Constantly push yourself out of your comfort zone.
Janette Eusebio Harwell is the founder of Box Play for Kids LLC, a company that makes eco-friendly, 100% recycled, custom-designed stickers that turn throw-away boxes commonly found in the recycling bin into repurposed, fun and simple toys.
Janette graduated from Otis/Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles in 1990. She worked in New York City for 8 years at some of the top design firms. She then moved to Phoenix, where she made the transition to advertising. She struck out on her own in 2004 to start Stir Design and Advertising. As principal, Janette has built strong client relationships while creating several award-winning campaigns.
What are you working on right now?
We are expanding the product line for Box Play for Kids and developing retail packaging and in-store displays. We are also establishing domestic and international distribution channels.
Where did the idea for Box Play for Kids come from?
The idea was inspired by our 2-year-old daughter. One Saturday morning, we were hanging out at home, drinking coffee and watching her play (make a huge mess). She started at her little table, which she quickly covered in stickers, and then moved on to the recycling bin in the kitchen. She dumped its contents onto the kitchen floor. As I was picking up the empty milk carton, egg carton and paper towel roll, the “aha” moment happened: why not combine the two things kids obsess over – empty boxes and stickers? And just like that, Box Play for Kids was born.
What does your typical day look like?
Drink coffee. Read emails. Get our daughter ready for daycare. Then the real work begins, trying to balance 2 demanding and unpredictable businesses – Box Play for Kids and Stir. There is no “typical day” because every day brings its own surprises. A day could consist of one or all of the following: concepting with a writer on a new campaign, sketching ideas for a logo, developing a Website, meeting a client for lunch, keeping up with social media for Box Play for Kids (Facebook, Twitter, blog, LinkedIn), learning as much as possible about e-commerce best practices, SEO, web analytics, on and on…
How do you bring ideas to life?
After reading Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky, I was so inspired that I immediately bought an Action Journal. Coming up with new ideas is easy and fun. Making them happen is another story. I write everything down and commit at least 30 minutes a day to moving an idea forward with an actionable to-do-list. It’s also important to get your community of friends and business associates involved because ideas get much better with different perspectives.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Slow Food and farm-to-table restaurants.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
The worst job I ever had was working at Orange Julius, a fast-food restaurant at the mall. I learned that I never want to deal with hungry people ever, ever again. I was traumatized by all the mean people. But I did learn a very important lesson: always treat people with respect, especially the ones who are serving you.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would like to live and work abroad.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Constantly push yourself out of your comfort zone.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A car service that comes to your house once a week and takes your car to the car wash, fills it up with gas and brings it back to you. And, charges a reasonable price for the service. I dread stopping for car washes and gas.
What are your three favorite online tools and what do you love about them?
- Google: The world at your fingertips.
- Facebook: Connect with existing and potential customers on a daily basis.
- Online banking: Avoid long lines and automated recordings.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk. It’ll give you the fire and conviction to follow your dreams.
What’s on your playlist?
If you weren’t working on Box Play for Kids what would you be doing?
I would still be running Stir, my creative agency. And, I would be reading, sleeping and playing a lot more.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
I’m not active on Twitter…yet.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
Recently, I was shopping for a pair of jeans and I had my 2-year old daughter with me. It was very crowded because of all the holiday shoppers. I went into a fitting room to try them on. As I was trying on the first pair, my daughter says loudly, “Mommy, I like your booty, booty, booty!” Needless to say, the entire fitting room erupted in laughter as did I.
Who is your hero?
Clichéd but true…my parents. They left the Philippines in their mid-30s with 3 young kids to find a better life. And they did. I can’t think of a bigger or scarier move than that. They started their own business at age 40 and that’s where I get my entrepreneurial spirit.
What skill would you most like to improve?
I’d like to become a better writer.
If you could do one thing every day, what would it be?
Box Play for Kids Website: http://boxplayforkids.com/
Box Play for Kids on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Box-Play-for-Kids/160248030716252
Box Play for Kids on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/BoxPlayforKids
Box Play for Kids Blog: http://boxplayforkids.blogspot.com/
Janette Eusebio Harwell on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/janette-eusebio-harwell/9/690/342