HOW THE YOUNG FAMILY BROUGHT THEIR LATE FATHER'S KITCHEN INVENTION TO LIFE - WILLIAMS SONOMA PARTNERSHIP
From Facebook to Shark Tank
When Kaley Young, 25, received a Facebook message from a TV producer for the show Shark Tank she knew instantly what it was about - her late father's kitchen invention, the Cup Board Pro, a cutting board design with a detachable silicone "cup" the he patented before he died. She quickly shared the message - an invitation to appear on the show and pitch her father's invention to the "shark" investors - with her siblings, Christian, 21, and Keira, 15. "While we were excited about it, we weren't sure if we could do it," Christian says.
The Young's father, Keith Young, was a New York City firefighter, cookbook author, hobby inventor and passionate home cook known for making the best guacamole around. After his wife and high school sweetheart died of breast cancer, he raised their three children on his own. But, just three months before Kaley received the Facebook message, he had passed away in from a cancer related to cleanup work at Ground Zero.
"We weren't sure we'd have the strength to appear on TV to honor our dad, but then we remembered that after our mom died, our dad went and competed on [the TV show] Chopped because he knew it's what our mom would have wanted." - Kaley Young
The invitation to go on Shark Tank seemed like a sign to the Young children. The kids also felt strongly that pitching to the Sharks their dad's invetion - the Cup Board Pro - gave them a chance to celebrate the legacy of their dad, an exuberant family man who said to each of them every single day, "I love you, kid."
Known for making messes in the kitchen, Keith had designed the Cup Board Pro with a removable silicone cup, to help trap scraps and liquids that otherwise would wind up on the kitchen floor. During their nerve-wracking Shark Tank pitch, all five sharks committed to pitching in $20,000 of their own money to help make their dad's dream a reality.
About the Young Family
When you meet the Young kids it's hard not to be struck by how well their late parents raised them. Christian Young, a college junior at SUNY New Paltz studying Communications, connects easily with people, despite his own self-admitted discomfort being in front of cameras. His tight-knight bond with his two sisters is palpable, who he leases and admires with equal measure.
At just 24, after her dad's passing, Kaley legally adopted her kid sister, Keira, who is ten years her junior. She drives her to and from cheerleading practice, making sure she eats healthy meals. (Fruit smoothies with nut butters are their favorites.) And of course, they still make their dad's famous spicy guacamole during family get-togethers.
Kaley takes her duty as a legal guardian to her younger sister as seriously as she does being the matriarch of the family. At 19, she left the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City when her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer to help her dad care for her. She later returned to college, recently graduating with a B.A. in Interior Design. Now, she runs a household and multiple businesses, including her mom's successful pilates studio which she took over when she was just 19.
Keira, the youngest, is a high school sophomore where she competes on her school's cheerleading squad in Nassau County Long Island. The ham of the Young family, her older siblings joke that she could be an actress, which she shrugs off with a natural confidence.
Bringing the Cup Board Pro to Williams Sonoma
After unexpectedly winning big on Shark Tank, the Young kids were introduced to Williams Sonoma - one of their mom's favorite places to shop. They worked closely with Williams Sonoma to improve their dad's original cutting board design by making it microbial, designing an even more durable cutting surface, and ensuring that the entire product is made in the USA.
"The Sharks introduced us to Williams Sonoma and, together, we made the board even better," Keira says.
"Working with the Young family was so inspiring," says Michelle Foss, Senior Vice President of Merchandising at Williams Sonoma. "After everything they have been through they are so incredibly strong and had such a vision. I know their dad would be so proud of the product they created with his vision in mind, and the good people they have become," she says.
The Cup Board Pro is now available for purchase through Williams Sonoma.
Learn more about the Young's inspiring story and head to Williams Sonoma to get the Cup Board Pro.
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Photos courtesy of Williams Sonoma