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The Christmas Tree Hugger
Ryan started The Christmas Tree Hugger in 2017. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on The Christmas Tree Hugger?
I come from a design and advertising background and have been an Art Director for 15+ years, working on Madison Avenue for most of that time.
I chose that gig because I’ve been a maker since childhood and have always loved figuring out new ways to solve problems in a creative out of the box way. Another huge part of my personality since childhood has been my interest in entrepreneurship.
As a small business you need to try harder to get noticed, so if that takes you showing up in person to get noticed, go for it!
My friends and I were always coming up with small business ventures. Some examples included opening up a bike repair shop in my garage, starting our own neighborhood newspaper, making and selling a custom formulated wax for skaters to use for grinding on curbs, we even made a haunted house one year and charged candy for admission so we didn't have to go door to door for treats. I could go on and on, but the point is, I’ve always had a desire to make something fun and be my own boss.
I came up with the idea for The Christmas Tree Hugger when my wife and I were setting up our very first artificial tree. After putting the star on top, we sat down on the couch to admire how amazing it all looked and there it was... Just staring at us. That nasty fuzzy green eyesore at the bottom was taking away from the Christmas magic we worked so hard to create.
I assumed there would be something online to fix the bottom area and immediately thought if I could find something that looked like real tree bark, that would be the most logical solution. But, I couldn't find a thing! Basically, after google failed me, I decided to make something myself. And after I did, I was amazed what a big difference it made aesthetically.
When friends and family started commenting on how realistic our tree looked, I realized people were into this notion of upgrading the junky looking bottom area of the tree. That bottom section was literally the last remaining piece of real estate on Christmas trees that has not been loaded up with decorations, and I wanted to stake my claim. But, before I put too much money on the line, it was time to get a pulse from the general public too.
Launching a crowdfunding campaign did the trick, and I was able to raise enough money to cover the cost of trademarking, patenting, and a small high quality production run in China. It also helped out a ton financially that I had my art/advertising background to help me come up with a cute and quirky brand behind the whole idea.
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder @ Starter Story
- Wiki Updater