Diana Nelson, a single mother in Denver, found herself with no means to support her family after a divorce in 1998. Twelve years later, she has become of one of the most lucrative toy sellers in the nation.
She found herself a single mom with no incoming revenue to support a 10-month-old and a 2-year-old at home.
"I thought, oh my God, what am I going to do to raise these children and support my family?"
So she devised a plan to buy a business in her town. She approached the local toy store, where she was a frequent customer, and asked if she could buy them out.
Despairingly, they told her they were not for sale. Nelson responded saying that "the best things in life are not for sale," and asked if the current owners would be interested in thinking about her proposition.
After a little persistence, the owners contacted Nelson seven days later and they met for breakfast to discuss. Over a ten month time period, Nelson was able to negotiate a deal to buy the toy store.
Now she's CEO of Kazoo Toys, the oldest and largest specialty toy store in North America, located in Denver.
With the help of bank loans and $30,000 in savings she was able to acquire the business, which has turned into a very successful enterprise.
The secret to her success Nelson says is "a lot of hard work and believing in yourself, and having a phenomenal team." She has employees that have been with her for over 20 years, since she acquired the business.
After the first year, Nelson launched Kazootoys.com, two years later Kazoo launched on Amazon.com, and then two years after that Nelson’s business reached even farther.
Kazoo Toys was approached by a military website, AAFES.com, to sell her products on the site.
"People were buying from us on a global basis anyway, about 20 percent of our internet business is outside the boundaries of the U.S.," Nelson said.
But when the military called her saying that they would like to have Kazootoys.com on the military site as the specialty toy store of choice for soldiers around the world, Nelson says she was honored.