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You don’t have to have had a long career in the fashion industry to turn a homemade birthday-party favor into a multimillion-dollar toy business, but it helps.
Beaver and Kim Raymond are the entrepreneurs behind Marshmallow Fun Company, headquartered in Dallas.
Twelve years ago, Beaver Raymond had a full-time job manufacturing clothing for several well-known brands, and he was also planning a birthday party for his 9-year old son, Jake. His wife, Kim, also a fashion industry executive, had the idea for a home-made toy blow-gun using marshmallows. Beaver got to work that night, making them himself.
Everyone had a lot of fun at the party, and for most people, that would have been the end of it. But Beaver and Kim are not ‘most people.’ These two astutely noticed that the homemade shooters had potential.
That’s where their entrepreneurial instincts took over. Beaver brought in some investors. He hired a designer and worked his manufacturing network to find a factory that could make the prototypes. Kim went into marketing mode and within a year the Marshmallow Fun Company was born and they were presenting the shooters to retailers across the country.
The couple has grown the business well beyond the blowers, and well beyond the toy industry. They’ve created special movie and TV tie-ins, private label products for candy shops like Dylan’s Candy Bar and department stores like Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.
Rather than follow the rule of “If it ain't broke, don’t fix it,” Beaver and Kim followed the fashion industry rule of “Keep it fresh.” They have come up with new designs and updated colors each year, bringing their products to retail stores outside the traditional toy-seller network.
Today, the Marshmallow Fun Company is busy busting down the wall between people-toys and pet-toys with a new product line of pet-food shooters. The Raymonds hope these designs will introduce their products to a very different retail industry and once again open up a whole new revenue stream for their company to chase.