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Spanish Fork teen builds lawn game business with support from parents, expresses thanks for their support

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Arianne Brown
Arianne Brown is a mom of nine who writes columns for many local and national publications. She currently resides in Payson, and enjoys looking for good happenings in her area and sharing them for others to read about. For more of her stories, search "A Mother's Write" on Facebook.

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When Eric and Rachel Jacobsen walk down intobrtheir basement in Spanish fork, it’s not filled with furniture or decorativebrwall hangings.

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In fact, there aren’t even any walls to hangbrthings on, or flooring to place any furniture. brInstead, the unfinished basement is filled with stackable cups,brsoftballs, and packaging ready to be shipped to eager customers. Rather thanbrthe fulfilled wish of a finished basement, the area is filled with a buddingbrdream and ambition that belongs to their 14-year-old son, Jeston.

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The dream that is well on its way to bebrrealized is a yard game Jeston invented called, KNOCK ‘EM, where two to four players trybrto knock down their opponent’s cups with a ball, with the goal of having the lastbrcup standing. The game has been three years in the making, and Eric Jacobsenbrsays it’s been a wonderful experience that he hopes will continue.

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“I remember when Jeston first showed us thebrgame that was originally a tabletop game,” Eric Jacobsen said. “He had writtenbrup all the instructions, and had put a lot of thought into it, but I had nobrexpectations.”

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But, when they played the game as a family,brthat’s when Eric said he knew this game was something special. He encouragedbrhis son to pitch it to a friend who had a successful Kickstarter campaign. Theybrthen decided to turn it into a yard game, and began working on creatingbrprototypes that they could test out on neighbors and friends. They gatheredbrfeedback and began working toward their Kickstarter campaign. That campaign,brunfortunately, fell short of its goal, and that’s when the Jacobsens had to digbrdeep. 

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“When the Kickstarter failed, it actuallybrturned out to be a really good thing, because it forced us to thinkbrdifferently,” Eric said.

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Faced with needing to fund the rest of thebrproject alone so they didn’t risk losing it all, the Jacobsens had to make surebrtheir son was all in.

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“Jeston and I had a conversation about reallybrtrying to make this a business,” Eric said. “I told him that I would supportbrhim 100 percent, but only if he was committed. I made sure he knew that I wasbrabout to invest time and money that was not easy to come by because I believedbrin him and the product.”

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Jeston told his parents he was committed, andbralong with their support, KNOCK ‘EM has made steady steps forward. And withbreach step made, the Jacobsens have had to reevaluate goals, accept setbacks,brand look at the bigger picture.

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“The clear thought I had when doing this wasbrthat I needed to do it for Jeston’s development and for us to have something tobrwork on together,” Eric said. “That was it. And that was enough.

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“Life is about learning, growing andbrconnecting,” he continued. “This has provided all of those things. We arebrlearning new things, and it is pushing all of us to be better. It has providedbra common exciting thing and opportunity for our entire family. We have feltbrlove and support from so many people in our family, neighborhood, localbrcommunity, and the yard game community. And just having a common interest withbrmy 14-year old son at a time when it can be hard to find that has been awesome.brI am confident this whole experience will help keep us connected during superbrimportant years.”

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Jeston agreed with his dad, expressing hisbrappreciation for the support of his parents, and how building this game andbrbusiness has brought him closer to them.

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“The support of my parents has meant so much,”brJeston said. “They support me in everything I do, and with KNOCK ‘EM. We workbrthrough ideas and everything together. It wouldn’t have been possible withoutbrthem.”

brbrTo know more about KNOCKbr‘EM, go to knockemgames.com. (Brown is a Serve Daily contributor.)

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