Friday, November 2, 2012

"Kitsch Sells" Reports Jeanne Lang Jones in the Puget Sound Business Journal Story on A Crowded Coop Who Just Announced Deal to Launch a Dickies Pet and Equestrian Line

From left, Mary Olson and Brandy Tanner, partners at Crowded Coop in Monroe, have a window between their offices so they can talk to each other while they work. Olson is holding a Blooming Bath, used when giving babies baths in the sink. Blooming Bath brought its product to Crowded Coop, which handles manufacturing as well as working on the packaging design and testing. Photo by Marcus Donner.
This article on Brandy Tanner and Mary Olson of A Crowded Coop takes a close look at how they've grown their business with a lot of laughs along the way.  With licensing deals with Valve Software (Crowded Coop makes a ton of cool Dota 2 and Portal 2 stuff) and now Dickies (these two women are leading the way in Dickies' new product categories for pets and horses), Olson and Tanner are two Washington women to watch.

The article reads in part, "Crowded Coop partners Mary Olson and Brandy Tanner create and sell a wide range of products — everything from kitschy ’70s-themed scratch ‘n sniff stickers to hoodies for gamers and, soon, pet products for working dogs.

A consumer product specialist firm, Crowded Coop develops products both under its own Kitsch on the Rocks label and as a licensee of other companies. Under their licensing agreements, Olson and Tanner create products and handle manufacturing and distribution for partner companies, paying a fee for use of the partner’s brand and intellectual property.

For example, Olson and Tanner have dreamed up dozens of products for Valve Software, a Kirkland gaming company. There are ... lunchboxes and messenger bags featuring characters from such games as “Steam” and “Team Fortress 2,” and a string of lights based on cubes used in “Portal,” another Valve game. Under its global license, Crowded Coop can sell Valve-branded products all over the world.

“It’s a hard code to crack. How to make a product and get it on store shelves is a mystery to most people,” said Olson. “People have great ideas, but they don’t know how to execute them from a production standpoint.”

Olson and Tanner do. They met as colleagues in the consumer products division of a local company. Olson was in sales; Tanner was in graphic design. The two women enjoyed working together and felt they could strike a better balance between home and work if they stepped out on their own."

Thank you to Jeanne Lang Jones for the in-depth story on these creative leaders.

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