I am a wife and SAHM to 5 daughters. In February 2013, we all went on a family vacation only to come home with E-coli bacteria. We were all fine except our second oldest daughter (9 at the time) who spent 6 weeks at Children's Mercy. What was happening to her was, the bacteria was attacking most of her major organs. Immediately her kidney's stopped functioning, followed by her brain (which landed her in the PICU for a couple days), then her lungs and heart. Thankfully everything recovered except her kidney's. After 6 long weeks in the hospital she came home on daily dialysis and after 11 months (January 2013) her father donated one of his kidney's to her.
In order for her to keep her new kidney healthy and hydrated, right after her transplant she was expected to drink a little over 4 Liters of fluid daily, (now it's down to 3 Liters which is where it will stay). After watching her struggle and suffer over the last year all I wanted to do was something to help make her life easier. She was drinking constantly and either dropping her water bottle, having to set it down to be able to use both hands and then usually forgetting where she set it down so I decided to make a water bottle holder for her to help make this arduous task a little easier. I cannot draw or sew so I cut and taped paper together to show her sewing teacher what I had in mind and (unbeknownst to me) the HOLSTR was born. This product was so convenient and useful for my daughter that I decided I wanted one and was thinking about the items I never leave the house without and figured out how to add them to the water bottle holder. What I was noticing is every time we'd wear the product around people would stop and ask where I got it.
Fast forward one year and this SAHM, who wasn't on Facebook, had no business background, certainly no accounting or marketing experience had a company that was incorporated, a patent pending product, trademark pending name, was working with overseas manufacturers, was quickly learning how to use social media platforms, how to design and run a webpage and was learning real fast that QuickBooks is challenging to the average Joe.
We officially launched HOLSTRit in September 2015, have already redesigned our product per customer feedback, attended over 25 tradeshows in the first 15 months and continue to sell at tradeshows and online. I partnered with Charlie Hustle to use the Heart KC logo on our HOLSTRs. I partnered with the National Kidney Foundation 1 year ago to give back and turn our tragedy into a blessing. I tried out for Shark Tank and will continue to do so each year...because it's fun. I just acquired KU licensing and will have 2 new KU products on the market in August of this year. I am in the process of donating some of our original products to Girls On The Run which is so exciting for me. I continue to grow and learn something new about running a business every day whether I want to or not. This has been a huge challenge, something I never imagined I'd be doing and yet I can't imagine not doing it either. I have been taken so far out of my comfort zone I don't even know where that zone is anymore. I have a love/hate relationship with my business but I'm learning that's what being an entrepreneur is all about.