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Stacey Kohler
Back From Extinction After 40 years!

Kiddy Crawler LLC, Stacey Kohler

Title / Role: CEO & Founder
Location: Wauconda, Illinois
Formed in: 2019
What do you do?

I am the CEO of Kiddy Crawler LLC and the revivalist of the Crawligator. Popular vintage tummy time toy has been brought out of extinction after 40 years. Originally created by a major toy company in the 1960s, the Crawligator became a popular toy for infants, helping to naturally develop mobility, gross motor skills, and muscle strength. However, after the company was purchased by a large conglomerate, the Crawligator was no longer produced. Its "extinction" lasted 40 years. When my granddaughter was born, I went on the hunt for the once-popular Crawligator. As my internet search concluded, I was disappointed to learn that the Crawligator was now a rare relic, sometimes sold on eBay.

As an already successful entrepreneur and creator of The Sandbagger now used in military installations around the world, I saw an opportunity. Looking at the market, I knew there was real potential in bringing the Crawligator back to the market. In 2017, I began research and a redesign that would bring the Crawligator up to today's Child Safety Standards. Studies continue to show the importance of crawling with developmental milestones.

What inspired you to start your business?

The birth of my first grandchild Lily. I wanted to ensure that my beautiful granddaughter would experience healthy development.

What's special about your business?

The Crawligator is a unique and innovative developmental toy for infants that provides mobility and promotes natural crawling movement. The Crawligator is designed to move just above the hard floor surface on caster wheels. The sleek contoured surface allows the child to rest comfortably on their stomach while safely developing and exploring their world. The Crawligator builds strength, develops gross motor skills, and supports independence. Proud to say MADE IN AMERICA!

What have been the high and low points of being a business owner?

The high point of being a business owner was seeing my invention on World News Tonight with David Muir's Made In America: Holiday Edition 12/20/19. The low point of being a business owner is finding capital & investors when you are just starting out.

What is your relationship with SCORE? SCORE client How SCORE helped.

I attended all the SCORE workshops in 1993 when I invented the Sandbagger. They were very helpful with getting a small women-owned business loan. My current mentor has been helpful in every aspect from the early stages of research all the way to getting on the retail shelf.

What's great about my mentor?

My experience with my SCORE mentor, Ezzy Dabbish, has been outstanding over the last 4 years we have been working together. I still remember the first day we met at the Cary Train Station. Ezzy has always made himself available to me for guidance along this difficult and challenging journey :-) I would not have made it this far without him!

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a small business?

My best advice to someone thinking about starting a small business is to get a SCORE mentor.

What have you learned from your experiences as a business owner?

I have learned it takes a lot longer and a lot more money to get started than you originally planned.

My mentors
Headshot of Ezzat Dabbish
Ezzat Dabbish

Ezzy Dabbish spent most of his career with Motorola Corporate Research from 1973 through 2007 and...

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