No, Brad Deal did not become a millionaire on a television game show and he is not some famous actor or athlete. This fellow, a 39 year old from the state of Illinois, is simply a father who knew a good thing when he saw it. He had earned an economics degree from the University of Illinois while his wife Jera had a communications degree from Augustana College. They had a beautiful daughter named Julianna. When Julianna was a toddler He and his wife loved to play games with her. There was one special game that really stood out. He and his wife wanted to teach their daughter how to learn different letters of the alphabet. They could have done this in many ways but chose to think outside the box. Little did they know that their out of the box thinking would lead to a multi-million dollar fortune.
He and his wife would take their daughter on long walks where they would enjoy nature and the architecture around them. In architecture and nature they began to point out letters to their daughter that seemed to pop out of everywhere. You could find various sticks in the shapes of letters. You could find letters formed in the stones and rock formations. They found letters everywhere and began to take pictures of them. Then they would use the pictures later to teach their daughter. It was a neat idea and slowly their stockpile of pictures of stick and stone letters grew. Little did they know that it would grow into a gold mine.
His daughter Julianna was enrolled in a preschool and his wife Jera helped out there quite often. During this time it became known that Julianna’s teacher was getting married. He and his wife really appreciated their daughter’s teacher and wanted to present her with a gift that she would keep close to her heart forever. He and his wife struggled with gift options until finally it hit them. What if they framed some of those photos of letters and formed the teacher’s last name? They decided that it would make a very unique gift. They were right, the bride loved it and so did all the wedding party. He knew they had stumbled upon something quite special. The entrepreneur spirit kicked in.
He and his wife felt comfortable with the idea that if they could get this gift idea marketed properly it would sell. There was nothing else quite like it out there. In 2005 they created the ‘Sticks and Stones’ website. They gathered up all their pictures of letters made out of sticks and stones, framed them and put them into a catalog. These made wonderful keepsakes and everyone that saw them fell in love with them. However, he knew they needed a boost. He and his wife decided they wanted to give someone they admired a whole lot one of their keepsakes as a gift. That person was Oprah Winfrey. They visited her show until Brad finally got her attention and delivered the unique gift. Oprah was so impressed she ordered one as a gift for Tom Cruise. That endorsement was all he and the family business needed to take off.
Today there are Sticks and Stones in the Obama White House and millions of other houses as well. He and his 34-year-old wife Jera became millionaires. They continue to grow their business. They have 3 daughters now and they still play a little game called letter finding. Only this time it is part of the family business.
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