Chanda Bell: Co-Author of The Elf on The Shelf: A Christmas Tradition

Episode 321

In this episode of The Kara Goldin Show, we meet Chanda Bell, Co-Founder of The Elf on the Shelf franchise and Co-CEO of the parent company, The Lumistella Company. Chanda, along with her mother and twin sister, like to say that they bring Santa’s North Pole to life through consumer products, brand experiences and original entertainment. We learn about Chanda’s entrepreneurial journey and lessons that she has learned along the way. Her story of co-authoring the book that launched a product and a viral phenomenon. Her wisdom and lessons growing the company are incredible. This is one, inspiring episode that you won’t want to miss. On this episode of #TheKaraGoldinShow.

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Kara Goldin 0:00
I am unwilling to give up that I will start over from scratch as many times as it takes to get where I want to be I want to be, you just want to make sure you will get knocked down. But just make sure you don’t get knocked down knocked out. So your only choice should be go focus on what you can control control control. Hi, everyone and welcome to the Kara Goldin show. Join me each week for inspiring conversations with some of the world’s greatest leaders. We’ll talk with founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and really some of the most interesting people of our time. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s go. Let’s go. Hi, everyone. It’s Kara Goldin from the Kara Goldin show. And I am so so excited for our next guest. We have Chanda Bell, who is the founder of elf on the shelf, and also the CO CEO of the Luma Stella company, which is the holding company for all things elf on the shelf. And I am so so excited to do this interview, because I of course, like many others know exactly what this product is. And I did not know what the backstory was. I was so excited when I researched it a little bit more, and was just chatting with Chanda a little bit about it, that it’s definitely one that I think you’re going to be so inspired by. So if you don’t know what Elf on the Shelf is, then you absolutely must, must, must learn all about it. And for those of us who have purchased it, gifted it and laughed over the years that all of the funny content, you’re going to be so so thrilled with this interview. So the Luma stellar company, as I mentioned, is the holding company which is the powerhouse that brings Santos north pole to life through consumer products, brand experiences and original entertainment. Chanda is also the co owner and executive producer of the subsidiaries Scout elf productions. And like I said, I can’t wait to speak with her to hear more about her story of launching not only the product, but the viral phenomenon, and excited to of course, learn all the lessons learned of building this company. So let’s get started. Welcome, Chanda. Thank you.

Chanda Bell 2:28
Thank you. I’m so happy to be here. It’s such an honor. I’m a huge fan.

Kara Goldin 2:32
Oh, so cool. So first of all, what is Elf on the Shelf? What is it for those who have been hiding under a rock for the last

Chanda Bell 2:44
hour? Okay, so the elf on the shelf is a children’s book that comes with its very own L from Santa Claus. And the idea is that you give the Alfa name. And that’s how it gets its Christmas magic and comes to life. And the elf watches during the day and reports to Santa every night. And in the morning before kids wake up, the owl flies back from the North Pole, and finds a new spot in the house from which to land and observe and really becomes part of the family. So it is a self published book that I wrote with my mom based on our own family tradition. So I grew up with an owl we had a Frisbee in our house growing up in the 70s and 80s. And this was just such a beloved family tradition for us. And so I taught school for six years had a child of my own. I was working for my dad, two days a week, I’m trying to make a little extra money, we were broke. So I looked up one day and I saw the outfit that I grew up with sitting on a shelf. And I looked at my mom and I was like Mom, you know, let’s let’s write a book about the girl. And that’s really how our journey began. It was innocent, and we had no idea what we were getting into.

Kara Goldin 3:54
So you mentioned your mom. So you co founded this company with your mom and also your your twin sister and my sister. That’s right. All women love, love, love that aspect of it as well. But so you launched the company in 2005. Is that correct?

Chanda Bell 4:14
That’s correct. Yeah. So we launched in 2005. Really just with the Elf on the Shelf as a book and a product to box that the author in the book have always come together. And you know, had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I mean, my background again, was in education, I taught reading and language arts and social studies. So I had no business background, but we couldn’t get anyone to publish it. And so it’s just one of those things. I tell people all the time, either you have a good idea and that’s all it will ever be. Or you got to step out and do something like that. And so, you know, that’s where it was like, Alright, we’re gonna have to just take a leap of faith here. But we had no money and no experience. And so if I had been consulting my former So, like, what are you doing? But ignorance is bliss.

Kara Goldin 5:05
So you mentioned that you were a teacher. So did you stop teaching immediately as soon as you launched the company, so I

Chanda Bell 5:12
actually was staying home to be a mom. So I just had my son in 2001. So my husband and I, we had our budget was $150 a week, or every two weeks. And that included diapers, formula, everything, we had absolutely no money, my husband was a teacher too. And so to make ends meet, I started working for my dad two days a week, and he would let me work there, I was able to bring my son with me. I did basic, like invoicing, and, you know, all that sort of office work assistant for him in a little engineering and fabrication firm that he started. And, you know, I look back on that, I don’t think anything that happens to you on your entrepreneurial journey is an accident, I was meant to be a teacher. That’s how I learned so much about you know, relating to kids, and, you know, the stories that we tell, so I can get inside their brain really easily. But then I look back at that part of my life. And that’s really where I learned a little bit about business. You know, I hadn’t taken a business class, I didn’t know any of those things. So it was everything from you know, what’s the difference between an invoice and a packing slip to, you know, basic QuickBooks and things like that. And so, it was during that time that my mom and I wrote elf on the shelf. So I would spend the night with my parents that one night, work the next day, and then head back home because I was making a drive that was roughly two, two and a half hours one way with a little infants. That was tough, but my dad paid me $180 to work those two days. And that was a game changer for me. And for our little family.

Kara Goldin 6:49
That’s wild. So you mentioned that your dad was had launched a fabrication. So he was an entrepreneur, correct? He

Chanda Bell 6:57
was and when I look back, I’m like, you know, my dad was the quintessential entrepreneur dreamer. There’s so many lessons that I learned from him, you know, he would always say things like cash is king, or when you own your own business, you’re never on vacation. And I would always be like, how can you not be on vacation? Just tell him you’re off, you know, but but you’re not, you know, you’re always on, you’re always the one that’s solving the problem and fixing the issue and but there’s so much that I learned from him looking back, we lost him about seven years ago, eight years ago. But man, he did so much to help us, you know, set ourselves up. As a business, he gave us our first you know, computer, my mom’s sister and I shared one little corner of his fabrication office with our one phone and our one computer and we were shipping product out of the back of his little engineering fabrication firm as well. So having my dad be a huge part of that a big supporter for us. Definitely was, you know, part of our launch story.

Kara Goldin 7:59
Did he actually help you fabricate the doll?

Chanda Bell 8:02
No, you know, I mean, of course, Santa sends us the dolls. No, he did all metal work, metal fabrication. So you know, definitely his knowledge just as an entrepreneur and, you know, business mindset, but he knew it this tradition meant to us and he knew that I was certainly my sister, my mom, very driven. And you know, that he always raised us to be problem solvers. So, you know, it’s like, okay, that’s not going to work. Now what? And so he he’s definitely a huge part of our story, we wouldn’t be where we are without him.

Kara Goldin 8:35
So you mentioned that you had no idea what you were getting into when I launched this. What was your first store?

Chanda Bell 8:42
Um, okay, so we launched going to like little junior league type markets, you know, there’s a great place to get started those types of little craft fairs. They’re not too expensive to get into. They’re usually very well connected people that are shopping there. So that was a huge, that’s how we stepped in. And at first, they told us no, they were not going to let us in because we only had one product. And in the past, they had seen, you know, entrepreneurs get upset when their one product didn’t sell. And so we basically like sold our souls, we were like, we will do anything if you please let us in. We will not hold you responsible if we do not sell this product that’s on us, and talked our way into the Junior League market in Cobb Marietta, where we’re from in Georgia, and ended up picking up a few vendors there that then went to other shows. And then I think our first real storefront was a hallmark store in a local market here and it’s a great story because it’s the only one and only cold call I ever did. And we laugh for years because he kicked me out. Like I don’t want to hear any of that here. And then I was working late one night after we had launched and I get this phone call and I I’m,

Kara Goldin 10:00
wait, I’m sorry. So back up, I want to hear the beginning of this. So you cold call him? Well,

Chanda Bell 10:05
I actually walked in his door, okay. And I walked in his stores when we very first launch, we didn’t have a storefront, we didn’t have anything, I don’t even think we’d done the Junior League at that point, it was pretty much like, Hey, here’s this book, are you interested? And he kicked me out of this store. And he was like, you know, we don’t we don’t take you know, cold calls or whatever, people off the street. I don’t remember what he said. And I was so mortified. I was like, Okay, I can’t get back. I can’t go into stores. It scared me to death. And so we launched in these little shows and markets that we would do anyone who would host a book signing, you know, we did that we had a big book signing launch event ourselves, we’re invited all our family and all our friends and just got a lot of community support. And so I’m working late one night, probably 930 At night, and I get this phone call. And it’s like you, you sell these l things, you know, and I’m like, Yes, sir. This is the home of the elf on the shelf. And he introduces himself. And I mean, I’m on the other end, like Glee, you know, I’m like, You’re not gonna remember this, but you kicked me out of your store. He became one of our best clients, he ended up working here at the company for roughly five, six years, when he finally sold his hallmark store. And so just a beautiful friendship began that he was a huge part of our story, too.

Kara Goldin 11:23
That’s so funny. So how did you figure out like inventory and all these things that you had to project? I mean, it must have just been really challenging all those first, I get that question from so many entrepreneurs just starting out? I mean, how do you figure out how much to produce? And, you know, and all of those factors that are important factors and expensive factors, if I guess if you get it wrong, as well,

Chanda Bell 11:49
you’re exactly right. You know, and we made some of those mistakes along the way, too, you know, too much too little, you know, it’s that game, especially for us, because we were a seasonal company, and we only had one product, so it was this or nothing. And so my sister had come from PVC, she was an honor host there. So she was huge about, you know, be the brand she’d seen a lot of people be, you know, ripped off. And so we were always pretending to be bigger than we were. When you called our office, we all had alter egos went by our middle names to you know, you want to speak to Chanda. Oh, hang on one moment. Hello. It was still me, you know. So we laugh about that all the time. But it was like, you know, it’s that balance between, don’t leave a void in the market. But also, you know, you got to race to be the brand. And then then what does that look like? We have no money, how are we going to do this. And so our first order was a minimum order. And we ended up putting the whole entire order on my personal credit cards. And my mom and dad had a very small 401k. And my sister sold her house in Pennsylvania, and was going to move back here to join us in the business. And we put all that money together, and we bought what we could afford. And that was 5000 units. And so we spent that whole first season in 2005. Literally anyone who had stopped and listened to us tell our story and convince them you know how great this would be for their family how much this tradition would mean. And so that’s really how we got started. But that balance between how much do you order? You know, we had nowhere to store it, where do we put it. So it was like we have to sell out. But then by the same token, alright, we don’t want to leave a void. And so I do remember, it was probably our like, roughly third year in where we did have a lot of inventory left over. And you know, all of those are the challenges that you you know, kind of learned as you build your business and you get smarter and you start forecasting, which was a totally novel idea for us at the time. And at

Kara Goldin 14:00
what point did you start to go into some of the bigger retailers? Like obviously, you have a giant you have aisles, you don’t even have like, I can’t even imagine how many SKUs you have in Target or some of the others that are out there. I mean, at what point did you actually make that jump to move into some bigger ones, because that’s also tough to project as well.

Chanda Bell 14:22
So hard to navigate. And my sister had seen so many wins and losses there. You know, there are certain stores that would want to buy on consignment and she had seen people just lose their shirt, literally by putting all they had into you know this product that they were manufacturing and then when it didn’t sell they returned it and so she did a great job putting a lot of that kind of process in upfront for us. So we asked everyone who placed an order with us, they’d have to prepay their order before it shipped, which really helped us in in oh seven and oh eight when the market crash because everyone had prepaid us for orders So that was a huge part of us staying afloat. It was roughly oh eight, before we started moving into some larger stores. No one wanted to talk to us. You know, we were unproven. Now people launch things. And they’ll say things like, you know, this is like Elf on the Shelf. This is the whatever version of Elf on the Shelf. There was no Elf on the Shelf, there was nothing comparative to the essence. So in launching it, we had to really convince people that this had legs. And so our approach was a lot of guerilla marketing, a lot of creating demand. But we started with the groups that would pay attention to us, right. And so it was toy, individually owned mom and pop stores gift stores. I remember our minimum order was for six units, just take six units, free shipping, and I think it sold at retail for 2495. So I think I mean, it was like, What do I have to do to get you in this Elf on the Shelf today, if they would just try it. And so I think that first year, I’m trying to remember exactly how many like little storefronts and stuff we had. But it was probably three years. And before we really grew, we started in Hallmark stores. And then from there really created a lot of demand in the book channel, it was probably at least five years, five, six years before we ever went mass market,

Kara Goldin 16:22
you have such a community around you and that and cloud sourcing a lot of you know, these ideas were you know, there definitely was the story of Elf on the Shelf. But then it just went viral. I mean, the some of the videos that I’ve seen that have been passed on, I know you’ve seen them as well, you’re not creating all of those, right? It’s it’s really the consumer that is creating these, I’ve been fascinated by the brand and the story, because I’ve used you guys as such an example of people that have created incredible content using their products or allowed the consumers to do that. Can you touch on that with us?

Chanda Bell 17:02
Yes, thank you so much for saying that, that so kind of you, you know, I think it’s one of the things that makes our product so unique is that, you know, the elf matches the personality of whatever family adopts it and right, so it becomes really personal to people. You know, when someone finds out what I do, the first thing they do is like pull out their phone or their Well, I mean, I started getting pictures of their family and their, their elders and what their elders named. And, you know, it’s really incredible to get to touch people in that very personal way, you know, we are a part of the fabric of their most treasured holiday memories. And so it has definitely taken on a life of its own. But I think our job as entrepreneurs is to listen to that. So we have to put up our guardrails, right, which these are the things we can allow for our elf, these are the things that we can’t, because this doesn’t fit the ethos of our version of Santos North Pole. And so you have to kind of maintain that line, because you can be a lot of things to a lot of people. But what we have been able to maintain is who we are the North Pole, the ethos of our North Pole, what happens at the North Pole with the elves do with the North Pole, all of that kind of stays complete. But within all of that has become this sort of, you know, culture of creation, when we first launched, there was no social media, you know, and so it’s that fine line between, you know, what do your consumers want? What are they doing with the product? Where are they excited about, while staying true to your version of, you know, of the guests, you know, or the goal that that you have, for what you’re creating. And so we have our own production company, Scott off production. So we do turn out quite a bit of content, we have our own, you know, video production team on staff, we have photographers, and you know, we have the list of all of those things, because, you know, we really are the voice of the North Pole for this generation. I mean, kids call our office, we have to staff up for that. So we do create a lot of our own content. But then we’re also to your point able to leverage a lot of fan content, and they are avid and we are so thankful for them, because they’ve become sort of a self monitoring group to you know, when someone’s trying to make a name for themselves by attaching Elf on the Shelf to an article that’s, you know, not becoming, I mean, this parents jump right in and let them know that is a beloved family tradition, and they better not mess with it. So I love it’s a little of all of it, but it’s so much fun to watch.

Kara Goldin 19:37
Yeah, I love that. So you and I were briefly touching on trademarks, I would imagine that you’ve learned quite a bit about that world here. You are just starting. You’re an author. You started with a product with a family tradition and you’ve got to, you know, deal with people that actually want to steal ideas out there. I would imagine you No, throughout the years, how do you guys think about that about trademarks and people going after that?

Chanda Bell 20:07
I mean, wow, that it’s so hard I have a passion for, you know, entrepreneurs, for lack of a better word, you know, I’m a mom, I didn’t come from this background. And so for me, it was just doing something that I was passionate about following that passion, taking sort of this, those leaps of faith, the steps of faith in our journey, but it is super difficult. When you don’t come from a background like that, to know how to protect your idea, I knew enough to register a copyright. But past that, especially when you’re looking at you know, patents, or trademarks, or things like that those are very expensive, those seem very difficult for people, I am constantly pushing people to, you know, the trademark search, they’ve done a good job where you can at least search it and see what else is out there. And when I meet with people, I really encourage them find something that’s unique that hasn’t been used before, that hasn’t been taken before. Because the more you know, sort of generic you are, the more difficult it is to find something that you can protect, you know, working with the trademark office finding a good attorney. And you know, a lot of times when you’re an entrepreneur, you just don’t have a those resources, and you don’t have that money. And that’s a really tough path. But I would say having said all of that, it’s actually money really well spent. Because you’ll spend a lot of time and a lot of effort on the back end trying to clean it up. We have a whole in house legal team now that all they do is shut down counterfeit infringement, you know, look out for those types of things. But when you’re starting getting good guidance there, and spending some time and effort and some resources, even though it feels like you don’t have any of that. It really is time well spent. Because if you’re not able to protect that, whatever it is that makes you unique, different your brand name, you know, and that’s co opted and it’s successful, all of a sudden, it doesn’t have any value anymore.

Kara Goldin 22:07
Yeah, absolutely. We’ve had more than a couple of guests on who have shared horror stories about how they just thought they were launching, you know, a product, something that they really wanted to get to market and they launched a company and they never got the trademark registered and the number that I mean, so many lessons. And you know, it’s just, it’s something that’s really important. I think that the issue that so many other people have, too, is when you go outside of the US, there’s only so much protection that you have. So I think it’s still a big challenge for companies in every single industry. So you touch on the fact that you’re, you know, a seasonal company, but you’ve branched out to how do you think about that? I mean, what else? Have you guys done outside of the elf on the shelf? And when did you really decide, okay, we’re gonna focus on more than just that chunk of time around the holidays.

Chanda Bell 23:05
Yeah, so I’m equally as passionate when I when I meet with entrepreneurs, to really help them dig into their own vision, mission, purpose and values. What is it that makes you unique? What is it that gets you excited about actually working and running your company? What is it that’s different about you? What do you want to be spending your time on? Because for us, we were sort of faced with, okay, we launched this, we figured it out. Now what, so all of a sudden, all these people have elf on the shelf, and they’re like, what’s next, and I’m like, I don’t know, I don’t even know who we are. We’re just glad we got this out. And we started creating a brand name, you know. And so for a long time, our vision was really just rLf on everything on every shelf, not any else will do be the brand. And that had to be our focus, you can’t get too broad at the wrong time. Because then you just lose all sense of self, you can’t be everything to everyone. So for us, that was really our one, you know, single mindset vision, every resource every moment, every penny we made was geared towards protecting that. And then it was roughly 2013 2016, where we had launched the reindeer alphabets reindeer, we’d also launched a small product called a light in the night. And so we dabbled in some different things, we’d launched a follow up to Elf on the Shelf, the birthday tradition book. So it was like, Okay, who are we? What do we want to be and everybody had an idea of, you know, what this company was supposed to do or be and we weren’t even sure ourselves to be honest with you, other than we knew we were sort of this voice of Santa Claus. And so you start taking what your consumers and fans are wanting from you. And out of those three products that I mentioned, the reindeer really started to sort of resonate with people and they see and excited about it. And I’m like, Okay, well, if the Elf on the Shelf birthday book isn’t like as big as off on the shelf, right, and this cute little product caught a light in the night, which would have put us squarely sort of in the publishing room. I was like, that’s not really working. And so we sat down as an executive team and just did a lot of work on, you know, our vision, our mission, our purpose and our values. And I’m happy to say that our values stay the same, and so did our purpose, which really, when we dug into it was to create joyful family moments. That’s what we do. Every product, we design, everything we put out, whether it’s reading a book together with your family, you know, Elf on the Shelf, making those memories watching one of our animated specials. You know, even if you’re playing with a plush toy, or, you know, you bought a pencil with our brand on it. Our goal is okay, how does that translate into a joyful family moment? And so for us, you know, my mind goes to Okay, did you use that pencil or pen to write your letter to Santa, you know, what was that we were able to create for you that wouldn’t have existed without us. And so that was sort of the first piece of it. And our values of family integrity, respect, and excellence, which is fire is how to how we refer to it. And that was really just an outpouring of who we were as people and what was important to us, and then bringing that to life within the company. So those were sort of the two pieces that we sort of already had. But what we didn’t have was our vision and our mission, and we could have been a lot of things. And so we could have been a something on a something and then a tradition for every holiday, right? Or we could have tried to own the season of Christmas. But that really would have been like decor and stockings, and, and all of those things. And none of that got me as a storyteller. Excited. And so what were we really landed was, and what everyone in our company is passionate about, outside and creating joyful family moments was telling the stories of Santas North Hall. And that’s what we do. And so we’ve done that through elf pets, we’ve done that through elf mates, we’ve done that through animated specials. And we’ve really become a year round go to for all things that are happening at the North Pole, which is a 365 day a year, destination. And now we’re working really hard to expand that. So we have signed a deal with Netflix to bring, you know, television series and, and movies to live. And so we’re actively working on that. We’re looking at different types of opportunities to tell stories, and so hoping to launch different formats in books and finding partners to help us do that. We have our global launches of our product lines. And so we really defined that vision very clearly. And then our mission is how we do it. And that is through entertainment experiences, you know, consumer products, and that focus helped us go, Okay, we can’t be everything to everybody what we don’t want to do, we can license or find partners for, but it’s centered all of us. And now we have over 100 employees, you know, that work for Santa Claus full time. But we’re all moving in the same direction to expand that world of Santa Claus as his voice because it really is sort of the greatest, I’m gonna say mythology of our time. And no one really is in a better position to do that than we are.

Kara Goldin 28:25
So you have moved a single product company into a global entertainment leader, and you know, multiple languages throughout the world. How have you dealt with that? I mean, it’s just, it’s a lot. And what you guys have done is just unbelievable,

Chanda Bell 28:46
you know, sometimes when I have a chance to breathe, and I sit back and I look or somebody says something like that, I’m like, wow, that is incredible, because it feels like you’re talking about someone else, you know? Yeah. And I think it’s because, you know, that entrepreneurial spirit, you know, I’m not going to rest until literally every person knows what, you know, elf on the shelf and that all pets are and have embraced our version of the storytelling of the North Pole. And so it’s hard for me to ever have that moment of like, oh, you know, we made it because in my mind, oh, there’s so so much more to do. But with that is also just incredible opportunity. You know, I’m really blessed because I have a twin sister who I am co CEOs. We run a company together. We work super closely together, we work really well together. But she supports me and I support her and she really handles all these operational pieces that would just drain my very soul. Whereas she really supports me being the creative. You know, the chief storyteller for Santa Claus through all these different formats even when it sounds crazy. I’m like we have to put out more animated spells Because I don’t care what this cost, I don’t care what we have to do. And I remember telling our team, I was like, I don’t care. If we spend a penny on marketing, that money has got to go to make these specials. And they all looked at me like I was crazy. The bankers didn’t like it, nobody liked it. But I’m like, This is what we have to do to achieve our vision. So having her as a support there, and her experience, I would say, is really a key to where we’ve been today. And of course, the fan support. I mean, they’re, they’re amazing and loyal and pretty incredible.

Kara Goldin 30:29
I love that example. I mean, it’s truly I think trusting your gut, a lot of the decisions that it sounds like you’ve made to grow the company and you’ve been spot on, you’ve probably made a couple of errors along the way. But you’ve also learned from those and been able to, you know, figure out how to move it forward. So the elf has rules. You share what the rules are, because I have to tell you, my husband and I were as I was doing research over the last couple of days on, on the Elf on the Shelf, he didn’t know that there were rules. And I said, Oh, yeah,

Chanda Bell 31:08
there’s rules. Very important. That’s

Kara Goldin 31:11
very, very important. Can you share the roles with everyone?

Chanda Bell 31:14
Sure. So the elf can’t speak to kids. You know, he’s busy working, she’s busy working, so they really can’t play, even though they would love to and kids cannot touch the elf or its magic might go. So those are sort of the two big roles. We have a lot of fun here in the office. We call it the southern branch of Santos North Pole. But, you know, some of the best stories that we get are these moments where you know, a babysitter or a teacher or someone who did not know, accidentally touched the owl. And we do have emergency solves. To get enough magic back to the URL to get them to the elf er, that I think that’s part of what makes the magic of what we do so special. It’s unique. It’s a whole family moment. You know, somebody accidentally touches the URL. The kids are screaming, crying. It’s a magic. I mean, we get phone calls, parents absolutely freaking out. We actually have a new book this year called elf task trophy in case of elk task trophy that tells parents what to do in case in case one of those old rules is broken. So it’s a lot of fun. But yeah, that the rules are serious. And kids take it pretty seriously as well.

Kara Goldin 32:27
You guys just have so much fun. I can only imagine. I mean, even as you’re, you’re sitting there talking, I mean, you’re just smiling. So being able to create a brand that might have momentary frustrations attached to it and tears. But overall, I think people are really excited and happy and and you’re leading happiness. That’s how I

Chanda Bell 32:48
hear what you guys are doing sweet. Yeah, we we love what we do. And, you know, I get often our customer service team will send us emails, like you gotta read this one, you got to see this one. And it’s really moving. I mean, it’s heartfelt, what this tradition means to them. You know, we’ve had families where, you know, a child might die and the elf comes. I mean, it’s, it’s extremely moving. We’ve had moments of, you know, absolute hilarity to it just you never know what’s on the other end of that phone, especially during the holiday season. But it really is an honor to get to be that for people,

Kara Goldin 33:27
What’s the best advice that you’ve ever received? Wow.

Chanda Bell 33:31
I like to think that I’m always learning like, I don’t ever want to stop. I think when it comes to the business, I think, you know, what I tell people a lot of times is grow where you’re planted. So, you know, I’ll meet with someone, they always want to take you to coffee, which is very nice that if I honored all of those, all I would do is drink coffee, you probably feel the same way. But a lot of the times when we are out for coffee, and we get to have that moment, and I am hopefully helping someone on their journey, because certainly certainly people helped me when you’re kind of cobbling all that together. I think it’s really about growing where you’re planted. You know, you can’t take on the whole world, we would have failed so quickly if all the dreams I had for what we wanted to do had come true instantly. You know, it was first Alright, create a brand here in Georgia do enough. You know, does Georgia know what this is? Now let’s branch out to the south east. Now let’s branch out, you know, across the nation in a way that sustainable because you don’t have like the systems and the resources and all the things. And you know, my sister was really correct. You know, if we had branched out too quickly, too fast, gotten too big or too well known. It would have been just too simple to knock us off. And we actually had a few big companies that tried and we had enough people turn them in and we were able to work on the backside to you know, shut that down really quickly. But you know, that was our whole bread and butter. That was our Hold company. So growing where you’re planted and being smart about that not trying to take on more than you really can handle, I think is essential.

Kara Goldin 35:08
Absolutely. Well, thank you so much for spending this time with us Chanda, it’s such a pleasure to meet you. And I wish you all the best everyone needs to get to know you and get to know your sister and your and your mom. And that the whole backstory, we’ll have all of that information in the show notes, but also Elf on the Shelf. Definitely if you have not purchased any accessories if you already have one. And the new books, as you mentioned, definitely for those catastrophe times that might occur, you definitely need to make sure to have that on hand. So thank you again. And thanks, everybody for listening to this episode as well. So have a great rest of the week. Thanks all for listening to this episode. We hope you enjoyed it. And I want to thank all of our guests and our sponsors. And finally our listeners keep the great comments coming in. And one final plug if you have not read or listened to my book undaunted, please do so you will hear all about my journey, including founding, scaling and building the company that I founded. Hint we are here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Thanks everyone for listening and goodbye for now. Before we sign off, I want to talk to you about fear. People like to talk about fearless leaders. But achieving big goals isn’t about fearlessness. Successful leaders recognize their fears and decide to deal with them head on in order to move forward. This is where my new book undaunted comes in. This book is designed for anyone who wants to succeed in the face of fear, overcome doubts and live a little undaunted. Order your copy today at undaunted, the and learn how to look your doubts and doubters in the eye and achieve your dreams. For a limited time. You’ll also receive a free case of hint water. Do you have a question for me or want to nominate an innovator to spotlight send me a tweet at Kara Goldin and let me know. And if you liked what you heard, please leave me a review on Apple podcasts. You can also follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn at Kara Goldin. Thanks for listening