Young Entrepreneur is a Game Guru
Jacob Hanson is waiting for a life-changing phone call. He hopes that one day the toy company Mattel will pick up the phone, buy the rights to his game Gloryboard and change his life forever. “We'll see how it goes,” Hanson said. “If I come to a dead end, I come to a dead end, but if I get that phone call it was all worth it.”
Hanson is a 2002 graduate from Lakeside High School and recent graduate from Gonzaga. He first fell in love with yard games in high school. “I don't know when it happened but it did,” He said. “I loved playing lawn darts, Frisbee, Botchi Ball, just anything that got me outside.”
The thrill of the game followed Hanson throughout his college career and during his junior year, he turned this hobby into a business. Hanson said his roommate created a rudimentary bean bag game similar to the widely popular game Cornhole.
According to the American Cornhole Association, Cornhole or Corn Toss is similar to horseshoes except you use wooden boxes called cornhole platforms and corn bags instead of horseshoes and metal stakes. Contestants take turns pitching their corn bags at the cornhole platform until a contestant reaches the score of 21 points. A corn bag in the hole scores 3 points, while one on the platform scores 1 point.
“I got hooked on the game,” Hanson said. “I wanted to buy it. I hunted for it everywhere but I couldn't find it, so I made one of my own. I said hey, I can make a good product.” Hanson said his game is similar to Cornhole, but varies in some rules and unlike the heavy Cornhole platforms, his game is light and portable.
Hanson gave away the first primitive 20 or so games he made, which soon developed a steady following on campus. To spread the word about Gloryboard, he sent each fraternity a personalized copy of the game (painted with their fraternity letters and name). Although the game was initially geared toward college students, everyone including his nine-year-old cousins, can enjoy playing, he said.
Gloryboard is great for barbeques and the outdoors, Hanson said. The boards can be placed 20-25 feet apart, and much like horseshoes, three points are given for making it in the hole. Players can also add and subtract points throughout the game, which can be played alone or in teams of two. “I understand everyone is just trying to build a better mousetrap but you have to play it to understand it,” Hanson says.
“Bring glory to the people is my motto.” These days, Hanson has developed a fine tuned manufacturing system and templates. “I couldn't have done it without my dad and his endless supply of tools and knowledge,” Hanson said. Each summer, Hanson works out of his dad's shop on Liberty Lake cutting, painting and screen printing the 24x24 foot boards.
He leaves the bean bag production to his grandmother Ann Stommes. “My grandma is the sweetest old lady in Suncrest,” he said. “Nothing has the same kind of quality that she puts into it and let's face it, not a lot of 25 year old guys are proficient in sewing.”
Hanson's website gained online presence this October and since then, he's sold games in Florida, Arizona, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Texas. He hopes to break into the competitive market of the Southeast, where competition is highest. In addition to online sales, Hanson has gained his first retailer locally at Uncles Games.
“I've always kind of had the entrepreneur spirit,” Hanson said. “I like to do stuff for myself rather than punching a clock. I hope to be a serious entrepreneur.” Ultimately, Hanson hopes Gloryboard will reach retail stores nationally. He's currently working on the manufacturing process and new board colors like white, black or “dark glory”, “going green glory” which is a non-painted board and a pink board for breast cancer.
Until Mattel crosses lines with Hanson, he's happy to be young, having fun, learning the business and making money off of it. “I didn't graduate college thinking, I'm going to make a game,” he said. “Sometimes you've gotta follow your dream and see what happens.”
Gloryboard can be purchased at http://www.gloryboardgame.com/Site/Home.html or at Uncles Games at 404 W. Main St ., Spokane.