Families have been dunking hard-boiled eggs in smelly cups of vinegar-based dye for decades, but two good pals — buddies, even — have forever changed the egg decorating game.
Scott Houdashell invented The Eggmazing Egg Decorator back in 2015. The Eggmazing spins the egg within a base, while kids can hold a marker to the egg to create intricate designs. Houdashell teamed up with his long-time friend Curtis McGill, and the pair started the company Hey Buddy Hey Pal Investments (HBHP). By 2017, their first production run of The Eggmazing Egg Decorator was ready. Just one year later, the duo landed an investment deal with Shark Tank’s Lori Greiner, launching their product into the homes of millions of families.
Fast forward to 2021, and it’s not just about eggs. Hey Buddy Hey Pal now boasts a full product line, including multiple Easter-themed decorators, Christmas-themed ornament decorators, and even a dinosaur craft kit that’s perfect for any time of the year. The Toy Book chatted with Houdashell and McGill about their experience in the toy industry, what they hope to provide for kids, and how they handle the seasonal market.
Toy Book: Tell us the story behind your company name, Hey Buddy Hey Pal.
Scott Houdashell: The name Hey Buddy Hey Pal comes from a simple greeting that my best friend and business partner, Curtis McGill, would always begin a conversation or encounter with. He would say “hey buddy,” and I would respond “hey pal.” It made perfect sense at the time to name our joint business endeavor as such.
TB: You guys are well-known for the Eggmazing Egg Decorator, which landed a deal on Shark Tank with Lori Greiner. How did that TV appearance change the trajectory of your company?
Curtis McGill: Being on Shark Tank has been one of the many great catalysts that has helped The Eggmazing Egg Decorator become a household name. Our episode aired in February of 2018 and sales were instant. Shark Tank averages more than 5 million viewers per episode, so having that big of an audience at once was a major lift for our product and future sales. We continue to see a little bump in our Amazon [sales] every time our episode is re-aired. It’s always fun to share our Shark Tank “eggsperience” with families that have seen our episode or have decorated with our product.
TB: How does innovation play a role in your company?
SH: Innovation is key to staying relevant and working toward becoming an evergreen company. I didn’t realize at the time, but The Eggmazing was invented out of necessity. With a hot glue stick, a cordless screwdriver, and a spoon, I solved the “smelly vinegar and messy dye” problem. I try to apply the simplicity of that fateful idea I had on Easter day in 2015 to
future inventions and product development.
TB: How are you working to inspire creativity in kids and families all over the country?
SH: Creativity is very important to me. I’ve used several mediums throughout my life to express myself and grow artistically as a person. Whether it be music, woodworking, or simply working on projects to challenge myself. I think The Eggmazing and Treemendous bring out the artist in everyone. We always say that there is no right or wrong way to decorate. It puts the creativity back in the kiddos’ hands. Everyone is an “eggs-pert” at decorating. We will continue to use this motto to introduce inspiring and craft-minded toys to the market.
TB: Why is it important to you to work with major retailers as well as specialty/local retailers?
SH: One of the obstacles of introducing a new invention or toy to the market is teaching the public how to use it. We have found that specialty toy and “mom and pop” stores are key to this. They have the ability to demo the product for customers, which is very important. But there comes a time in a product’s lifespan that in order to reach the masses, it needs to be in major retail stores. This is definitely a balancing act and can be challenging at times. Our company goal is for every family in the world to enjoy our products and we need all selling avenues to accomplish this.
TB: What are the biggest challenges related to producing seasonal products, and how have you worked to overcome them?
CM: Having a seasonal product can be challenging on many levels. It is always a moving target on how much product to manufacture. Because most of our products are seasonal, there is always a deadline or cutoff date for shipments to be here in time. It’s always great to sell out of product every year, but having 15-20% of product left in our warehouse can be instrumental, too. This allows us to have samples for future buyers, and also lets us ship early to retailers for next season. This year’s challenge for HBHP and other companies will be a shortage of shipping containers. We are navigating through this issue on a day-to-day basis.
TB: In addition to the Eggmazing Egg Decorator, you now have a full line of products, including some for Christmas ornaments! Tell us what’s next for HBHP!
SH: I never would have dreamed that six years after inventing The Eggmazing, HBHP would have added 27 additional item numbers and SKUs to our product catalog. We are spinning and decorating ornaments with The Treemendous Ornament Decorator, encouraging some prehistoric fun with our Dinomazing Egg Decorator and we just launched our newest Christmas item, The Gift Box Ornament Decorator. This decorating kit offers all new ornaments with different shapes and sizes, including a snowman shape! My favorite part of the journey is the “egg-citment” that comes with inventing the next big thing and that journey never ends. Be careful what you wish for … it just might come true!
To learn more about Hey Buddy Hey Pal and The Eggmazing, visit eggmazing.com.