During the week, TCU alumni Scott and Julie Kuehn are an ordinary married couple, but on weekends and evenings, they are board game entrepreneurs.Scott Kuehn graduated from TCU in 1991, and Julie Kuehn graduated in 1994 – both of whom were radio-TV-film majors, Scott Kuehn said.
Scott Kuehn first created his game, “Looney Laundry,” as an ice-breaker for his involvement with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
“I was thinking of ideas to make the children feel more comfortable,” Kuehn said. “It made sense, and the kids loved it.”
When Kuehn saw that children enjoyed the game, he sent his idea to Grand Prix International to produce a Looney Laundry prototype.
“We produced 5,000 games for the Kuehns,” said Michael Fisher, president of Grand Prix International. “We try to make the product as inexpensive as we can. We just create their idea, they go and sell it.”
The Kuehns created their own Web site, bluebonnet-games.com, and soon thereafter, retailers would come knocking on their door.
“Where this was going at that time, I had no idea,” Kuehn said. “I felt like I had a strong idea and something that no one else had.”
In the first 11 months, more than 1,000 “Looney Laundry” games had been sold. Soon, 43 retailers were selling “Looney Laundry” in their stores, as well as appearing on gaming-industry Web sites.
“I first agreed to sell the game in my store because the creator was a local Texan,” said Sandy Challinor, owner of The Owl’s Nest in Southlake.
“When we tested the game on kids, we were very pleased with the results and confident that ‘Looney Laundry’ would sell,” Challinor said.
Toys ‘R’ Us and FAO Schwarz were selling “Looney Laundry” on their Web sites, which would eventually lead to Creative Child Magazine naming the game as the recipient of its Preferred Choice Award in 2006.
“The game is a fresh, humorous look at laundry that will appeal to boys and girls aged 5 to 9,” according to an article published in Creative Child Magazine.
Recently, “Looney Laundry” was entered into the American International Toy Fair competition in New York City. The competition was Feb. 11 through Feb. 14, according to the Toy Industry Association’s Web site.
This is the largest trade show in the Western Hemisphere according to the Toy Industry Association’s Web site.
More than 1,500 manufacturers, distributors, importers and sales agents from 30 countries showcase their toy and entertainment products.
“I am optimistic that we will get positive results from our market representatives at the toy fair,” Kuehn said. “In past fairs and exhibitions we entered ‘Looney Laundry’ in, our market representatives have given us good news.”
The results from the toy fair will not be available to the Kuehns for about another week, Kuehn said.
“We have to wait for our market reps to send the information back to us,” he said.
He said the next step for “Looney Laundry” will be a toy fair in California.
“We will use the results from New York and go to California and do it all over again in a few weeks,” he said.
“Looney Laundry” is not the only thing that the Kuehns have developed. The couple also developed another game called “Toss-a-Chore”.
“It is another way to teach children that work can be fun,” Kuehn said. “It is great a feeling to bring joy to those who play our games.”
Toss-A-Chore has become a popular seller in stores.
“Toss-A-Chore is one of our top sellers,” Challinor said. “Within a few weeks we were ordering more because the demand was so high.”
The Kuehns’ are enjoying their involvement in creating new board games, but it is still just a hobby.
“This is still just a side project for my wife and I,” Kuehn said. “I do have ideas for other games. I want to see how successful Looney Laundry is to see if it is worth it to make another game.