Even through Easter has just passed buy yours today. Remember it for next year.
When she and her husband were younger they were both seriously into sports. Tiffany Oliva was a tennis practice partner with a pro on tour and her husband played baseball for the Phillies. Then they moved to more normal jobs and parenthood with two children who are now 8 and 7. When Tiffany’s mother in law, Debbie, asked her what she could give the kids for Easter a couple of years ago, Tiffany had an idea. Why not create an Easter tradition like the Christmas tradition of Elf on the Shelf.
So Tiffany and Debbie came up with an idea to reward the kids and instill positive behavior at the same time. The Wishy Buddy, a stuffed Easter bunny, would leave notes in plastic eggs that the kids would look for each of the seven mornings before Easter. Debbie says, “It’s so fun to see the joy the kids get when they wake up and realize their ‘Buddy’ noticed them playing nicely together and sharing their toys. A simple little note in their egg gives them such pride.”
The eggs can be filled with stickers, candy or other treats, egg dying kits and small toys, and Bible verses for the kids to learn about the Easter story. When the pair told their friends and family about the book and bunny idea – others loved it and wanted to create the same tradition in their families. Tiffany says, “Debbie and I looked at each other and thought that we might have a business idea.”
They polished the story and got an illustration student from a local college to craft the drawings. Next they found a self publisher who would publish on demand. A neighbor who owned a printing company helped them get the book ready for publication. Now they needed to create a stuffed bunny that looked like the character from the newly minted book. Tiffany says, “I had an old tennis friend who had family in China and she set me up with a manufacture there. They created the stuffed animal to be just like the character from the book.”
How does the bunny come to life, “Each year the children use the Wishy Dust to bring him to life and give him a name. On the seven days before Easter, the bunny fills the eggs and hides them for the kids to find. After Easter Sunday, the bunny goes away until next year.”
The book was packaged with plastic eggs and the bunny and now they were in business. First they started with local boutiques who immediately loved the idea and placed orders. Then they attended a trade show and Hallmark picked up the product, “We couldn’t believe this was happening!” This year the Wishy Buddy was a 2015 Family Choice Award winner and they are also up for Shark Tank, “We got a callback to submit a video and we are waiting to hear.”
Another big break came when the producers of Kathie Lee and Hoda on NBC called and wanted to feature the gift. “It was so exciting to see our product on the show. ” Tiffany and Debbie say that the project has brought them and their family closer together, “It’s been so much hard work but so much fun to see our idea come to life, figuratively through the bunny and literally through their venture.
Who knows what the future holds for the book but this mom and mother in law have some ideas to expand their line. The husbands are on board too, immensely proud that the two women came together to create a business.