Going from television sales in Chicago for the A&E network to stay-at-home mom in Los Angeles, Kiersten Hathcock was restless. “In addition to the fact that we needed to make up for my lost income, I realized quickly that I was wired to work and create. In 2006, I set up a garage sale and it looked like the display floor of The Gap. At that point, I knew I needed to do something to foster my creative side while I was home with the kids.”
She also knew she needed toy storage for her young children, ages 1 and 5. But she and her husband, Scott, wanted that toy box to blend with the rest of the mid-century modern furniture in their 1,400-square-foot home. She looked online, she looked on Craigslist. She found only one that she would consider modern.
“We were in L.A., a town that appreciates mid-century modern style. I thought, ‘If I can teach myself how to build furniture, there’s a niche here.’ So, I bought a circular saw and Googled ‘how to build furniture.’ The first toy boxes I built were horrible. But I put them on Etsy and sold a couple of them. Later, when I got better, I gave those people new toy boxes.”
Becoming a Carpenter, Building a Brand, Battling Sharks
For four years, Hathcock sawed and sanded and painted, creating more than 300 pieces of mid-century modern-style kids’ furniture and building her Mod Mom Furniture brand in her garage. Celebrities became her clientele. So, she drove her minivan into the L.A. foothills to deliver furniture to people like reality television fashion designer Rachel Zoe and actor Matthew McConaughey.
“I wouldn’t trade that time, but boy, did I get tired,” she said. “I was always covered in sawdust and managing the kids at home 24/7.”
Her dad suggested she watch Shark Tank, the television program in which budding entrepreneurs pitch their business idea to famous multi-millionaires in hopes of gaining an investor. After about 30 minutes of considering making her own presentation, she thought, “I should give it a shot.”
She did and she received two offers on the air: one from Robert Herjavec and one from Kevin O›Leary, a.k.a. Mr. Wonderful. She went with Herjavec and what appeared to be the better deal. Hathcock left the television studio elated, believing her dreams had come true. But not long after the bright lights of the set had dimmed, so did her hopes. She tried to track down her investor, but learned the deal would not be moving forward.
“I believe everything happens the way it should happen. I picked myself back up and said,
‘I can do this.’” Besides, she’d already received all kinds of free press from publications like People magazine.
The television appearance, which continues to be rerun, along with media exposure surrounding her television offer, brought another interested investor. “He called from San Francisco and said, ‘I believe in you, tell me what you want.’”
The agreement included $100,000 and she was able to keep more equity in the company than she would have with previous offers.
Hathcock continued to build children’s furniture as the CEO and founder of Mod Mom Furniture. She also began giving presentations, mostly to high school students and aspiring entrepreneurs, about pursuing their dreams. “I talk a lot about building a brand from nothing, because I didn’t have money to build a brand. I tell them my story and how I went from corporate to carpentry – nobody does that. But, it worked. You can do anything you put your mind to. Be resilient. Don’t quit. Trust your intuition. I had no skill and no money and now I’m designing furniture that’s recognized internationally.”
Teaming Up with Frank Lloyd Wright
A year ago, Hathcock was hired to give a presentation to the American Society of Interior Designers. The new vice president of licensing for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation was in the audience. Three days later, the two were talking on the phone about creating a children’s furniture line for the organization.
In April, a news released announced, “The American-made, modern kids’ furniture brand, Mod Mom Furniture, and leading toddler furniture maker, Little Colorado, are honored and excited to collaborate with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to create a line of modern children’s furniture. Some pieces will be inspired by Wright’s furniture designs, while others will be replicas of Wright furniture scaled down for children.”
Little Colorado is the company Hathcock had chosen because of its environmentally sustainable practices. The Frank Lloyd Wright furniture line is called PlayHouse by Mod Mom Furniture. The origin of the brand name was a drawing of the word “playhouse” Wright had created for a client project.
“This was incredible. All of a sudden, I’m doing business under the name of America’s most famous architect!” Hathcock is now designing and creating multiple kids’ furniture pieces inspired by Wright’s work.
The non-profit organization’s president and CEO, Stuart Graff, said in the news release, “The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation inspires the world through an understanding and experience of Frank Lloyd Wright’s ideas, architecture and design. Developing a new line of children’s furniture that incorporates Wright’s design principles is a fantastic way to show new generations a beautiful and inspired way of living.”
The first product to hit the market is a play table and chair set. Five different Frank Lloyd Wright graphic designs can be printed directly onto the tabletop, or the tabletop can be left in its natural finish. A prototype was on display during Modernism Week in Palm Springs, California. The foundation says feedback throughout and after the event was so positive that the launch of the brand was moved up to April from August.
FOLLOWING HER INTUITION
During the past decade, while Hathcock was intently focused on the extraordinary ups and downs of her children’s furniture business, another astounding development was happening. More children began coming into her life.
“It started in 2011. I started hearing and seeing children in spirit. As a skeptic and believer in scientific data, I couldn’t wrap my head around what was happening. I thought maybe I’d inhaled too much polyurethane in the workshop.”
From that moment on, many children who had been killed by predators, or who died suddenly, began to visit her. They would communicate to her about their tragic deaths. She thought she was going crazy until she started sharing what she was receiving with law enforcement and grieving parents who validated the messages as accurate.
“It’s incredibly emotional work so I had to learn to step outside of myself and just record what I was seeing and hearing. I became like a doctor observing a patient and would write down what I was being told that needed to be shared,” she said.
Hathcock became a reluctant undercover medium, volunteering to help police officers and detectives solve crimes against children. “After I’d been volunteering for about two years, visions of myself at a young age starting coming to me. Because I trusted my intuition by that point, I knew to trust what I was getting.”
Long locked-out memories began to reveal themselves to Hathcock. She learned that she, too, had her own history with a pedophile, assaults by a relative that took place when she was between the ages of 3 and 5. Further, during a three-year split from her husband, Scott, she “fell down a deep hole” in a relationship with a narcissistic sociopath.
“Unbeknownst to me, I was living with a predator,” The spirits of the children were warning her. She says, one in particular named Jason told her to, “’Go get the restraining order now. You have to do it now.’ Had I not left, I believe I would be dead.”
Hathcock’s experiences are now captured in her book with the working title, “Undercover Medium.” She expects it to be on the market in 2021.
Retired New York City Police Department Detective Mark Pucci, who continues to work as a private investigator, wrote the foreword. Here’s an excerpt:
Thinking back to before we had the opportunity to speak on the phone, I remember asking myself, “What is this furniture company CEO from Arizona doing volunteering to assist on a high-profile missing persons case in Long Island, New York?” That being said, when I finally had the chance to speak to Kiersten on the phone for the first time, my intuition kicked into full gear. Much to my surprise, not long into our conversation, I realized that Kiersten was unlike any other intuitive medium I had spoken to through the years. She explained to me that she had recently discovered that she possessed certain abilities that might assist investigators in finding missing persons, and that she was simply looking to volunteer her time because she cared and just wanted to help. I eventually came to understand, as time went on and I got to know Kiersten personally, that she had truly been given a gift for helping others in this way . . . especially kids. The most amazing part of her journey is that she wasn’t looking for any of what has happened to her . . . it simply found her.
Hathcock lives in Flagstaff with her husband, Scott. The family moved here from L.A. in 2012. Their two children, Grace and Noah, are now adults. For more information about Mod Mom Furniture or the book, “Undercover Medium,” visit modmomfurniture.com/upcoming-book.html. QCBN
By Bonnie Stevens, QCBN