He's Got the World on a String A former Wall Street analyst spins his yo-yo passion into a million-dollar-plus business.
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It's like watching a ninja on steroids. In one YouTube video, Pat Cuartero wows the crowd with the fluorescent-colored blurs of a move he calls Angel Wings, which involves spinning two yo-yos in opposite directions, over his head and behind his back. He wins that contest.
Cuartero knows how to work the business side of yo-yos, too. He's founder of YoyoNation, known for its extensive store, active online community and go-to industry blog. The company is on track to hit $1.6 million in sales by the end of the year. It opened a UK office in April and plans one in the Philippines in the next month or two.
It all began back in 2005, when Cuartero--a high school 2A yoyo champ turned Merrill Lynch analyst--discovered a higher purpose: getting more people in New York City to play with yo-yos. He funded startup costs with about $8,000 of credit card debt, and in his first five months, he netted $32,000. It was enough to persuade him to leave Wall Street and develop his target market.