The Elf Factory

A handmade holiday school program specializing in gifts that parents don’t have to pretend to like!

What's the big idea?

The Elf Factory brings an exciting new twist to the traditional school gift shop industry. Here, the kids hand make all of the gifts for their families! Students pre-order their gifts and then we supply all of the craft materials, training and forms that the PTA moms need to run a successful “Elf Factory” at their school. We have designed each gift to take 4 minutes or less so that students are able to easily navigate through The Elf Factory in 30 minutes or less making this year’s school holiday shop a dazzling success!

Describe the nearest player in your field.

Our closest competitor is Fun Services.  The products they provide now are the same ones that your parents over-paid for when you were in elementary school.  Their product line very closely resembles (if not replicates) “dollar store” items that you can purchase in retail stores for 1/3 of the cost.

How are you different from that player?

We are the only company in the school gift shop industry that provides a turn key program where children can make their gifts versus buying them. Another stark difference is that our company provides a free gift for all students to create and proudly share with their family.

How does this idea scale into a big business?

Holiday Gift shops in schools are a well-established hallmark of our society. This market is waiting to be dusted off and updated with a new program that is like no other. There are 67,000 schools in the US that are waiting for a vendor like The Elf Factory to replace their current holiday program.

Why are you the one to run with this idea?

I am the demographic that we are shooting for. I am a mom who is fed up with paying for and receiving over priced “dollar store”  type holiday gifts from school.  It can be done classier, cheaper, and most importantly, it can include ALL children regardless of their family’s financial situation.

What is a $5,000 experiment you can do to move your idea forward?

Our goal is to grow The Elf Factory and continue the movement of re-awakening parents to the idea that a holiday gift program can be both economically reasonable and enjoyable!  We want to enhance the website so that we can position ourselves to grow not only locally, but nationally.

There have been 37 replies to this page

  1. Seth Getz

    How many Schools have done this program with you?

  2. Emily Richardson Hughes

    CUte Crafts The Kids Can Make, So Much Better Than The Dollar Store StufF!

  3. Kerry Phillips Bos

    As a parent/volunteer for the pilot school for this program, I can tell you that the price, quality, and usefulness of the gifts is fantastic! The kids had a wonderful time making the crafts. This idea is brilliant, and the implementation of the program has been amazing! I wish every student in every school would have the opportunity to participate in this program during the holidays.

  4. Kirsten Morian Field


    The Elf Factory was executed in one school last December and we have five schools signed up for December 2013.

  5. Brian Field

    This is such an amazing way for ALL students to have a chance to be involved…regardless of their family’s financial situation

  6. June Kuiper

    What a brilliant idea. So much potential here and Kirsten clearly has a solid understanding of her market. Bravo!

  7. Juanice Peterson

    This is a great idea!  Children and parents alike will love this.

  8. Jim Cnossen

    This is a great idea!  As a grand parent I love the idea that my grandkids can create something they are proud of, and touch their families’ hearts!  Yeh, Kir!

  9. Kris Haglund

    Amazing idea! Love that the kids are more involved in the process.

  10. Janeen Haglund

    So creative, the kids can put their own special touch on everything that they make. So everything is unique and what parent doesn’t like something homemade. Love this idea

  11. Sarah Lema

    What a fabulous idea!!  As a teacher, I love the fact that The Elf Factory organizes and provides all the materials necessary for the students to create simple heartfelt crafts for their families without taking too much time away from instruction.  As a parent, I really appreciate that the gifts are thoughtful and much more practical.  I would love to not have to “pretend” to like the gifts and I know my students and kids would enjoy creating something and feel proud about what they are giving.

  12. Liesje Franken

    I am a teacher at the pilot school, and the Elf Factory was wonderful.  The gifts were very affordable, easy to make, and SO much better than the dollar store style program we had previously.  I commend our PTA for being willing to look beyond the “pre-packaged” Holiday Gift shop.  Just as a note…many kids made a kind of salt scrub.  The smell was heavenly!

  13. Shana De Avila VerHelst

    As a parent and a teacher, I think this is GENIUS! It is by far more thoughtful and useful than the inexpensive junk that most schools sell. I think this is fantastic and I truly hope it comes to my school, too!

  14. Sarah Field- Draper

    I wish this had been an option- actually “the option” for my kids during the holiday season.  Instead we as parents always chose to ” waste” $30+ on gifts our family would not use - but loved the fact their beautiful children, grandchildren, etc picked it for them.
    Then we proceeded to the ” real store” to purchase gifts yet again.  Nice to have amazing gifts- made by kids, that we will enjoy!
    Great job Kirsten !

  15. Arlene Morian

    Most great ideas are simplistic in design, functional and are able to be cloned over and over again. The Elf Factory builds upon these basic principles. It provides an enriching experience for the students, school administration and most of all - a delightful gift for parents and grandparents.

  16. Holly Olthof Boehle

    Such an awesome business idea! We are all saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?!” Way to go, Kirsten!

  17. Julie Beals-Marroquin

    Kristen presented this idea to our school last winter, and we couldn’t get on board fast enough!!!!  We knew right away after seeing the products that parents/grandparents would appreciate them, and our student would LOVE making them.  We are a Title 1 school, so the fact that the gifts are affordable, and that no matter what, everyone gets at least one gift was HUGE!  Kristen was so organized and professional with her presentation…we can’t WAIT to debut this fun program at our school!!!

  18. Colleen Doyle McCabe

    Incredible idea!  Kirsten is the perfect person to run this company and it will surely be a success.

  19. Bob Richardson

    Great idea! Quick and fun projects that get the kids involved instead of just buying trash and trinkets for gifts.

  20. Kelly Koster

    I am so in love with this idea!  I know my daughter would be so proud to give the gifts she made herself to the people she loves…and I know I would genuinely love to receive them.  I wish I had come up with it!  Genius!

  21. Colleen Doyle McCabe

    Are you able to go out of state?  I’d love to present this as an option over the secret santa workshop that they held last year at our school.

  22. Courtney Kageff Borden

    I would love this program to come to the Avondale school district. What an amazing idea. I will contact you to see if this is possible.

  23. Arleen Morian Drettmann

    As a grandma, I can honestly say this is one of the best ideas I have ever seen. I would LOVE my grandson to have this opportunity to make thoughtful gifts for his parents and grandparents.  Can you bring this program to Florida?

  24. Kirsten Morian Field


    Colleen McCabe, we are trying to position ourselves to go nationally. Our hope is to update the website so that the program can be accessed and executed nationally.

  25. Wendy Ruth Bloemers

    As a parent and volunteer at the pilot school, I have to say it is by FAR the best holiday gift program ever!  The gift options are so well thought out, affordable, and well planned.  Kirsten made this experience fantastic not only for the students and teachers at our school, but for the parent volunteers as well!  We all felt like we were a part of something really special and memorable for our students!  HOORAY to Kirsten for getting us out of the “dollar store trinket rut”!

  26. Susan Black Timmer

    The Elf Factory is truly special, because it is committed to serving children who lack the resources to shop at the “traditional” school holiday store.  Kirsten’s business model guarantees that EVERY student will be able to complete a handmade gift.  No child is left out!  Way to go Kirsten.

  27. Jillian Black

    What a great idea!!! love it!

  28. Susan Luse Thornton

    As a retired teacher, I wish my students had a program like this instead of the awfully cheep stuff in a regular Santa’s secret shop.  Homemade gifts are so special.

  29. Stacey Brasfield Collins

    I would love to see this program in Riverview, MI

  30. Kirsten Morian Field


    Stacey, we’d love to come to Riverview. Check us out at!

  31. Marion Hamill-Draper

    What a great idea..

  32. Nancy Nicholas

    A wonderful idea. Offers experience in creativity for the children and provides a gift their parents will enjoy made by their own hands.

  33. Jennifer Echter Reier

    What a great idea!  Homemade gifts are priceless and made to be treasured over the years.  Kids can be proud of what they give.  I like that all children will be able to participate regardless of their finances.

  34. Trisha Powell Simpson

    Great quality craft ideas in which all children can participate!  Kirsten has come up with a winner!

  35. Amy Croel Perrien

    I am a teacher from the program’s pilot school.  I am also a mom.  I never allowed my children to shop at the dollar store quality (and that’s stretching it) holiday gift shop in year’s past.  This idea, The Elf Factory, is wonderful!  My students had a lot of fun and their gifts were adorable!  Several parents told me later they loved the gifts their children made and would definitely support them shopping and creating again!  I have told my own daughter’s elementary school about this idea (Pinewood Elementary in Jenison, Kristen) and love the idea of QUALITY gifts children are able to create on their own!  Well done, Kristen!

  36. Bob Richardson

    The Elf Factory gets the kids involved by making the gifts/crafts. It doesn’t take a lot of time, so it’s not a problem for schools to allocate time to this. And parents and siblings receive gifts they actually like! What an awesome idea that deserves support!

  37. Laura Steenwyk

    So…..  How do we get you to come to OUR school?  Knapp Forest Elementary in Grand Rapids.

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This idea was funded by public endorsement on August 29, 2013. Since then...

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