When you’ve got littles at home, it’s not so much the neverending stickiness or Blippi on a loop that eventually gets to you… it’s the tiny plastic toy parts. They multiply with every gift-giving occasion until they threaten to take over the world.
But the Halberts, founders of Maple + Lark and high school sweethearts, are heroes for such a time as this. They’re fighting the good fight on a couple of fronts. First, they’re making heirloom quality wooden toys, the kind that your kids and grandkids and great-grands can play with because they’re built to last. But on the second battlefront, they’ve got beautiful baskets and other containers to corral the mess. Use both in tandem and your bare tootsies will be free from the tyranny of midnight sneak attacks.
How’d they start?
They were living in Colorado and selling toys other companies made. Then they did their first run of baskets in seven colors. They sold out in minutes.
That was right before joining The One Percent. Way back in September 2020, Bradley hopped on a community call in with Ryan to get some advice on growing the brand. In the past three years, they’ve sold over 40,000 baskets and about 15,000 toys. Baskets are the focus now.
The Halberts sold their place in Colorado and moved with their four homeschooled kids onto 28 acres in Texas. There, they built their home and a warehouse so they could control how they handle fulfillment. Maple + Lark currently has a couple of employees helping out.
Why’d they build a warehouse?
Well, the siren song of selling on Amazon includes an enticing chorus about residual income. You ship to Amazon; they ship to your customer. It can work beautifully. Or, it can be a nightmare. The Halberts experience the ladder. They’d hired a fulfillment house without vetting them well enough.
At the time, one of the hottest sellers was an acrylic jar with a lid. The Halberts sold nearly $40K of that product in one day as a preorder, which was great. But what happened next was not. Customers got the wrong products. Shipments went out late. Bradley nearly had to threaten legal action to get his products back, but eventually he did. That’s when they said, “We’ll do it ourselves” and built their own. They get bonus points here because they can rent the space to their business and nab some tax-free income in the process.
Bradley and Chelsey got their chance to put the new digs through its paces when they launched their newest product, Bliss Bins. They come in different sizes to keep toys and board games corralled. The Halberts ordered about 3000 units realizing they were likely to sell quickly.
That’s all it took to sell out of one specific set. The rest were gone within the hour. A $20K launch is a lovely thing, don’t you think? Even better, the FOMO is entirely real now - those customers who didn’t hop on the opportunity to buy bins the first time won’t make that mistake again!
The Halberts have built a 38.7K-person audience on Instagram. They’ve cultivated an engaged email list that goes gaga over every product Maple + Lark launches. Chelsey’s the mastermind behind the ‘gram. Bradley says with four kids and some animals living on the property, there’s no shortage of content to shoot. “The dog crapped on the floor? Let’s take a video and put it online!” It doesn’t get more real-life than that.
But Bradley’s had a smart aha that’s worth highlighting. As you’ve heard us preach over and over, the recipe for a million dollar brand is to get just four $30 products to a total of 100 sales per day. Voila! $1,095,000 (keep the change).
The Halberts didn’t do it that way. Bradley says they started out with a CRAZY selection of toys. He says they built this business backwards. For the last couple of years, they’ve narrowed the product selection, focused on their own products, and cultivated their community. It’s working.
What makes them the proudest so far?
Cultivating their community. The way they take care of their customers is a living demonstration of what it means to serve. They’ve got customers who spend $3,000-$4,000 every year. That’s something to take pride in! Bradley says Maple + Lark sends these loyal customers free stuff, seeks their feedback, and just loves on them as much as they can. They know these customers are the fuel for the brand.
By now, you’re realizing how smart the Halberts are. They know their person. They make great products. And they know how to grow and care for an audience. They’ve mastered the 5-figure launch. They’ve also sorted out how to run their own warehouse. They know their numbers. It’s like they went to an Ivy League school.
But they didn’t. Right out of high school, they went to the school of hard knocks, rolling up their sleeves to figure it out along the way. They’ve learned a lot from Chelsey’s dad, and a lot from others they’ve met along the way. For their family, owning a business has always been normalized. That’s what they’re doing for their four children, too. As Bradley put it, “The truth is, my family is everything. My wife and my kids, my family, they’re it. They drive me 110%.”
I’m not crying. You’re crying.
The story of Brad and Chelsey Halbert is a reminder to aspiring entrepreneurs that with passion, dedication, and a focus on quality, it is possible to build a thriving brand that serves and inspires a loyal community. Embrace challenges, cultivate relationships, and stay true to your vision as you embark on your entrepreneurial journey.
We love what the Halberts are doing, and are rooting hard for them. We'll keep documenting their journey, so check back to follow along.
And if the Halberts' story inspires you to build a million dollar brand of your own, you're in the right place. We can help you!
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