If you were to meet Liz Galvan, you would never suspect that she leads a double life. This mom used to work in project management for an engineering firm, but now she is what some might call the “queen of the crayons."
By day, she’s a full-time mom. But at night, Liz is an entrepreneurial rock star.
This is one of those stories that makes you think, "Why didn’t I think of that?"
What has become a lucrative career began many years ago in a small home kitchen in the Philippines. The story begins with 7-year-old Liz who had procrastinated on a school project that needed to be finished the next day. To make matters worse, she had left her coloring crayons at school. Her mother, being a resourceful woman who did not want anything to go to waste, instructed Liz to find as many broken crayons as she could around the house.
Giving her mother a handful or two of these broken pieces, her mother placed them in a heart-shaped baking pan and melted them in the oven to form a whole new rainbow crayon. Not only was Liz able to complete her school project on time, but she and her mother had discovered a new hobby and gift idea to give to Liz’s teachers at the end of each school year.
Many years later, with Liz now married with children of her own, she continued the tradition. Friends and teachers would often comment that Liz should sell these little marvels and so, in 2002, the home-based business, Krayonshop was built.
It was just a part-time business, mostly creating and selling goods for Valentine’s Day and Christmas. But they were a hit.
When Liz’s husband retired from the military, the family decided together that it was time for a change. After creating a bunch of new “Krayons” creations with new shapes and sizes, Liz posted a simple ad on Facebook Marketplace. The next day, the family woke up to find a huge line of shoppers standing outside of Liz’s home ready to purchase these new beauties! She made $5,000 in one week. By spring, Liz branched out with a new Etsy shop and within 15 minutes, she made five sales.
Today, Liz sells her wares wholesale and retail. Approximately 900 shops in the U.S. sell her Krayons and 400 more outside of the states do, too. Learning from her mother, Liz’s business takes an eco-friendly approach with everything that she does, using non-toxic crayons and biodegradable, reusable packaging. With many shapes to choose from, the more popular items in her shop are the personalized gift sets spelling out the name of the recipient and the new donut-shaped crayons with different "glazes and sprinkles" on top.
Wearing gloves and working in a spotless kitchen, Liz has always taken certain steps to keep her creations safe and free of germs, but when COVID-19 hit, her business had to shift a little bit, too. As an extra measure of caution, she is currently only making her Krayons from brand-new Crayola crayons with a few exceptions. Special orders can be made where the purchaser can send Liz their broken crayons and receive something wonderful back.
The Krayonshop, “home of handmade rainbow crayons,” has become a real family business with one bedroom converted into a studio/warehouse of sorts. On any given night, mom Liz is busy in the kitchen creating new Krayons. Dad is in the living room watching TV and peeling the paper off the new crayons. Liz’s oldest daughter helps with packaging. The middle daughter is in charge of labeling and her youngest son gets to stick the "fragile" stickers on the boxes.
Last-minute Easter basket idea!
Krayonshop items make perfect gifts any time of the year, including Easter baskets. Last-minute Easter bunnies might want to make a visit to Ebony & Ivory Coffee (676 Woodland Square Loop SE in Lacey) on Saturday, April 23 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to get your fill.
Jeff Totey is a freelance writer for Seattle Refined. See more of his work here.