Last Halloween, a brilliant DIY costume idea changed Royce Hutain's life. The Fullerton native, former Huntington Beach resident, and current Costa Mesa inhabitant built a now famous LED stick figure suit for his 22-month-old daughter, Zoey, shot a short video of her testing it out, uploaded it to YouTube, and the rest is history. The 22-second preview went viral within two days, and in less than a year of its October 22 release, has garnered over 22 million views. Hutain and Zoey, who will be 3 in December, even starred on a "Good Morning America" segment last October. In case you missed the original:
Over the past year, the costume has launched into a small business aptly named "Glowy Zoey." With a manufacturer and fulfillment warehouse onboard, approximately 2,000 of his famous LED stick figure suits are available for toddlers, children, and adults this Halloween. They're for sale now at GlowyZoey.com and priced between $49.99 and $69.99. Main & PCH readers can score $10 off any kids costumes (youth small to youth large) by using coupon code "MAINPCH".
Always an entertaining interviewee, Hutain found a few minutes to chat with us in the midst of his full-time IT job, family time, and managing the influx of Glowy Zoey orders.
Main & PCH: How has your life changed over the past year?
Royce Hutain: I've been a lot busier, that's for sure! Working my normal job plus trying to start a new business is an exhausting process. It has been exciting as well and I am looking forward to the future.
Do you consider yourself and/or Zoey local celebrities now?
I don't think Zoey is a celebrity until she has her costume on at night. We have been doing photos for the website recently so she has had her costume on. It's amazing how many people ask if she is the girl from YouTube. The younger people have seen her on YouTube and Vine, the older on the news or "Good Morning America."
Who's the team behind Glowy Zoey?
The team behind Glowy Zoey is just me and my cousin Dave. He has an office in China, which has allowed me to more easily find manufacturers and parts. The employees in his office speak enough English that we can tell them what we need and they can go out and find it.
What's Zoey's title/role?
Zoey is the CEO (Cutest Executive Officer). She is what keeps me going when things get stressful. There is nothing better than coming home from a long day at work, seeing her smiling face and having her tell me all about her day!
What are Zoey's thoughts on the new family business?
I asked her what her thoughts on the new family business are, and she replied, "I want chocolate milk."
What is Zoey going to be for Halloween this year?
Zoey is going to be Sleeping Beauty for Halloween, but I also have a pretty funny costume that I've made for her that I'll put on YouTube. Stay tuned!
Future business plans include suits featuring new LED colors, RGB color-changing suits, LED dog collars and leashes, and a new LED suit design that will strap to the body and allow for more rigorous movement. Says Hutain of the new suits, "This way, people can use them for electric runs, festivals, sporting events, etc., while staying cool and not having to change their outfits." He adds, "These suits will have features that sync with music or respond to your pulse."
The possibilities seem endless, and we can't wait to catch up with Hutain again next year to find out how much bigger his quirky costume idea has become.