This week’s Work-At-Home Success story comes from Craig Wolfe, President of CelebriDucks. He became the largest publisher of artwork from television commercials creating the first ever animation art lines for Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Bush, M&M/Mars, etc. Eventually he sold it all to create CelebriDucks, 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. Craig has sold millions of them and Celebriducks are considered the top custom duck manufacturer in the world.
He also addressed the importance of bringing jobs and industries back to America by bringing the rubber duck industry back to America where the rubber duck was originally invented before the industry went overseas. Celebriducks is now the only one who makes them for companies and organizations such as Harley-Davidson and The Future Farmers of America.
Recently he launched a new chocolate division, www.CocoaCanard.com , with their 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.
How did you get started working from home?
I figure, hey, I own the company, I can work anywhere! Also, I find many office environments are just not an enjoyable place to spend a day. I realized that I could work from my home in this very benign atmosphere and via outsourcing surround myself with a brilliant cast of characters no matter where they lived. It gave me a GREAT competitive advantage.
How did you choose the work-at-home career you do?
I wanted a business that was creatively inspiring that did not need to function in a traditional office. I realized that since I was getting into manufacturing, I would not be where my products were being manufactured anyway, so why not just oversee and manage it all remotely from home and live a more relaxed and enjoyable life!
How did you get started (basic initial steps)?
I set up an initial office in the house, and started doing my research on how to create the products I wanted and how to find the people who could work with me. There’s a period of R&D and networking and getting it all together in finding the right parts. But once you do, it is amazing what you can do from your home. A phone, a computer, and the internet are very powerful tools these days!
How did you get your first client or customer or job?
I called them!….in the animation business, I called Coke and told them they should market the artwork for the Coke Bears just like Disney did with their artwork. It took off and I just then called everyone from M&M/Mars to Anheuser-Bush and did the same with them. It became quite successful. Then when I did the CelebriDucks, I followed the same model. I called King Features and explained my concept for Betty Boop. Once I proved it with them I just rolled on until I had done hundreds of different styles, sold millions and eventually became the top custom duck manufacturer in the world…all from home I might add!!
How do you market your business?
PR…I really use that a lot by sending out many press releases and responding to reporter’s inquiries because we are story that people like to write about, especially since we returned the whole rubber duck industry back to the USA where it began! Also, these days, with social media and SEO you can do amazing things and we do rely a lot on that.
What does your usual day look like?
I just sit here in my office in constant communication via e-mail and phone with clients, workers, customers, etc. I now have three factories, two in the USA, and I am always having to monitor projects as we always have so much going on at once. But I do take those breaks! And since I also own a chocolate company I really make sure to take a Spooning Chocolate (our product) break every day. What could be better!
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
It’s good to be lean and mean in the beginning. But you also have to be relevant right out of the gate. In the beginning I created celebrity rubber ducks of properties that did not have the extensive reach I should have been aiming for. This would have been the place to invest more dollars…getting the licenses for the properties that would have put us on the map much sooner. So watch that cash flow and bootstrap like a madman in the beginning while at the same time you must know where it is critical to spend more dollars!
What advice would you give someone who wants to work from home?
This is just the best way to work IF…a big IF…you can self-manage yourself. Not everyone can and they instead tend to get lost and distracted at home. These folks need a more structured environment so going to an office might be their only option. Everyone is different in that regard. But if you are fortunate enough such that you can manage your time and energy on your own and do not need a boss to direct you, then working at home is a dream and just a wonderful way to do business. I would never do it differently!!!
To connect further with Craig, visit
Twitter Handle: @CelebriDucks
Facebook Page: CelebriDucks
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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