Walkie Chalk and City Girls Soap: 2 Suburban Families, 2 Ideas That Made it Big

06 Aug 2016

StartupNation

StartupNation inspires, educates and consistently attracts entrepreneurs and small business owners from Main Street America who want to be their own bosses and live the American Dream.

On this edition of StartupNation Radio, Jeff interviews Shauna and Matt Damman from Walkie Chalk and City Girls Soap owner Amy McIntire.

One day, while recovering from the arrival of their third child, Shauna was outside with her daughter, who was drawing with sidewalk chalk. Of course her daughter wanted her to play, too, but that was not what the doctor ordered.

So, Shauna took a broken handle from a rake and two zip strips and viola, the Walkie Chalk was invented. Shauna and Matt were surprised when they went online looking for a similar product and did not find anyone selling them anywhere, as the product simply was not invented yet. Matt and Shauna put together a business plan and a prototype and took it to market. They are now pitching their product to Toys “R” Us and Meijer.

City Girls SoapLater in the show, Jeff talks to Amy McIntire from City Girls Soap, who shares the most unexpected business thriving in Pontiac, Michigan: soap made from goat’s milk! At first, Amy was driving long distances every week to get goat’s milk for her daughter, as that was the only dairy she could have. She started thinking, “What if we bought our own goat?”

She and her family considered making a dairy, but it was cost-prohibitive. What to do with the extra milk being produced? They consulted with an MSU Product Advisor from the agricultural division to find out what their options were. They began making their City Girls Soap and headed up to Making It In Michigan held in Lansing each November to start selling their product and, more importantly, gaining market feedback.

They’ve also gone one step further by following their philosophy of using the whole goat, as these goats are available for rent to clean up vacant fields. Amy was able to develop a great new revenue stream that she never anticipated when she started.

Stay tuned for next week’s edition of StartupNation Radio!

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