Jeanne Lang Jones, Puget Sound Business Journal
Crowded Coop partners Mary Olson and Brandy Tanner create and sell a wide range of products — everything from kitschy ’70s-themed scratch ‘n sniff stickers to hoodies for gamers and, soon, pet products for working dogs.
A consumer product specialist firm, Crowded Coop develops products both under its own Kitsch on the Rocks label and as a licensee of other companies. Under their licensing agreements, Olson and Tanner create products and handle manufacturing and distribution for partner companies, paying a fee for use of the partner’s brand and intellectual property. For example, Olson and Tanner have dreamed up dozens of products for Valve Software, a Kirkland gaming company. There are hoodies and T-shirts, lunchboxes and messenger bags featuring characters from such games as“Steam” and “Team Fortress 2,” and a string of lights based on cubes used in “Portal,” another Valve game.
Under its global license, Crowded Coop can sell Valve-branded products all over the world. “It’s a hard code to crack. How to make a product and get it on store shelves is a mystery to most people,” said Olson. “People have great ideas, but they don’t know how to execute them from a production standpoint.”
Olson and Tanner do. They met as colleagues in the consumer products division of a local company. Olson was in sales; Tanner was in graphic design. The two women enjoyed working together and felt they could strike a better balance between home and work if they stepped out on their own.
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Crowded Coop Article_PSBJ_20121102