Before The Elf On The Shelf hit stores in 2005, it was a family tradition in Chanda Bell's family for decades. Now, more than 11 million elves have been adopted all around the world. Bell, the company's Founder and CEO, explains how she and her family turned their holiday tradition into a viral phenomenon.
When Bell and her mother decided to publish the story behind their family tradition, they pitched it to a number of publishers. After getting turned down from every one they spoke with, they decided to publish the story themselves. Now, 13 years later, that story has become a Christmastime favorite for millions of children.
Bell says that there were a number of challenges getting the company off the ground beyond taking on debt to fund it. Neither she nor her mom or sister had business backgrounds, but Bell says they learned quickly.