May 13, 2016, 5:00am CDT
Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal. Read the full article here.
As a teenager, Chad Hetherington dreamed of becoming a successful business owner one day. That dream is now a reality.
Hetherington grew up in Australia in a blue-collar family that taught him the value of hard work. As a 17-year-old, after unsuccessfully trying to find a job, he started his own company, Hetherington Media Group, where he created promotional videos for any company that would let him.
When he came to the United States, he worked his way up to become vice president of sales at Quirky.com, a company that helps inventors bring their ideas to life.
He left Quirky after about five years and set out to found The Stable, an idea he’d been incubating while he was there.
Hetherington and three other co-founders plotted its launch in a conference room at the Minneapolis Club last summer.
The Stable is a retail sales agency that partners with young companies to get their products on retail shelves. In its first year, it’s signed over 50 brands and increased its staff to 12.
Hetherington and the other founders have broad networks and plenty of experience in sales and distribution, business leadership, and retail. That’s helped The Stable make inroads at major retailers such Target Corp., Best Buy Co. Inc., Amazon and HSN.
“Part of what makes this special is that everyone has a very unique skill set and we let them be great at what they want to do,” Hetherington said. He added that his company strives to not just place its clients’ products wherever possible, but to target retailers that are the best fit.
“We’re trying to reinvent what representation means and what value we want to add to our brand products,” Hetherington said.
Jeff Martin is CEO of Pipcorn, a company that makes healthy popcorn and is one of The Stable’s clients. Thanks to the company’s help, Target recently ordered 10 times the amount of popcorn Pipcorn was expecting it to.
Martin said that was because The Stable took care of everything the company needed to get it on Target’s shelves. He credits Hetherington’s dedication to helping Pipcorn achieve its goals.
“We didn’t have to do anything,” Martin said.
As The Stable continues to grow, its goal is to help brands connect and collaborate with each other to create more opportunities for themselves.
Hetherington said The Stable is still focusing on developing its brand and generating more cash flow and revenue with the goal of growing exponentially in the future.
But at the end of the day, his goal is to help other businesses owners like Pipcorn achieve their dreams like he has.
Business: Retail sales agency
CEO and co-founder: Chad Hetherington
Other founders: Kate Hetherington, Chad’s wife who has a background in sales and distribution; Nik Larsen, who has experience leading small businesses; Mark Tonsoni, who worked for Target Corp. for more than a decade