March 8 marks the 107th International Women’s Day, celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. As the National Women’s Business Council says, “We run successful businesses and households, give back to our communities, advocate for causes we care most about and nurture other life passions.”

Take a moment to reflect on the grandmothers, mothers, daughters, wives, aunts and sisters who are your neighbors, mentors, bosses, employees, investors, first responders, teachers, partners and friends.
How our world would be different without them!

By Steven Blum

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jan Kingaard and Amber Hughes.

Mother-daughter entrepreneurs Jan and Amber have expanded their 16 -year-old business from cars to causes.

The core mission of their Costa Mesa studio is to help individuals, businesses, organizations and institutions honor, recognize and commemorate the people and occasions that are important to them.

With their small team of family members and experienced bow builders, the teams make huge bows for cars, Gold Star and Breast Cancer Loops, ribbon cutting and building bows, and just about anything you can imagine.

They love the business which gets them to step outside the day-today activity most people are so busy with and pause to enjoy a moment and make it memorable. There are many reasons to celebrate and if you can’t think of one, King Size Bows can.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?

It took many months for the new owners to learn the tricks of the trade, resources, processes, market and customers. Jan did all the talking the first year while Amber focused on new styles and possibilities. Division of duties came naturally, playing to each woman’s strengths and experience. The growth of the boutique business depends on their growing skills with tools, software, materials, techniques, vendors, equipment, online selling, shipping and handling. So many details that the hours speed by.

So, let’s switch gears a bit and go into the King Size Bows story. Tell us more about the business.

You’ve no-doubt seen their work in the Lexus “December to Remember” commercial; atop a pony on a cruise ship for the California Lotto; throughout the Dolby Theater for America’s Got Talent Holiday Special; on buildings and lampposts throughout the US and Canada, as well as homes, retail stores and auto dealerships. Their unique boutique also ships internationally.

Their line includes “In-Stock” and “Custom” bows. In-stock bows are kept in inventory for shipping immediately; custom bows require time to create. Their classic red Signature Bow was created by the studio’s original owner in 2001, and is now available in red, royal blue, navy blue, silver, white, pink, black and gold. For $50 plus shipping, any vehicle, appliance, home or large gift will provoke delight in the recipient. There’s something about a big bow that shows deep appreciation and thought in gift-giving. The photogenic art pieces are must-have selfie shots to share on social media sites. Bows under 30 inches are made of die cut high quality paper or plastic.

Custom fabric bows are anywhere from 3 feet to 20 feet, depending on the style. For 16 years, King Size Bows has lived up to its name—fit for royalty and huge. Only a handful of businesses sell bows in the US, and most of those are imported and styles are limited. Very few make bows larger than 3 feet, and KSB’s quality and variety are difficult to match. More than half their orders are made to customer specifications. They sometimes make matching wrap to make an exhibit, building or car look like a present.

Their imagination seems limitless. They have made bows for costumes, a stripper, real estate developers, fire trucks, boat, helicopters, motorcycles, washing machines, billboards, state capitols, birth announcements and wedding proposals.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?

I guess you could say both bad and good luck have played a role in this business. Mother Jan’s business experience spans decades as a startup business and marketing consultant. King Size Bows was one of her clients. The founder of KSB was a serial entrepreneur and when she was ready for her next venture, Jan bought the bow business. Daughter Amber’s career with the Sheriff’s Department as a 911 Operator ended abruptly after a near-fatal car accident left her speechless. She has always been creative, making her prom dresses in high school, and had spent several years in retail and medical industries. Fortunately, she has recovered her voice with surgery and voice therapy, and is the driving force for the business expansion.


  • In-Stock Bows (designed by KSB and Made In America, and kept on hand) start at $19.99
  • Awareness Loops for causes, the military and health concerns start at $19.99 and up depending on size
  • PVC bows from 12 to inches range from $19.99 to $49.99, depending on size
  • 2 Foot One-of-a-Kind Seasonal door decorations & centerpieces start at $125

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Unwrapping the secrets of the holiday gift that keeps on growing in size and popularity

By Rick Press, Dec 13, 2017

Article Quick Takes:

  • Lexus puts a bow on holiday car sales
  • A mother’s wish becomes a King-Size business
  • We’re gonna need a bigger bow for planes, tanks

Santa’s got his sleigh. Rudolph his red nose. And Lexus its giant car bows.

Every year, these hallmarks of the holiday season float into our lives, wrapped in red velvet and good cheer, and we herald their arrival with songs, stop-action TV specials and elaborate ad campaigns.

But if the stories of Santa and Rudolph are stitched into our stockings – and the fabric of the holiday season — the genesis of the giant car bow is a bit more elusive. So we enlisted a few automotive elves to help us unfurl 10 little-known facts about giant car bows.

  1. Lexus’ unforgettable ad campaign: In 1998, the luxury carmaker debuted the big bows as part of its “December to Remember” commercials, and no matter how implausible it seemed to get a $35,000 Lexus as a gift, the pure whimsy of loopy red bows plopped on top of car roofs captivated viewers. December has since become the best sales month for Lexus–in 2016, the luxury carmaker sold 41,182 vehicles, 10,000 more than its second highest month (August). The ads are also credited with helping transform December from one of the slowest times of year for auto sales to one of the most vibrant, replete with holiday closeout sales and Black Friday specials.
  2. Big bows for showrooms and beyond: Lexus provides a few bows to each showroom, but to the surprise of some buyers they’re not included with the purchase of the car.  (Handmade fabric bows can cost $600; high gloss paper or PVC bows start around $40.) Some Lexus dealers let buyers borrow the bows for the big reveal, and include that in negotiations. But as the popularity of car bows blossomed, dealerships beyond Lexus began using them in their holiday showrooms, and car buyers who wanted to keep the bows created even more demand.
  3. The queen of King Size Bows: In 2000, Lynda King decided she wanted to surprise her daughter with her dream car, a VW Beetle, with a giant bow on top. But she couldn’t find a bow big enough, so she made one herself. After seeing her daughter’s reaction, it sparked a business idea. King Size Bows was born in her home in Costa Mesa, Calif. Dealers bought most of the bows at first, but in 2003, Lexus came calling and after appearing in the December to Remember campaign, King’s bow business boomed.
  4. You get a bow, and you get a bow!: In 2004, Oprah Winfrey famously made 276 of her audience members’ “wildest dreams” come true, when she gave each of them a Pontiac G6 with a King Size Bow on top. Since then, giant bows have made nearly as many TV appearances as Oprah, popping up on daytimers like Ellen and Steve Harvey, game shows such as America’s Got Talent, The Price is Right, and Let’s Make a Deal, and prime-time hits like Modern Family, Empire, Bones and many more. Watch for a King Size Bow on an upcoming holiday episode of The Mayor. The big bows even earned a spoof on a Saturday Night Live. In a mock ad, Seth Meyers gets a brand new SUV from his wife (Amy Poehler), but he turns his nose up at it because there’s no oversized bow on top.
  5. Rudolph the big bow maker: If Lynda King assumed the throne as the west coast queen of big bows, Michael Rudolph might well be the east coast godfather. His Car Bow Store sells nearly 25,000 bows per year, and is the leading manufacturer in the U.S. “It’s frantic right now,” Rudolph said from his Warminster, Pa., facility in late November. “About 75 to 80 percent of our business is this time of year. It’s mostly car dealerships that want them, and they wait till the last minute,” he said. “The Lexus commercials come out and everybody wants a bow.” Car Bow Store is a division of MBR Marketing, which sells supply items to the automotive industry, and its bows range from a 22-incher for $30.95 to a 36-inch velvet bow for $99.95. The company doesn’t supply Lexus with bows, but Rudolph said his team’s handiwork has been seen on Good Morning America, Nickelodeon, and at Hyundai and Kia dealerships throughout the U.S. and Canada. They also sell a lot of bows to individuals. “We sell them every day of the year,” he said. “Graduation. Birthdays. You name it.”
  6. Planes, trains, automobiles and tanks: Giving someone a new car with a big bow on top seems like the grandest of gestures – until you hear about some of King Size’s other bow-nanzas. The company, which was bought by Jan Kingaard and her daughter, Amber Hughes, in 2015, has made bows for planes, trains, buildings, billboards, even a tank. The company recently completed a 22-foot bow for a new building, and Hughes said it took a week and a half to make and cost $3,000. King Size regularly builds enormous bows for charitable causes and military homecomings, Hughes said, and they’ve even gotten requests for bows to wrap people. “It’s fun,” she said. “Everybody we work with is celebrating something. There’s never a bad day in the bow business.”
  7. Big bows = silver lining: Ironically, Hughes got into the joy biz after a near-fatal car accident left her with severe facial injuries and no voice. She had to quit her job as a 911 dispatcher – “my voice was my livelihood” – and her mother, hoping to lift her spirits, suggested they buy King Size Bows from her friend, Lynda King. “My mom knew I had to find a new career path,” says Hughes, who recovered her voice after extensive speech therapy. “I’m very grateful,” said Hughes. “I definitely had angels on my side.”
  8. Magnets and suction cups, oh my: How do you get a giant bow to stay in place? In the beginning, most manufacturers used magnets but the trend in recent years has been suction cups as auto manufacturers have shifted toward aluminum hoods and body panels, said Car Bow Store’s Rudolph. “The suction cup is the ideal choice for securing a car bow since it is effective with steel, aluminum and fiberglass hoods and is softer and more scratch-resistant than a magnetic base.”
  9. Big bows, the DIY edition: Google “big car bows on Pinterest” and you’ll get nearly 18 million results. So while Car Bow Store and King Size Bows are the big kahunas in the market, plenty of people are taking to social media and YouTube to share their DIY secrets. If that’s a bit too ambitious for you, big bows are also available at Party City, Amazon and Michael’s for $10-$60.
  10. Still dancing in December: Lexus began running its 2017 December to Remember ads in early November. All three TV spots feature a euphoric child dancing around a Lexus, King Size Bow perched on top. Then a key fob beeps, and we see it’s actually an adult letting out their “inner child” (can you blame them?), and we’re reminded of where this whole bow explosion started. Whether you call it crass commercialism, marketing genius, or childlike fantasy come to life, Lexus launched a bona fide holiday tradition with its big bow ads. And, yes, Virginia, people do give cars as gifts, according to Rudolph, who adds: “We frequently hear from our customers that the recipients are more excited about the bow than the car itself!”

And, that’s a wrap.


Ever think about who has to make those giant bows you see in commercials and in new car showrooms? They’re the specialty of a company in California. They supply the trademark bows you see in Lexus commercials, but they’ve produced the festive knots for a dozen other manufacturers, too.

Holiday sales are a vital part of the profitability of automobile manufacturers. The most visible push automakers put on occurs from roughly the Thanksgiving holiday through Presidents Day in February. Almost every automaker’s and dealership’s marketing plan falls back heavily on one image: Their newest models with a huge red holiday bow on top. As it turns out, those holiday bows have an interesting backstory.

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Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Over 145 Americans-family, friends, neighbors and colleagues, are diagnosed every day. The disease kills more people than breast cancer in the United States. We must rewrite the future of pancreatic cancer. Take action now to bring hope to the pancreatic cancer community by donating, raising funds or spreading awareness that of the major cancers, pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate.
Support such groups as the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network who work for improving survival from pancreatic cancer by 2020.
Together, we can bring greater focus on the disease across the country, and rewrite the future of pancreatic cancer through:
  • More public awareness and visibility
  • Accelerated research
  • Increased funding for patient services for people battling pancreatic cancer
  • Clinical trials that match patient needs
  • Higher clinical trial enrollment rate
  • Doctors delivering best practices
  • Better detection tools and treatment options for patients
  • Year-round government advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill to ensure federal research funding as a national priority
Display purple this month and Wage Hope today in the fight against pancreatic cancer.

May hosts more celebrations, parades, and community gatherings to honor our military than any other month. It recognizes those on active duty in all branches of the services, the National Guard and Reserves plus retirees, veterans and their families–well over 90 million Americans.

Congress has designated May as National Military Appreciation Month to provide an encompassing look at the diversity of our armed services achievements and individuals. These celebrations motivate public patriotism, awareness of the historical impact of our military and support our troops, veterans and their families.

May 1, 2017 – Loyalty Day – A day set aside for American citizens to reaffirm their loyalty to the United States and to recognize the heritage of American freedom.

May 1, 2017 – Silver Star Service Banner Day – A day set aside to honor our wounded, ill and dying military personnel by participating in flying a Silver Star Banner.

May 4, 2017 – National Day of Prayer – The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation.

May 8, 2017 – VE (Victory in Europe) Day(Celebrated May 7 in commonwealth countries) – A day which marks the anniversary of the Allies’ victory in Europe during World War II on May 8, 1945.

May 12, 2017 – Military Spouse Appreciation Day – A day set aside to acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices of the spouses of the U.S. Armed Forces.

May 13, 2017 – Children of Fallen Patriots Day – A day to honor the families our Fallen Heroes have left behind – especially their children. It’s a reminder to the community that we have an obligation to support the families of our Fallen Patriots.

May 20, 2017 – Armed Forces Day – A day set aside to pay tribute to men and women who serve in the United States’ Armed Forces.

May 29, 2017 – Memorial Day (Decoration Day) – A day set aside to commemorate all who have died in military service for the United States. Typically recognized by parades, visiting memorials and cemeteries.

10 Ways You Can Show Support for Those Who Defend Our Freedom:

  1. Display your support at home, work, or town: American flag; blue, silver or gold star ribbon; yellow ribbon; or red, white and blue patriot bow
  2. Share a meal with a veteran or military family
  3. Give the spouse a break by caring for kids, parents or wounded warrior
  4. Hire a veteran or military spouse
  5. Share your expertise and mentor a military spouse or person transitioning from the military into civilian life
  6. Donate to military family organizations – even $5 a month can make a difference
  7. Volunteer at a local military-impacted school
  8. Donate items for service member care packages or a unit holiday party
  9. Offer free or discounted services to military families
  10. Contact your closest military installation, USO, or organization to learn about volunteer opportunities

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June 4, 2017 starts National Cancer Survivor Month, an annual Celebration of Life held in hundreds of communities. The special occasion is an opportunity for the families, friends, medical professionals and 15.5 million cancer survivors to connect with each other to stimulate knowledge, funding, and research for breakthrough treatments.  It is the one day each year when people around the world join together to honor cancer survivors. “A ‘survivor’ is anyone living with a history of cancer – from the moment of diagnosis through the remainder of life,” according to the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation, administrator for the celebration.

“We work with health care centers, retailers, contractors, businesses and non-profit groups to get the word out about colon, leukemia, breast, prostate and other types of cancer,” said Amber Hughes, president of the custom bow design studio. “These ribbons draw attention to this important cause as an emblem of empathy and support. They are an invitation to be part of something big.” This annual event is a day to draw attention to the ongoing challenges of cancer survivorship in order to promote more resources, research, and survivor-friendly legislation to improve cancer survivors’ quality of life.

The universal message of awareness ribbons is thought provoking and deep felt: “Together we can,” they say, and, “Thank You” to supporters and healthcare givers. Businesses use the giant ribbon to show their support of employees, healthcare givers, organizations and researchers; individuals for friends and loved ones. Hughes’ favorite meaning is “Congratulations and Fight on!” to survivors and warriors battling the disease.

Indoor/outdoor loops come in may colors for on city lamp posts, buildings, offices and homes as well as in parades and on fences and mail boxes. They range in size from 27 inches to 15 feet. The 16-year-old company reports widespread support for cancer survivors from all around the US and Canada, as individuals and groups, as they mobilize for action.  For more information, visit or

Gynecological, Cervical Teal Prostate Light Blue
Uterine Peach Rectal Blue
Stomach Periwinkle Melanoma Black
Testical Pink Bladder Yellow
General Cancer, Thyroid, Cancer Survivor Purple Eye, Liver Green
Head and Neck Red Kidney Orange
Colon, Colorectal Brown Brain Grey
Childhood Gold Bone White