Brother, sister DeForest graduates find success in business -
by By Dan Colton firstname.lastname@example.org
For siblings Jennifer and Kane Carmody, it was an easy decision to start a business together – the DeForest graduates grew up working at their father’s software office.
Kane and Jennifer would help out at their dad’s IT business, Carmody Software, completing tasks like data entry and some management responsibilities as teenagers. After the two graduated from DeForest Area High School in the early 2000s – Jennifer in 2004 and Kane in 2006 – they remained in the information-technology field for some time.
Growing up, the siblings said they were close. They shared friends and spent much of their time together. Eventually, they learned how to work as an effective team. As adults, Jennifer even relocated to Janesville to be closer to her brother when Kane’s wife had their first child.
That close bond translates into their business operations.
“Kane and I have been working together in the family business since we’ve been old enough to work,” Jennifer said. “So we’re really good at communicating and hearing the other one’s opinion without getting too upset.”
Their business idea is a simple one – to protect yard posts from maintenance equipment like weed whackers and lawn mowers. Now their “Post Shield” product is mass-produced and was recently picked up by Ace Hardware, according to Kane and Jennifer. It’s a plastic guard that fits around the base of a post.
Kane and Jennifer said they recognized there was a market for the product after seeing damage at their houses and at their friends’ houses.
“Simply, it was us just looking around at other people’s mailboxes, our fencing, just seeing chipped up paint and wood or cracks, and holes in fence posts,” Kane said. “…(The Post Shield) looks good and you don’t have to worry about whoever is trimming the grass. The posts are going to look the same every time.”
The shields are currently being produced in Chicago, according to the Carmodys, and neither have looked back since the startup began in December 2016. They are often purchased for homeowners’ associations and golf courses.
“For me, it was a no-brainer,” Jennifer said. “Kane and I both liked the idea, thought the product would work.”
And after being picked up by a major retailer, the Carmodys can claim success. Kane said, “You can walk into any Ace Hardware in the U.S.” and find the Post Shield or request an order.
Kane continued, saying he and Jennifer owe a debt of gratitude to their father. Not only did he immerse them in the world of business ownership at a young age, the Post Shield was initially an idea their father came up with some 30 years ago.
“Being a business owner and an entrepreneur … I feel like it was something we were born with,” Kane said. “Our dad ran multiple businesses so I was able to watch him do things and how those things happened.”
Looking to the future, Jennifer said part of the Post Shield’s success will continue to be its intuitive design.
“The fact that we don’t really have to do a lot of explaining of our product (is a key to its success),” Jennifer said. “…(Buyers) can look at it and say, ‘I get it. I want it, I need it.’”
The Carmodys said they’re happy to have made the transition despite a heavier workload than in IT. The sibling team said the Post Shield is here to stay.
“We’re going to be around for a while,” Jennifer said.