When Life Hands You Play-Doh

By Jonathan Massey-


The story of Play-Doh is an absolutely fascinating story. If you are unfamiliar with it, I will fill you in on the major parts of the story briefly, but I highly encourage you to read through their entire history.


Let’s start in 1933—Cleo McVicker, head of a struggling soap company, Kutol, has a meeting with Kroger grocery store. At the time, coal was the most efficient way to heat one’s home, but the downside to this was that coal left a layer of soot everywhere. Kroger was needing a way to clean wallpaper without getting the wallpaper wet. In a bold move, Cleo took the order and he and his brother began working on a formula to create a wallpaper cleaner. Fortunately, the pair were able to deliver and brought Kutol back to life.


Fast forward 19 years to 1954, Kutol is once again on the brink of failing. By this time, oil and gas furnaces had become the predominate way to heat one’s home, which created a different kind of soot and didn’t need to be cleaned as often. Therefore, the demand for wallpaper cleaner wasn’t as high. This, along with the creation of vinyl wallpaper, which could be cleaned with just regular soap and water, made Kutol wallpaper cleaner obsolete.


Enter Kay Zufall, sister in-law of Joe McVicker, who is now the CEO of Kutol. Kay was running a nursery school at the time and noticed that her children loved to play with the Kutol wallpaper cleaner. She brought Joe in to witness them make all kinds of creations and to pitch to him the idea of rebranding. He was sold. Joe took the detergent out of the cleaner, colored it, and the rest was history. Play-Doh was born.

The story of Play-Doh teaches us some valuable life lessons. First one, if you do what you’ve always done, you will get what you’ve always gotten. Kutol was on the brink of failing as a business twice; each time they had to do something they had not previously done before. Had they not done something different, Play-Doh would not exist. Second, you are always just one small adjustment away from tremendous success. By simply removing the detergent and adding color, Joe McVicker created one of the most successful kid’s toys in history.


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Again and again athletes have joined us at the Texas Baseball Ranch® and discovered that small adjustment they needed to make big gains.  We’d love to help you find yours.  Below are several ways you can join us.


For Pitchers: We have 3 Elite Pitchers Bootcamp dates (Thanksgiving Break, Christmas Break & Martin Luther King Holiday.  Limited spots still available.  For more information go to: https://www.texasbaseballranch.com/elite-pitchers-bootcamp/


Alumni Camp: Pitchers that have participate in a previous Baseball Ranch event are eligible to attend our Alumni/Advanced Bootcamp.  We have one scheduled before the start of the 2020 season, January 11 & 12, 2020.  More information is available at https://www.texasbaseballranch.com/events/alumni-pitchers-bootcamp/

For Catchers: (Yes, you read that right!) We’re holding our inaugural Elite Catchers Boot Camp December 14 & 15 (for catchers ages 14 & up). We’ve had one spot open up for this event so if you’d like to reserve that spot, call the office: (936) 588-6762 or email: info@TexasBaseballRanch.com.  More information on this event and the amazing group of instructors can be found at: https://www.texasbaseballranch.com/catcher


For Coaches: Order the DVDs for our upcoming (December) Ultimate Pitching Coaches Bootcamp.  The event itself has sold out but you can still purchase the DVDs.  This event is known as the Gold Standard in the industry and this year’s lineup of speakers is incredible!  Check it out at www.coachesbootcamp.com  



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