They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and that includes holiday décor. Houston-based cousins and entrepreneurs, Amberly Hall, Jennifer Couch, and Kristy Moore took Christmas decorations to a whole new level by creating the largest, yet most affordable ornaments on the market. “We all grew up within a mile of each other and we wanted to do something creative and the idea of the Holiball came up because we loved the big commercial ornaments, but they are super heavy, you can’t store them easily and they’re expensive,” says Hall.
Before investing in production, the group travelled to Dallas Market in the summer of 2019 to see if there was anything like their now one-of-a-kind Christmas decoration. It turns out there wasn’t. In 120 days the family trio designed, produced and packaged 900 Holiballs to sell at the Chi Omega Christmas Market in Dallas, nearly selling out. It’s called a Holiball, made with lightweight and durable material that is engineered to be UV-resistant, withstanding temperatures from -20 to 120 degrees. It currently comes in 22 different colors, two different sizes, 18 inch and 30 inch, and will stay inflated for at least 90 days indoor or outdoor.
“Our first prototypes were not our end product, we had to persevere and push through, and we went through a lot of ball rejects before we got to where we are now,” Hall says. Fans of the Holiball have used them for other events such as weddings, birthday parties, baby showers and corporate events. “When we first started, our plan was to create something that you can just hang outdoors and then we quickly realized not everyone has yards as big as we do in Texas— so we created a staking kit. And then we also realized you could float them in pools for holiday parties, so they come with a kit where you can actually float them upright in pools,” exclaims Couch. The best part is that they’re easy to store. “I think that’s one of the main comments we get, that it doesn’t take up a lot of space when it’s not in use,” Hall says. “And it’s fun, it’s oversized, whimsical, you know it just brings joy. It’s a lot of fun in a small package that you can just bring out and it’s a party!”
The success of the Holiball rose quickly. In 2020, the design trio were invited to major wholesale buyers’ markets across the US, but was cancelled due to the coronavirus. Shortly after the cancelled shows, the owners received an email from casting for the show Shark Tank. “We were convinced they were spam. Upon some investigation, we discover it IS a real person, not trying to scam us,” Moore jokingly states. The Holiball ladies had to quarantine for 10 days in a hotel before pitching their product to the Sharks on camera, but luckily, there was a silver lining. By the end of 2020, Holiball premiered on Shark Tank and closed a deal with two investors on the show, Barbara Corcoran and Mark Cuban. “Our decision to be in the Tank ultimately came from how visible and popular our product was during the tradeshows we traveled to. Not knowing the wholesale scene at these shows, we were fortunate to make trusting friends, and quickly became aware of the copycat buyers,” Moore says. “There would be ‘buyers’ there to only see what products get attention, then take and recreate. Being a small, self-funded company, we knew how important it was to become more visible for the brand we were building, and this was our ticket.” “Being on the show and making a deal with Barbara and Mark has been extremely beneficial because we know we have some big sharks backing us up,” Hall adds.
Expanding hasn’t come without challenges, and before getting a fulfillment center in 2021, the founders packaged and shipped every item by hand in a warehouse that was graciously shared by their friend, Curtis Morris. An influential person they all agree helped make the company what it is today. Before working out of the warehouse, their “fulfilment” center was an extra bedroom. “We crimped every piece, we packaged it, we heat sealed it, we put the sticker on the label, we put it in the box, we mailed every single piece up until this year and now our fulfillment center is doing that for us which has been a big game changer.” Hall says.
This December, Holiball launched a new 12-inch inflatable ornament, with an added jingle, conveniently titled the Holibell. In addition, a collegiate Holiball line will be introduced, choosing six universities in the Southern region – Texas A&M University, University of Texas, Clemson University, University of Oklahoma, Louisiana State University and University of Alabama. “Before manufacturing we thought we were stuck, we didn’t know what else to do,” Moore says. “We have a ton of ideas and products that I’m pretty sure most of our customers actually ask us for and finding that person to make it was our biggest issue, but now I feel like we are on that right path. We’ll have more to offer than just being a Christmas ornament, it’ll just be a name for itself, and they’ll know to buy the best inflatables from Holiball.”
You can purchase a Holiball online at theholiball.com or retailers in the Houston area.