Investing Outside of Wall Street – Business and pleasure

Ever since I have chosen the path to become an entrepreneur since the market crash of 2000, most of my waking hours are being spent on running our businesses.  Consequently, aside from some family gatherings, the only other event for which we make the time for pleasure is the annual 610 MASS – US Air Force – reunion.

In February 2019, I wrote about the status of our e-commerce business.  Our first product – whose sale remains on pause as of this writing – is an insulated, collapsible lunch bag.  Prior to introducing it on Amazon, we made a key improvement over our direct competitor’s product.  Needless to say, it is our pride and joy.  For most users, it is large enough for two meals, at least, and/or for a family picnic.

A few months ago, as David and I started to think seriously about what to donate this year for raffle at the reunion, we thought of our lunch bag – packed with Michigan products.

How did this come about?

Both of us have been inspired by a PBS program called “Under the Radar Michigan.”  We love the story behind the origin of UTR Michigan, to which so many of us can relate, especially in our state, because of the seismic shift in the economic environment in which we find ourselves.  Even more importantly, the program has introduced us to so many “places and things Michigan” that we would never have known otherwise.

One of the categories, to which UTR Michigan introduces its viewers, is food.  Connecting the dots, as a Michigan company that is attempting to sell lunch bags, it made perfect sense to fill them with Michigan food products.

What’s in it for us as a company? 

Our brand name, My Home Elves, is a complete unknown to the public at this point.  Giving away raffles – for the lucky five winners at the reunion – can help create brand awareness for our product, one small audience at a time.

What’s going to be in the lunch bag? 

We’ve chosen 11 items, represented by 8 different brands that are based in Michigan.  The year in which each company was founded (the oldest first) and the brand name, respectively, are as follows:

  1. 1866: Vernor’s
  2. 1872: Smeltzer Orchard
  3. 1875: Sanders
  4. 1901: Jiffy
  5. 1906: Kellogg
  6. 1907: Faygo
  7. 1930: Better Made 
  8. 1933: Kar’s

For your viewing pleasure, the two-part videos are attached at the bottom of this blog.

  • Video 1: All products on display – outside of the lunch bag.
  • Video 2: Will they all fit?

Brand longevity

As you can verify in the above hyperlinks for each of the brand names, information about the origin of some of them – namely, Vernor’s and Kellogg – could only be found in historical sites, outside of the respective company’s own product website.

No doubt, each of these brands started out with the founder’s big why, determination, hard work, and persistence to never give up.

As most entrepreneurs would agree, in the whole scheme of things, starting up a company is the easy part.  Established in 2018 – yes, our company is still a baby! – we were in the start-up phase for our brand when we had to abruptly put a pause to it.

Beyond the start-up phase, the more challenging part is getting to a point where your company is making money – consistently – month to month, quarter to quarter, year to year.  An even tougher challenge is adapting to an ever-changing environment for decades, and not just surviving but thriving.  As you can see on the above list, 6 out of the 8 brands have already met an incredible feat of being in business for over a century.  How inspiring!

Happy investing!


All products on display – outside of the lunch bag (Turn on the sound)

Will they all fit? (Turn on the sound)

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2 Responses to Investing Outside of Wall Street – Business and pleasure

  1. Lori Strahan says:

    Hi Reiko and David,
    Thank you for your generous donations to our 610 MASS fund raising raffle. The first bag was a hit! I heard many people are excited and looking forward to get lucky on Thursday to win one of your lunch bags.
    Good luck with your business and always good to see you both.
    Lori Strahan

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