ABC's Shark Tank Winner Kiersten Hathcock on Her Bertie Toy Box, and the Moment When a Mom-Turned-Entrepreneur Gained Faith in Her Own Wings

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 hera 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. One of those misadventures involved her Bertie, a toy box we're relaunching next week, and Noah, coming out later this year. Read on to learn more about the power of her entrepreneurial spirit.

Bertie Toy Box

What's the story on Bertie?

When we lived in LA—and I was still delivering toy boxes in my trusty minivan up and down the 405—we had a few celebrity clients call in orders. I will never forget the time I delivered Bertie and Noah to Christina Applegate’s house. 

Christina and her husband, Martyne, are lovely people who didn’t even broach the subject of a discount. In LA, it’s pretty common for celebrities to ask for discounted or free merchandise, so it was nice to know they were willing to pay full price for their toy boxes.  (For the record, I don’t play the Hollywood freebie game.)

Like every order back then, I spent hours and hours in the garage making sure I built exactly what they were expecting—a product that clearly showed the love and respect I have for each and every customer. When I was finished polishing up the Bertie and Noah toy boxes they ordered, it was time to deliver them.

We feel the same way about customer satisfaction. But what went wrong?

Rain coated the windshield as I made the delivery trek up the hill to their gorgeous gated home in Beverly Hills. Everything was going as planned until my driver’s side window started the “oh no it’s not coming back up” descent into the door just before I turned into the driveway. By this time, the torrential downpour was not holding back and was soaking me from head to toe as I made my way up to their house. It certainly wasn’t my idea to greet them looking like I’d been in a dunk tank. Sure, we’d had the minivan for a long time, and sure, the door handle on the right-side slider door had literally come off in my hand, but I hadn’t expected this in my purposeful planning for a seamless drop off in Beverly Hills.

Oh no! How did they react?

I delivered their toy boxes looking like a drowned rat. Martyne was incredibly kind and complimentary of the toy boxes, so that made me feel less embarrassed. 

Looking back, this is one of the moments along the journey I now cherish the most.  Here I was building a high-end furniture brand that was competing with multi-million dollar companies, and I was a mom in a garage driving a broken minivan. 

It’s fitting that Christina and Martyne bought Bertie (a little bird) and Noah (a tot-sized owl).  After all, back then I was learning that all I needed was faith in my own wings. And maybe a car window that worked.

Wow. Your products literally gave you the faith to trust yourself. Every aspiring entrepreneur should hear this story. Can you tell us a bit more about they way it ended?

Absolutely! As you can see in the photo below, I ran into Martyne at an LA event, and he reiterated how much he and Christina loved their new toy boxes.

Kiersten and Martyne

So cool. And for all you interested readers, here's what Kiersten's Noah Toy Box looks like, ready for relaunch later this year! That's the cutest little owl we've every seen.

Noah Toy Box


1 comment

  • I love your ideas. Great work!

    James T DeMarco

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