Wham-O Wheelz Locker Board (Grom Series) in front of a Locker Board retail display.