Friday, October 31, 2008

Author Spotlight: The Editors of Klutz

Klutz was founded by three friends from Stanford University who started out selling sidewalk juggling lessons with three no-bounce beanbags. They earned $35 that first day, and soon decided to start a company to sell their own how-to book on the topic. 

So, they divvied up the responsibilities and got to work: John Cassidy was the creative force, Darrell Lorentzen wrote their first business plan, and B.C. Rimbeaux was tasked with securing their initial bank loan. The company was incorporated in 1977 in Palo Alto, California, and their first 3,000 books were delivered via bike and backpack. 

Of their entrepreneurial endeavor, Cassidy says:
"It really was a failed scam. Our dream was to do a book on juggling, sell a bazillion in a couple of days, buy an island and retire. It didn't work out. After a year of steady, unspectacular sales, we found ourselves staring down the barrel of a career."

Today, Klutz books are regulars on the US book and toy bestseller lists, and are available in 24 countries worldwide. Their first book, Juggling for the Complete Klutz, is their most popular title, having sold more than 2.5 million copies. Though their early books were aimed at the college crowd, the company morphed into publishing for children after John Cassidy's children came into the picture.

Packaged with the necessary "tools of the trade," Klutz books are designed "for doing, not just reading." Their products have expanded to include toys, kits, buckets, guides and even an educational product line.

Klutz was acquired by Scholastic in 2002. John Cassidy remains CEO and Klutz's creative force. And their mission statement?

Create wonderful things, be good, have fun.

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**Photo Credit: Peter Fox, Klutz (Originally posted at USAToday.com article listed below in Sources)

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