Do not try and be all things to all people or you become nothing to anyone. Focus like a laser on your niche and be really clear on what you stand for.

 

Craig became the largest publisher of artwork from television commercials creating the first ever animation art lines for Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch, M&M/Mars, etc. Eventually he sold it all off to create CelebriDucks which was a whole new art form of celebrity rubber ducks of the greatest icons of film, music history, and athletics. They were voted one of the top 100 gifts by Entertainment Weekly and featured on hundreds of TV shows, magazines, and newspapers including The Tonight Show. They have sold millions of them are considered the top custom duck manufacturer in the world doing them from everyone from SeaWorld to The New York Yankees.

He also addressed the importance of bringing jobs and industries back to America by bringing the whole rubber duck industry back to America where the rubber duck was actually invented before the whole industry went overseas. They are now the only ones making them here and are doing them for companies and organizations such as Harley-Davidson and The Future Farmers of America. Their second US factory in Michigan is now making PVC Free rubber ducks out of food and medical grade materials which are considered the safest rubber ducks in the world for babies to teethe on.

He also just launched his new chocolate division, www.CocoaCanard.com , with our Spooning Chocolate, the only Dairy and Gluten free hot chocolate that can instantly mix up in a cup of hot water and you will never miss the milk. It is now the go to product in that category and considered the purest and finest hot chocolate on the market and uses Fair Trade chocolate.

Where did the idea for CelebriDucks come from?

A friend at a party who maybe had a bit to much to drink had this idea of making rubber ducks that looked like celebrities. I think most people would have thought it ridiculous….…..I thought it was brilliant!

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I actually run my whole company from a home office so its basically popping out of bed and heading to the computer. Phone call and e-mails are the heart of most of my day. I also make sure to take breaks to enjoy life…

How do you bring ideas to life?

The key of bringing any good idea to life is to have a crack crew of trusted intimates and co-workers who can join with you in the process. It’s definitely a collaborative effort.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Made in America. I love seeing jobs and industries coming back here. The rubber duck was invented in America before the whole industry went overseas. We are the only ones who do all our artwork and sculpting in the USA and we actually do final production on our PVC free Good Duck line 100% in America.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I really try and be very communicative with everyone who contacts us and make myself accessible to people both in out of the company. I also try to get back to everyone very promptly. I always like to be a company where you can easily get to a live person.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t take things too seriously….life moves on a lot quicker than you would imagine. It’s all the more reason to find what you love in life as early as you can and to find this happiness in each moment of your day. And remember, money alone is never going to make you happy. The goal of any business long term is also to use their money to try and make a positive difference in the world.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

So goes your mind, goes your reality. I don’t care if it’s not taught in Harvard’s business school. Your mind-set absolutely affects your business and how you relate to life. Thus having faith, trust, a love of life, an enjoyment of what you have to deal with each day, etc., will positively affect your business as much as having a disposition of despair will tank it.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Respond to everyone who responds to you. Everyone matters, big or small….size does NOT matter.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Living lean and mean and outsourcing. It has allowed us to complete with anyone and become the best in our industry. We didn’t take on excessive overhead so could move nimbly and invest those saved dollars into creating a better mousetrap.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

My first ducks I made in the US were a disaster. I had no idea the skill sets that had been lost here. I just kept pushing and pushing and redoing everything until I could find the right business partners over time and that made all the difference. It was however very sobering to see the state of manufacturing in the US in our particular industry.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

We got to the top of our industry by not competing on price. China can always make something cheaper. They will not go upscale and spend more money. Thus we bullet proofed our niche. Likewise, in the world of food, there are many many gluten free chocolate chip cookies out there which taste terrible. Go upscale. You’ll find your market. Use so many quality chips and so much butter that there is no-one who would be willing to create such an expensive and rich, decadent chocolate chip cookie. Everything else out there is dry with little chocolate specs…Go for it!

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I bought some Disney animation artwork for the office that is so cheerful every single day I look at it…what’s that worth….priceless!

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Word Press – it allows us to easily update our website with very little technical skill

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Trout and Ries books on Positioning are so much fun as they are based on real life stories of companies and their failures and successes. The best books for me tell real life stories and are thus very fun and engaging.

What is your favorite quote?

Give them quality, it’s your best advertisement – Milton Hershey

Key Learnings:

It’s not how much money you make, it’s how much you keep. Excessive overhead can bring down any business not matter how much you make. Lean and mean is the key to survival especially in the beginning before the business gains traction.

Do not try and be all things to all people or you become nothing to anyone. Focus like a laser on your niche and be really clear on what you stand for.

Reflect your core brand ethics and quality in every marketing communication to the public

Compete on the cheap and someone can always make it for less. Quality like the tortoise will ultimately win out or put another way….”live by the penny, die by the penny.”

Your mind-set will affect everything you do and all your business interactions. Yes, people do like to do business with positive people and psycho-physically your mood does affect your actual business.

Connect:

www.CelebriDucks.com

www.facebook.com/celebriducks