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You Are Here: Main Section - Info Files - About Us
About Us

This page was last updated on January 15, 2012.

From the Head Husky: I started juggling in September of 1986. In 1989 I was diagnosed with 2 degenerative retinal disorders that have been steadily decreasing my eyesight. On December 1st, 1998 I was certified as legally blind and while my sight has been stable for short periods, it has continued to decline. I expect that someday I will not be able to see at all. Since juggling has brought so much joy and so many wonderful friends into my life, this situation really bummed me out and I was facing the possibility of having to leave all that fun behind.

Silly me.

It's not often we can point to a moment in time when life changes, but in the fall of 1999 that's what happened. I was at the Lopez Island Jugglefest and playing around with some home-made glow stick poi someone had brought. They were fun, and my interest in club swinging paid off as I found them easy to get the hang of. While I was happily spinning away, the thought occurred to me that since I wasn't letting go of the props I shouldn't need to see them. So never being one to turn away from an idea, I shut my eyes and to my mild surprise, everything kept flying right where it was supposed to. In that moment I realized that my juggling days weren't over, they were just in for a change. Since then I have been searching for manipulation arts that don't require throwing and catching, and to my surprise and delight there are a lot of them! The more I look, the more I find.

So there I was, armed with an idea and no direction. In early 2000 I made up some chain poi and took them to the first-ever Damento juggling festival where some people showed interest and placed orders for some fire poi. At this festival I was also introduced to the idea of nunchaku as a "don't let go of it" prop, and came home full of excitement and ideas. In early summer of 2000 I quit my day job and started Neon Husky with my idea and $88 a week in unemployment checks. The first version of the website went online in the fall of 2000 and after 4 re-designs has settled down into something that seems to work very well. The business has expanded rapidly and all startup debt was paid off almost 18 months ahead of my original projections. We are consistently breaking our own monthly and festival sales records and orders & inquiries come in from all over the world. In 2006, we marked a very special event--shipping goods to every continent on Earth, including Antarctica. When people on the moon need cool props, we'll be there too :)

In late 2006, Husky HQ (then a 1-car garage) was bursting at the seams and we could not expand because there was no room for new products. After a total of 10 minutes of searching, I found a space almost 5 times bigger that was only 2 blocks away. I'm not a big believer in luck but I definitely had some that day--thank you Craigslist! Husky HQ officially moved in April of 2007. During the first year in the new space, our inventory just about doubled. After such a long period of thinking small, I was like a kid in a candy store, buying all sorts of new props to put in the catalog.

After experimenting with some new things, it became clear that Neon Husky's audience knew what they wanted and that some things outside the norm weren't generating much interest, even though they were items I really like to work with. In an effort to expand the scope of what I sold, I opened a second website called Sphere Planet on July 1, 2008. It featured some of the same things Neon Husky sells, but also many other unique gifts and some seriously cool stuff. After a few months, I realized that it didn't really make sense to take away from Neon Husky's existing web presence and Sphere Planet was assimilated back into Neon Husky. Some of the items are still available, but many have been allowed to sell out in favor of keeping a tighter focus on the manipulation arts.

In late 2008, lease problems forced me to move to another warehouse, which turned out to be a larger space only slightly farther away. Neon Husky moved to this space in late February of 2009 and shortly after that, the economic avalanche arrived and the new warehouse was simply too expensive to keep up with the slackening economy. So after only 2 months, we moved to yet another place, bringing the business and home back together in May of 2009 and we're still here. Things are working well here and thanks to the Fushigi fad of 2010-11, all of the crazy moving expenses were caught up and things are now mostly stable in spite of a still-sluggish world economy. Neon Husky continues to grow and evolve, always with the goal of serving the needs of the manipulation arts community.

If anyone has any feedback, comments, or ideas for new products, please don't hesitate to contact me.

     -- Jim Dorman, Head Husky

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