About Us pages on most sites read like a forced assignment, there is no soul in them. And then I stumbled on this About Us page on bigbellybanks.com—
Thank you for checking out my Big Belly Banks. I get up every morning and thank God for the small business that I have. I’m proud to design and make a unique, quality product here in the USA. I feel honored every time some one thinks enough of my banks to spend their hard earned money to purchase one. I’m proud that so many children have grown up, and continue to grow up loving their bank. I’ve been doing this so long now that people that got one as a child are now getting them for their children.
When I began I was penniless. Because of a serious leg injury I was not able physically to continue in the profession that I began my career in. And, I wasn’t able to do other physically demanding jobs. I eventually lived in a Tipi that I constructed on land that my parents owned in the Adirondack mountains of NY. I rented a small space in a construction companies building and started making puzzles of children’s names. I was going to try and sell them to stores but a local artist told me that I should sell them at Art and Craft shows. In August of 1987 I sold at my first Craft show. For the next few years I sold my puzzles at the shows.
I met my wife at an Art show. I was selling puzzles and she was selling jewelry that she makes. For me it was love at first sight. We married in 1989 and have had a great life together. Both of us had previously been married. I have 2 great daughters from my first marriage. My wife has a daughter from hers. And, we have a daughter and son together. The kids are all grown now and are starting families of their own.
One winter in the early 90’s we were in Florida selling our crafts. We were at a park and a goose started to chase me. He was trying to get a sandwich out of my hand. I thought that it was hilarious. The higher that I raised the sandwich, the higher he would stretch his neck. That afternoon I was sketching a cartoonish looking duck/goose with an exaggerated long neck. I took a pencil and drew a squiggly line down it’s neck. I thought “That would be cool. A Duck that would eat money.”
I made a large cartoonish Duck looking coin bank for a daughters birthday. Thinking that others might want one I spent a couple of years perfecting the design. When I had it right I took 3 colors of Ducks and 3 colors of Dinosaurs to a large Craft show. I sold 970 of them at that 4 day show. I didn’t have that many so, I took prepaid orders for most of them. I have been selling them ever since. The banks are made in the same building that I started in. But, now the whole building is used for bank production.
I have lived and continue to live the American dream.