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‘It has definitely been a banner year’: The Elf on the Shelf creator on business this year

Christa Pitts, The Lumistella Company Co-CEO, joined Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the company's product The Elf on The Shelf and what's next for the beloved Holiday staple.

Video Transcript

JULIA LA ROCHE: Welcome back to "Yahoo Finance Live." And I want to bring in Lumistella's Co-CEO Christa Pitts. This is the company that is behind the Elf on the Shelf. Can you believe it? It's been 15 years since the Elf on the Shelf made its debut. And Christa, it's great to have you on.

CHRISTA PITTS: Thank you. Nice to be here.

JULIA LA ROCHE: So the last time we spoke, I think it was back in October, and we were just kind of talking about the state of the business and some of the trends that you were seeing. I feel like I am seeing the Elf on the Shelf everywhere when I get on social media. So how has it been for you all since we last spoke?

CHRISTA PITTS: It's been incredible. I mean, this season we really, like many entrepreneurial companies, didn't know what to expect. You know, there was so much uncertainty. You know, where would the country be? Where would the globe be? What would be the current environment?

And for us with a family-friendly brand that exists within people's homes and becomes their own, it has definitely been a banner year. We've been enjoying seeing these families feel a little bit of normalcy, feeling a little bit of tradition, enjoying a bit of the holiday spirit. The celebrities have also been included in that.

But it's been a banner year, and we're so very grateful. And it's been a really interesting time but a good one where we can bring a little bit of hope at Christmas time.

ADAM SHAPIRO: A little bit of hope and a little bit of opportunity because the Elf on the Shelf and Netflix are partnering. What's that going to look like going forward?

CHRISTA PITTS: You know, we've got a couple of different things happening with Netflix. So certainly we've got our current original animated content that has a home on Netflix, and that's going to be for the Elf Pets, Arctic Fox special as well as our brand-new title, which is the "Reindeer Rescue."

But then we also have worked through them to start original content, and we're very excited. So that's going to include preschool programming, full-length major motion pictures, as well as potentially some live-action series. So it's going to be a big year, lots of content to come, and we're very excited about the partnership.

JULIA LA ROCHE: You know, Christa, let's kind of double click on that, if you will, the content and some of the things you were just alluding to, even things for pre-K. And I suppose as we enter 2021, things are still kind of status quo as it relates to the pandemic, though there is light at the tunnel-- end of the tunnel. What kind of opportunities, though, are you seeing as more families are staying home-- more content, presumably. I can tell you anecdotally, I'm consuming. I know my four-year-old nephew is probably spending a lot of time on screens. How do you kind of think about the content strategy and the right kind of content?

CHRISTA PITTS: Well, you know, the Lumistella Company rebrand, the name even came out because we knew we needed something that people could recognize and they could trust. So it's not just the Elf on the Shelf, which is our hero brand as we like to call it, but the Elf Pets have taken on a life of their own, as well as our Elf Mates brands. And so all of the extensions that come off of those have been amazing.

But then we get to add to it in the world of content. So going back to your question about Netflix, we're able to work with them on various forms of content, which, as you know, it spreads the globe. We have huge views on our YouTube channel. The subscribers have doubled this year. We've got incredible movement in even what we look at as our music videos, millions of views. In fact, just this season we launched one that has over 6 million views in about eight weeks.

So our content people and children and families are hungry for. I think they're excited about it.

But we also have an entire world that is focused on experiences. We launched the Elf on the Shelf magical journey in Los Angeles this year. It's been a huge success. And actually that title-- or that experience, I should say, is going to be moving into other cities next year and beyond.

So we're going far beyond the consumer product that people know us for into that content, into experiences, into more entertainment, and it's just creating different ways for families to interact with our brands.

ADAM SHAPIRO: On a very serious note, last time we spoke with Lumistella, it was about the credit-insurance issue, and I would hope that that is now in the rear-view mirror. With content, you don't have to worry so much about it. But Congress never addressed that, and not only your company but lots of companies face that issue still, right?

CHRISTA PITTS: Absolutely. In my opinion, it's still a huge, outstanding problem in the industry. When you look at the fact that small businesses grow into being able to work with large retail by trusting the trade-credit-insurance industry, if things were to not continue moving in a positive direction, there would be a lot of trouble for small businesses in particular, even with the new rollout of the package that we heard about over the past couple days and now headed to the president's desk. There's still a huge risk for small businesses if some of these retailers that are small to midsized and even the larger ones find themselves locked down again and in trouble. There's really no backstop.

JULIA LA ROCHE: Well, Christa Pitts, co-CEO of Lumistella, thank you so much, and have a great holiday season.

CHRISTA PITTS: Thanks. You as well. Happy New Year.