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From Corporate to Carpentry: Crafting Success (w/ Kiersten Hathcock, Founder - Mod Mom Furniture)

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:00:00]:

Before we start the episode, we have a quick announcement to make. This is our last episode of the season, and we're keen on making season 3. But we need your help. And So She Left is looking for a sponsor to help us continue sharing unique and inspiring stories of women entrepreneurs from across the globe. If you or someone you know would like to sponsor the show, please reach out to us at podcast@cansulta.com. That's podcast@cansulta.com, or check out our website at andsosheleft.com. We've loved making this show for you and would love to make more. Thanks for listening, and enjoy the episode.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:00:38]:

Something we don't celebrate enough as entrepreneurs is the process of figuring things out. At the end of the day, that's what we do. We create solutions. And the joy of entrepreneurship comes from fully embracing that process of uncertainty and discovery, along with the curve balls that inevitably come our way. Back in 2006, Kiersten Hathcock was just trying to figure things out. She had left her job at A&E Television Networks a few years before and was bouncing around from town to town with her husband and their 2 kids. It was exhausting, but rather than going back to the familiarity of an office environment, Kiersten did the very last thing that anyone expected. She founded a children's furniture company called Mod Mom Furniture.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:01:28]:

In the beginning she was making everything by hand even without any previous carpentry experience. And in 2024, after the brand received international recognition and acclaim from Shark Tank, Elle Decor, Better Homes and Gardens, and more, she made another unexpected move. She simply walked away. Today, Kiersten is the Chief Marketing Officer at Moonshot. It's a non profit helping to spur economic development in rural Arizona. But to get there, Kiersten walked on some pretty uneven ground. She navigated a tumultuous appearance on Shark Tank, childhood trauma, even hearing the voices of dead children, which she details in her book, Little Voices, all of which she was willing to talk about. This week, I sat down with Kiersten to hear about how she went from working in the television to building children's furniture by hand in her garage.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:02:22]:

Why did she make such a drastic jump to an industry she had no experience with? How did she differentiate her product in such a saturated market? And how did she learn to trust her intuition even when she had no indicators of success to latch onto? I'm Katherin Vasilopoulos, and this is And So She Left, the podcast about incredible women entrepreneurs and the wisdom they gained beyond the corporate world. Growing up in Ohio, Kiersten attended Ohio University as a communications student, probably the furthest thing from founding a children's furniture company. And from what she remembers, Kiersten was excited about the opportunities ahead of her.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:03:21]:

You know, those jobs were pretty sexy, right, back then, especially the television side. You know, that was something that I actually never dreamed I would do. I never thought I was gonna go into advertising sales and be in charge of integrated marketing for those channels. I was very lucky. I had a great staff. I had, you know, a wonderful supervisor who who took me under her wing. That was the beauty though, honestly, of getting a communication degree because I was versatile.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:03:49]:

At all. I could go from training in ed to marketing. I've always had more of a visual skill, graphic design skill. So that piece was very natural. My dad was a really good artist, and I think that was in my DNA. So I was able to take that and also mesh it with what I was learning in the TV network world.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:04:10]:

I see.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:04:11]:

And so that was pretty cool. I was able to see it all kinda come together there. Yeah.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:04:15]:

Were there any difficulties there? I mean, there's a a moment of transition, I guess, but you you do start off by learning stuff, and then what happens to get to that next step?

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:04:24]:

Well, you know, the difficulties, I think, really had a lot to do with the fact that my husband and I were moving around a lot. In back in those days, you were pretty much to move up the ladder, you were moving every couple of years, especially in the television industry. He was working for HBO. He worked for Playboy Television Network, which was very, you know, woo.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:04:46]:

Yeah. We got a

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:04:46]:

lot of reactions to that when we would tell people he worked for Playboy. So, you know, it was interesting because we I would have to keep reinventing myself, and I think a lot of women out there could relate to that. You know, I went to school very driven knowing, you know, I wanted this corporate career. I wanted to, you know, walk the streets of New York, and I did all of that. But I also had to continue to, reinvent myself, find a new job depending on what town we were in because his job was the one that was actually more lucrative, and it was driving things. So, that was a bit of a challenge, and then enter 2 children.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:05:21]:

And you do have to reintegrate it to new communities every time you move. And you do have to reinvent yourself as a mom and as a wife, and who am I in this new place? And it's not easy. It really isn't.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:05:33]:

No. And you're right. It's not easy.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:05:34]:

At this point, people were moving around a lot in the corporate world to get up and to get ahead. You had to change companies. It wasn't moving intra. It's it had to leave and go do something else. Yes.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:05:45]:

Yeah. Yeah. Yes. Absolutely.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:05:47]:

You have a lot of skills from what I can tell. You're you're multi talented. You've done a lot of things. You also started a furniture company. So tell me when that happened.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:05:57]:

I did. So this was one of those, moments that I never expected, to be honest with you. I figured my life path and my career path was going to be very linear. I was going to continue to move up the ladder and continue to probably work for a network for many, many years and retire. We ended up moving to Los Angeles after my husband, he he lost a job. We had just had our second child. I was at the point where I was actually thinking, this is way too hard. I've gotta figure something else out.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:06:28]:

We moved to Los Angeles. I'm thinking, I don't wanna put the kids back in full time day care again. I wanna try and figure out how I can do this from home. So I was doing a lot of contract work, which was great, but it wasn't steady enough. Then I decided, okay. Well, I could nanny, possibly. You know, I know how to build a website. I could put my face up there and see.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:06:49]:

Yes. So I ended up nannying for a couple years while my kids were really Little. And that was wonderful. But I did find myself missing the creative side of me. So my husband jokes around me. I remember a couple garage sales where it I made the garage look like the Gap. It was it was quite funny. And I remember him saying, like, here's wow.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:07:12]:

Yeah. This is amazing. So, you know, all of that kind of led to, well, what else can I do? And at the same time, we were needing a toy box, toy storage for our kids. And I thought, well, Little this mid century modern design. We're living in Los Angeles. It's very popular there. So I just thought, you know what? I bet I could do this. If I I could learn how to build furniture, I'll just Google it.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:07:35]:

So that's what I did. And I built a toy that was reminiscent of my grandmother's old record player. It's called the Gracie, but it's like a split level, 1970's with, you know, mid century modern tapered legs. And it wasn't that bad. It wasn't that great, but it wasn't that bad. And, you know, there was a lot that I needed to learn about actual carpentry. You know, I was using the wrong type of joinery and that kind of thing at the time, but I was onto something, and I knew it. So I looked online.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:08:07]:

The first thing I did, it was I was like, well, who else is doing this out there? And, you know, that was my moment because there were all these people in Los Angeles, and they spend a ton of money on their homes, and they have children. And I just kept thinking, where are they putting their toys? It's not in a Dora the Explorer plastic toy box. Like, I know that. So I figured if I could create something that would look really good and sit in any room of the house, and yet be kid friendly, then I'm onto something. And there was only one other company on the market that was doing something similar. And the minute I looked at their pricing, which was around $500 a toy box, I thought I can do this. So I researched the same wood that they were getting, which was Baltic Birch. I went to Home Depot in my minivan.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:08:52]:

I, you know, had them cut down the woods so that I could fit it in the minivan.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:08:56]:

Yes. Yes.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:08:56]:

And then I would bring it back and I would, at first, I was just using a jigsaw with, you know, a hand jigsaw. Eventually, I graduated to a table saw and, you know, that made things a lot easier. And I put them up on Etsy, which was very new back Katherin 2006 was the time period for this, and and it did really well. I couldn't believe it. I was kind of floored that, you know, this was actually working.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:09:20]:

What was the actual for the actual sales at first? Like, how many people were ordering from you? Because it was such a new platform and it's a new concept. How was that? How did it start off?

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:09:29]:

Well, I would I was very lucky in that I never spent any money on advertising, and I and to this day, I could say that. Back in that day, people were blogging quite a bit. So all it took was one blogger saying, have you seen this mom in a garage in Los Angeles building this furniture? It's actually really cool. And that then spurred, you know, all of these other bloggers, these design blogs out of New York City to write about it. So that was really the reason why everything started to take off.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:09:57]:

Blew

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:09:57]:

up. I was probably selling, 2 or 3 every 2 weeks in the very beginning. And, yeah, I just really felt like, okay. I hit on something. You know, my gut was saying, you're doing this correctly. Like, there is absolutely a need in the marketplace for this.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:10:12]:

And you could keep up with that demand? Because I'm not sure how long it takes to build one of these, but, like, yeah, you need to be able to I

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:10:18]:

could only build a couple of them a week Okay. To be honest with

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:10:21]:

you Yeah.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:10:21]:

Because they take around 10 hours to build. And, you know, that was in and out of taking the kids to preschool and coming back. And so, you know, I was doing everything that you do as a stay at home mom plus building the furniture company on

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:10:34]:

the side. Yes.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:10:35]:

The thing about Mod Mom that stood out to people, they like the designs. They like the fact that I was a mom in a garage. They like the safety features. They like that, you know, I was thinking about all of those things. So it has slow closing hinges and stuff like that. And I would literally just build them, take them to UPS, they would box them up and ship them out. The thing that surprised me the most is I thought I was gonna be selling all of these to Los Angeles folks because that's, you know, I'm driving it. You know, if I wasn't shipping them, I'm driving them over the hill, the Beverly Hills,

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:11:08]:

you know, to my clients on Yeah. Yeah.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:11:10]:

Yeah. But I ended up getting most of my clients from New Shark, and then Canada stepped in with a distributor. So over a 4 year period, I built around 400 pieces Wow. With my hands. Yes.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:11:24]:

That's incredible. And how did you know Thank you. To do something different from your competitors? Or, like, what kind of research did you do to see what the competitors were doing so that you could stand out?

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:11:34]:

I was, you know, making wanting to make sure that I wasn't, even influenced by their designs, but there was only one that was really making something similar. And so I steered away from what they had been doing, which was a little bit more streamlined mod. Mine was more organic mod. And, you know, the the key to what I was doing and I had a couple that were more mid century modern, then all of a sudden I would get this inspiration and I would think, oh, I should do, like, a leaf with a branch that goes over top. And then because I I was not very good at cutting circles that were perfect because I was using a hand jigsaw.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:12:10]:

That's right.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:12:10]:

I would cut a leaf, and it didn't matter if it was perfect or not.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:12:13]:

Exactly.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:12:14]:

So, you know, I was actually truly building, these toy boxes based on my capabilities.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:12:21]:

Did your children inspire you at all? Did you get any kind of ideas from how they used it or will you watch them operate stuff? I mean, I'm sure they were very little, but still you see that they're involved in this life style, this needing to put toys away. And what, what did you see when they were around?

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:12:38]:

Absolutely. Well, they inspired me with their names also. So I named a lot of the toy boxes after my own kids.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:12:44]:

Oh, that's nice.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:12:45]:

So that was cool. But I, you know, I I really did I definitely watched how they were interacting with them. So when I figured out okay. Well, some of them are gonna have hinges, but some are gonna be like puzzle piece lids that you can lift on and off because that makes putting toys away a little bit more Mod.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:13:01]:

That's fun.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:13:01]:

If you feel like it's a puzzle in itself, like it's a big toy. Yeah.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:13:04]:

Yeah. Yeah.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:13:05]:

So that was one of the keys. And it and the Owen toy box ended up being one of my best sellers.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:13:18]:

What do you remember from your own childhood when it comes to playing and toys and

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:13:23]:

Yeah. No. This is such a great question. Thank you. One of the things that I remember from my own childhood, my dad was a football coach. Mhmm. And it and my both my parents were teachers, and he was a football coach. We didn't have a lot of money.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:13:35]:

He built all of our furniture in our house. Oh. And sometimes it would be from old bleacher boards Wow. That, you know, were yeah. They would tear down the stadium, and he would get the boards.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:13:46]:

Oh, that's fantastic. I love that.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:13:47]:

So what was cool about, you know, in high school, I was just I was your typical girl. I was like, man, I don't wanna do, you know, anything with my hands. I'm just running around there was little fear for

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:14:08]:

me,

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:14:08]:

you know, going into this. Because a lot of people say, well, that's crazy. You went from marketing to carpentry. Like, who does that? You have no carpentry experience, no design experience, no money to actually put into the company. It seems like a win win. Right? Sure. Like, it's a no fail no fail thing.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:14:24]:

Exactly.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:14:26]:

My parents were wonderful. I did I did endure some abuse by an uncle when I was a kid, but I you know, that was a whole other part, you know, of my life. But I my parents instilled that confidence in me. They were the ones that kind of showed me that they can you know, I could do anything. Mhmm. And so I think that definitely was kind of flowing over into my adult life.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:14:48]:

That's an incredible blueprint. We absorb as children what's going on in our family life and what our adults around us are doing, and Mhmm. It might be a small thing, and then your your brain kind of latches on to an idea that comes back decades later. It doesn't matter. Yes. Did did I read something in your bio about you saw dead children? Did did I see that?

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:15:11]:

Yes. Yes. So that this is where it gets real weird. So, yes, so my intuitive side, it's it's interesting. I didn't realize that those messages I was getting and that gut feeling I had about building furniture was coming from my intuition. You know, I like to think that it was actually just coming from, you know, my brain. Like, I was that smart. But what I came to learn, I have always been highly intuitive, and it came out in different ways.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:15:38]:

Highly sensitive, highly intuitive. I don't have a lot of memory when I was a child of seeing those in spirit, But when I was 36, so I'm knee deep in building furniture at that point, I am, you know, hearing children. And I thought, well, this is wild. Why am I hearing kids' voices when my kids are at school? And at the same time, I'm building furniture for children. All of that connects in such a strange way. So it wasn't until I was 36, I'm 50 now, that I started to see and hear Spirit, mostly kids, who were on the other side. And, you know, I wrote a book called Little Voices to kind of talk about that journey, but they were really coming in to sort of help me as much as I was helping them.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:16:23]:

Wow.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:16:23]:

And, you know, kind of reveal some things that happened in my life that I didn't know at the time had happened.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:16:28]:

Were you always in touch with your intuition? Was that always something that you were connected with or something that came about later?

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:16:34]:

I think I didn't know that it was intuition until I was older. And that's what's so interesting about my journey because I'm very science based. I believe in empirical research. I was not the least bit, quote, unquote, woo woo. So it really happened to me. It hit you know, I was hit over the head with, Hey, you're really tapped in and you're gonna have to figure out how to deal with this. I think we all have intuition, to be honest with you. I think many entrepreneurs, even, you know, if they don't talk about it, they would probably say, yes.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:17:07]:

That was a gut feeling I had. That was something that, you know, came from somewhere that I really can't put my finger on why I came up with this idea.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:17:15]:

Yeah.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:17:15]:

And, you know, that's kind of a key for me. I think many of us who are entrepreneurs have that that intuition that's a little bit heightened.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:17:23]:

Yes. And we don't know where it's coming from, and we can't explain it or put it into words, but when it kicks in, you know it's there. You

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:17:30]:

can Yes.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:17:31]:

Because you also see the results of it. It's not just always this weird energy around you. It actually moves you and drives you into a direction, and then you see your actions then turn into things or outcomes. And that's pretty powerful. Yeah. If you can tap into that. So I'm with you on

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:17:48]:

that on that list. Like, absolutely. Like what I was getting, you know, I knew deep in my soul, I guess I would say, that when I had the idea for Mod Mom, that it was right. It was right and true. Mhmm. I did not hear that from everyone outside of myself. That linear thinking that most of us have. Right? Well, why would you do this, Kirsten? You have no experience.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:18:19]:

You've got no background in this. This sounds crazy. How do you know you're even gonna be good at this? Well, I didn't. But I knew enough to trust that quiet voice, that kind of push to do it, to make it happen. And then it was really cool because when I actually got on Shark Tank in 2,011 to see all of those folks who had initially said, this is nuts, Kirsten, you know, really kind of stand up and say, hey. We're sorry. We didn't support you in the beginning. This is incredible what you've been able to do over the past 4 years.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:18:52]:

And, you know, now now look.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:18:54]:

I'm glad you brought that up. That was gonna be my next, jump into Oh, great. Yeah. I would love to hear about your experience at Shark Tank and tell us how that worked out for you.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:19:03]:

Sure. Man, it was it was a ride. I will say that. It's one that I would absolutely do again. It was something that taught me a lot. And talk about intuition, teaching me to trust my own intuition. I was told when I was working with producers that I needed to have a specific pitch, and that pitch was molded and crafted. So I wrote the initial pitch, and this is what you see when someone comes out on Shark Tank and they say, hi, Shark, and then they go from there.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:19:32]:

So I wrote all of that. I gave it to the producer, and he said, well, this is great, but why don't we tweak this and tweak this and tweak this? By the time I got to the point where we were, like, a week from filming, it did not look anywhere near what I would say. So 2 days before we were filming with the actual sharks, all of us were brought to the sound stage, and we're basically pitching in front of the entire legal team because they're wanting to make sure there are no legal pitfalls

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:20:01]:

in what

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:20:02]:

we were all pitching Interesting. And the production team. So there were probably a 100 people there. So they call my name. I get up there. I had been practicing and practicing and practicing, and I'm a public speaker. And I, you know, I figured, like, I've got this as long as I, you know, as long as I feel good about it. And I get up, and I say the first line, and then I completely blank.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:20:21]:

Like, nothing comes out. I could not remember what I was supposed to say.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:20:24]:

Oh, no. Like in school, when you go up to make his little

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:20:27]:

present picture. Bad dream. Right? So much so that I started to tear up, and the producers were really nice. They were cheering for me. I mean, I was a mom in a garage with a tool belt. You know? Like, they were cheering me on, and they but they kept saying, you know what? Just go back and practice some more. Don't change your pitch. Just and I said, you know what? I can't do this.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:20:46]:

I'm gonna have to change this. This just doesn't sound like me.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:20:49]:

You pushed back. Okay.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:20:50]:

I did. I did. And that's really difficult to do with a, you know, set of television producers who you automatically think they know

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:20:58]:

more than I do. Exactly. We will do what you want. Get me on this show. Wow. So how did you tweak it back? What did you do?

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:21:05]:

I ended up it was really interesting. I ended up, taking it like, I was driving across, across town after I left the the film filming lot, and our daughter was, going to some, like, cheerleading an event or something. Right? So I'm sitting in the stands. I literally open up my pocketbook, to use a really old term, and pulled out an old receipt, and I started writing. If someone had told me 10 years ago I'd have an internationally So it just you know, I look back on it now and I think, well, wow. That was intuition. Like, I was just because I stood up for myself, it just flowed. And, you know, I was able to give that pitch.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:21:51]:

I was able to actually get 2 offers on Shark Tank, and ended up with an investment deal from a different angel investor who would watch Shark Tank, which is wild. So had I not done that, I don't think that I I might not have even aired because they had the right to pull me off the list.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:22:09]:

I see. I see. Was that the first season? Because I'm thinking the date 2011.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:22:13]:

When did they first long time ago. Right? I know. It was one

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:22:15]:

of the first seasons. Right?

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:22:17]:

Yes. It's the second season. Yeah. It was the second season. So the show was new. You know, everyone was kind of feeling their way through it, including the Shark. And, you know, I think the biggest tip that I tell people quite a bit when I talk to them about entrepreneurship was that moment. That was such a huge moment for me because not only was I pushing back against people that I knew they had their interest, right, at heart.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:22:42]:

Like, they they definitely wanted to make the best TV show.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:22:45]:

Right. Right. They

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:22:46]:

did not have my best interest at heart, and that's that was the differentiator. I had to know to trust that.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:22:57]:

What would you give as an advice though for some tips and tricks for people to trust their intuition more as entrepreneurs? Because I think that is a huge part of the game is to trust when your gut tells you something to go with that. Yeah.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:23:12]:

It is. You know, I think the the thing that I tell a lot of entrepreneurs that I work with is I tell them, you know what? Surround yourself with people that are much smarter than you. Like, that's a no brainer. You have to do that. You don't know everything. And it's really hard as an entrepreneur because, you know, a lot of us are control freaks and we wanna manage it all. So do that, but you have to sift that information through your own intuition in your own gut feeling. And I and I mentioned that, you know, in my case, if my body kinda seizes up a little bit, like, I feel kind of tightening in my stomach and someone offers an idea, oh, Kears, you should go this route.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:23:48]:

Oh, Kears, you should do and if I get that bodily reaction because intuition in the way it comes through your body, it's, it's very loud, then I know, you know what, I'm gonna sit on this for a little bit. You know, I'm not gonna say no right away, but I am gonna you know what? Yeah. I'm gonna think about that. And then I give myself time to think about it. I think it's very easy to be run over, especially for me. I was a female in a male dominated industry. There were quite a few major players along the way. I've had some major deals fall through, multimillion dollar deals fall through because there was a point at which I went from being the underdog.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:24:28]:

I meant from kind of knowing what I was doing, that to then feeling like very much the insecure underdog. And I then had to sort of take my power back again. So it was it was an interesting place to be building a furniture company as a woman in the early aughts. Yeah. Very interesting.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:24:46]:

And I like what you're saying there is taking back your power.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:24:49]:

Mhmm.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:24:49]:

It is a huge part of the process because many times we feel everything's out of control. There's so many directions we could be taken in. Things are being thrown at us, and we just don't know what to do with them. And you have to, at some point, really make a conscious full body decision to say, I need to take control. Can I ask you to give me more about moonshot?

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:25:10]:

Yeah. Let me tell you a little bit about Moonshot, which is such an awesome nonprofit. So it's been around for about 20 years in Arizona. My husband is actually the CEO of Moonshot, and he took over in 2016, I believe. And at that point, you know, I've been running with Mod Mom, but it was actually 17 years this past December when I finally closed it. Thank you. But I had been still running it, still, you know, making deals happen. At that point, Scott said to me, you know what? We could really use you.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:25:42]:

Can you come on? Because we're gonna work with entrepreneurs all over Arizona in rural areas that don't get a lot of support. You know, you're a female carpenter and I think a lot of people will relate to you. And I was like, I'm in. I'm in. I would love this. So for the last, gosh, 6 years now, I guess it's been, I not only help with marketing, I'm the chief marketing officer, but I also work quite a bit with entrepreneurs and as a mentor Yes. And kind of help them through some of the hurdles that I went through Wow. With Mom Furniture.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:26:13]:

So the mission is to then reach out to local businesses, I guess, and to help them with their entrepreneurial journey. Is that what it does? Yes.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:26:21]:

Yes. So, you know, we're lucky in that moonshot was actually founded in 2,001 and we have, what is called an incubator building and an accelerator building up in Flagstaff, Arizona. So that's where our headquarters Shark. But we've expanded outside of of Flagstaff. So now we work with all kinds of different folks who are in economic development. We go in and we partner with those guys in these small towns, and we say, hey. We can bring events to you. You know, we can run pitch events.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:26:53]:

And, you know, you never know who's gonna come out of the woodwork. It's been it's been really incredible to see the entrepreneurs that are coming out from all the way from high school to, you know, 90, and they're coming out with these ideas. It's really it's really cool. Yeah. It's inspiring.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:27:09]:

What impact are you having, though, in in this situation? Like, what do you think your impact has been?

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:27:14]:

Well, you know, that's where that's where, you know, if I tie it back to intuition, this has been an interesting journey. So almost every time we go out and we are running a pitch event similar to, like, Shark Tank, I am working with these entrepreneurs, and I'm using my own intuition and my own background as an entrepreneur to help them move forward. So that has been really, really amazing. I I helped 1 entrepreneur get her product into REI. So I, you know, it feels good to be able to kind of pass along what I learned. And in that's the impact I feel like, you know, I Mom making there.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:27:49]:

Yeah. Yeah. And and why is it important for you to do this work?

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:27:53]:

You know, I think for me, it's really tough, first of all, to be an entrepreneur. And I know, you know, a lot of people wanna be that. A lot of people have great ideas. It's different to go from an idea to actually building something, especially when you're looking at a product. And so, you know, I think that for me, as a woman, again, that's also important to show all the young girls out there. Hey. You can do anything. And when I speak I speak a lot to high schools, and I talk about my journey.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:28:24]:

And, you know, I have quite a few kids that come up afterwards, and they say, thank you so much. Like, my mom thinks I'm crazy for having this idea. But, you know, I'm going to stick with it and I'm gonna do it the smart way. And, you know, do you have any advice for me? So it's really it's really cool. It's really cool to see all of all of those folks being affected by my journey too.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:28:46]:

Yes. It's a ripple effect, I think. If you start to even influence 1 person or inspire them or show them a blueprint that they never thought was possible before, And then people start to say, well, if she could do it, I can do it too.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:28:58]:

Yes.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:28:59]:

And then to use their intuition to go with that and to to build and build.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:29:03]:

Yeah.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:29:04]:

Can you give some advice based on what you've learned and what you've gone through to, especially women, who are thinking of moving out of their corporate career and then maybe starting their own job based on a side hustle that they've had or just as you did. You know, you you just jumped into something really not knowing if you could do it, but you're like, I can do this.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:29:25]:

I have so much advice. You know, one of the things I think that's really important is sometimes whatever it is, that idea that you have, it can fit for you for a span of time. And that's the time period that it works for you. I think a lot of people think that, oh, I had came up with this idea, and now I've gotta blow it up into this huge company and I have to sell it, and I have to keep it going for the rest of my life. You don't have to do that. You know, you don't have to do that. This can be something that you do for 10 years. It could be something you do for 2 years.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:29:57]:

So, you know, I think if you're looking at leaving a corporate job, and you have that background, you have so much skill already because you have the corporate knowledge and you have those relationships. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and talk about it because you never know, first of all, who will say, oh, I've got so and so, and I've got a connection to manufacturing, you know, that that might work for you. So I think sometimes people are very scared to put themselves out there while they're still working as long as it's not a conflict of interest, of course. The other side of it is, you know, no. I think you do have to trust your intuition on when it's time to let go if you get to that point. And for me, 17 years, and I just kept going and going and going, and then then I trusted my intuition, and I thought, no. It's time. It's time.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:30:47]:

This served me during this time period. I'm very proud of what I did. It also has led me to other things that are happening now based on the book that I wrote, TV and film deals, things like that. So I knew, oh, okay. This this is really cool. Like, had I not done Mod Mom, I wouldn't be where I am right now and able to help others and help childhood sexual abuse survivors like myself. So that, you know, that piece of it, I think just because you don't see what is the whole staircase, you know, just take the first step, that's key. If you know you can do it, do it.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:31:21]:

You know, just don't listen to the naysayers. I had a lot of them, and they aren't naysayers anymore. And I think that's that's one of the things that, you know, especially as a female, it's still a man's world in many ways. We still, you know, live in that patriarchy. And I think that, you know, it's really key to believe in yourself because you do have that power. And if you trust your intuition, it's kind of like having a road map for life. Like, that was my road map. I never thought I would go from corporate to carpentry, then to authorship, then to television, back to TV and film, but just on the other side of that world.

 

Kiersten Hathcock [00:31:59]:

Never thought that would happen, and now it is.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:32:03]:

Thank you so much to Kiersten Hathcock. You can learn more about Mod Mom Furniture and Moonshot through the links in the episode description. Again, if you or someone you know would like to sponsor season 3 of And So She Left, please email podcast at cansalta.com. That's podcast at cansalta.com. We've loved making the show for you and would be thrilled to make more of it. Head over to andsosheleft.com for full episodes, transcripts, an application form to be on the show, a list of upcoming guests, and more. And So She Left is made by Cansulta and Ethan Lee. Cansulta connects entrepreneurs and leaders with a global roster of over 150 pre vetted consultants and experts like Ethan and I who can help organizations in any business area from HR to finance, to sales and marketing, and even entrepreneurship and startup success.

 

Katherin Vasilopoulos [00:32:56]:

Our music is by Correspondence and Chris Zabriskie edited for your enjoyment. You can find a list of all the songs you heard here in the episode notes. I'm Katherin Vasilopoulos, and thanks for listening.

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