A letter to OUR customers
Eight years ago, I had the idea to bring back a footed bowl I made in my ceramics studio a decade before and sell it online. I had no idea what I was doing. I just left a charity I founded and had never worked in consumer products. I thought maybe a few people would want one. While leading a foster care agency, I sent a few pictures to three design blogs. The bowl suddenly went viral! People all over the world cheered for my little footed mugs and bowls! I was floored. I had to suddenly figure out how to build a retail company! Within a few years, I expanded the collection, adding more footed products including pet bowls on paws.
The most amazing part was the feedback from my customers. These simple footed bowls tapped into something in all of us, a desire to see magic at our dinner tables, a joy we had as kids when we believed that anything was possible including that our dishware could come alive!
I started this company with no money, on a lark, and used crowdfunding and small loans (the only ones I could get without a house to re-finance) to help make more product. I worked alone, in my living room, with the cats as my only employees! By year three I was selling several hundred thousand dollars worth of footed mugs to countries around the world!
In 2013, I met Martin Leon Baretto, the incredible artist from Uruguay, and together we started working on a line of eco products for kids and pets. I spent over a year working with a new bio-plastic made from bamboo. I wanted a bio-plastic that looked like toxic plastic and I wanted it to be affordable so parents everywhere could make the best choices for their family. The results were stunning and perfect!
I raised money for the first time in the fall of 2016. I put all the investment into inventory only to discover that we purchased defective merchandise and we were unable to return them. Anyone who has ever worked with consumer products knows this is part of the process. We didn’t have the money to sue the factory (everyone asked). The company began to falter, I had to let go of our publicist, ads person …. I tried desperately to raise money. The eco products were in the US by now but sitting in a warehouse which had just more than doubled their monthly storage from $10 a pallet to $25. Our monthly rent fees went from $600 to $1500. I was forced to liquidate the ceramics for .35 a mug to bring in some income. Thankfully TJ Maxx bought all the pet bowls.
I read start-up case studies all the time. They sound magical, amazing …. Look what someone did with grit, passion and commitment. But its also luck, access, network, and money. I met with investors year over year and the gender discrimination for my “kitchen” company is rampant. I’ve been hit on, my company has been threatened, opportunities have disappeared when I made it clear that dating me was not part of the package. Why haven’t I given up? Two reasons:
- I truly believe that we need eco, safe and fun alternatives to the products we use every day, that our most beloved -- our kids and pets -- come in contact with
- For women everywhere. I want women to know that they can build a company, that they can raise money the same as a man with good products and good ideas, and that they can do it on their own. They don’t need a male partner or husband to be successful.
Now, after being told only a few weeks by another investor who is passing that “it's not because of my gender” I am turning to you. If you want to see the same thing I do, better products for our homes that you love, and more women leading companies on their own merit, then please consider joining me.
With your help we can do the following:
- Move all of our goods to a single warehouse location in the LA area. We are searching for a healthy environment for shipping and storage where the owner/management will not be also wanting a date in exchange for the deal.
- Capital to purchase back all of our goods to put in this single location.
Once we have these 2 issues resolved we will be able to ship the Dylan Kendall line all around the world to warm the hearts and minds of the population. Join us on this journey.
Disrupting The Kitchen Space with Fun and Safe homegoods Video