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Founder/CEO David Hollaway and his business partner, Anthony Green.
Quackenworth's first book series, "Quigley McCormick".
One of Quackenworth's books, "Ray Jay and the Grumpy Tree of East Side Park".
It all started with an idea to make a few extra bucks; a book with an imaginative feel for children that would set the trend for the business. Quackenworth was founded by David Hollaway in 2005 after working previous jobs in unrelated fields. He says he came up with “Quackenworth” from a collaboration of two names. The first name is Quackenbush, which Hollaway liked because of its quirkiness and “Slugworth,” one of the main characters in the movie Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. The business attended the LA Times Book Fair in 2005, which is the largest 2-day book fair in the country that gathers around 125,000 people. Hollaway and his business partner, Anthony Green brought their first book, “Quigley McCormick Series” to the fair.
“It was kind of like, this is the Big Leagues. If we do well here, then we should be able to do well anywhere,” said Hollaway.
Quackenworth ended up selling over 80 books at the fair and ultimately, started the beginning of a journey of growth for the business. Quackenworth sells over one hundred children’s products ranging from children’s books, educational games, curriculums, audio books and even Andrioid/iOS apps. Since being founded in 2005, the company has sold apps to people all over the world including countries like Australia, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Russia, India, Thailand, New Zealand and China. They have sold books to people in Singapore and also sell products to schools all over the United States, with major focus on Texas, Nevada, Louisiana and California.
Hollaway grew up in Carson, California and attended Crenshaw High School. He then got his Undergrad education at UC Irvine and his Masters in Computer Based Education at Cal State Dominguez. He was a teacher for seven years and realized that he wanted to do more within education, which led to creating educational materials within his business. Those educational materials have been linked to lots of local school districts like LA Unified, Inglewood, Compton and Clark County School District of Nevada.
The business is focusing on integrating the rest of their books and products to the digital world to become apps, so most of their time has been dedicated in doing so. Therefore, Hollaway hasn’t published any new books recently, but typically, a book that he publishes and illustrates himself takes a month to four months to complete.
Hollaway says the process of creating such imaginative children’s books comes from knowing how to give children strength.
“I think that adults seem to forget what it feels like to be a kid. As a kid, some of the things that you think about are that your parents are the all-knowing beings and there’s a sense of dependency on those people, so as a kid you don’t really have power. You think of things that will empower kids,” he said.
Using that ideal, Hollaway captures imaginative and adventurous scenes with characters that show independence and responsibility. The books also contain educational value ranging from science, math, language arts to English lessons. He also says his own experiences have given him inspiration.
“A lot of my childhood inspired me. In my Quigley McCormick series, I actually took a lot of our experiences. Even some of the characters and their personalities, I put them into the characters of the book. There’s a dog named Big Red who used to chase us when we were kids after school, so I put Big Red in the story. Big Red was this lazy, flea-infested dog and he became larger than life just because of the name and all the kids that were chased by him,” he said
As Quackenworth grows, it continues to be in attendance of several well-known book fairs and plans to expand its digital merchandise. They have been apart of Festival of the Books, Taste of Soul, Leimert Park Book Fair, Harlem Book Fair, and educational conferences. Their goal is to have 17 apps by the end of 2013. In the near future, they would also like to expand to television.
Quackenworth has a kiosk in the Westfield Mall (formerly Fox Hills Mall) in Culver City and is the only store in that mall selling educational items. It’s located on the first floor next to Jamba Juice and Kid’s Foot Locker. As Christmas nears, a Quackenworth book would make a great present for a child. Their next event will be held on December 18th at the Westfield Mall where they will be reading their stories to children.
Check out their apps by going to: http://www.quackenworth.com/apps/.