About Me ..... Advertise ..... Contact

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Building on the strengths of your twin to start an educational learning company

As a Stay at home mom, I spend lots of time with my kids. I try to keep them away from the television as much as possible, though my daughter loves to watch the Wiggles in the morning. Now that it’s blazing hot here in Arizona for the summer, we can’t go outside like we could during the winter months, so the other day we went to Target and got a bunch of toys in their dollar section – finger paints, sand tools, a toy tractor, doll accessories. When I was a kid her age, I didn’t have many toys at all, so I am somewhat against the idea of having lots of toys to occupy my kids. I would prefer something that we can do to interact together and the kids can hopefully learn and play at the same time.

A few weeks ago I received an email from the company Wiggle Giggle Learn. The company offers a program of learning games and educational activity plans for you to do with your kid from birth to age 5, every day. It’s a revolutionary “system” that has developed the activity plans necessary to teach parents HOW to teach their children to love to learn. I have to admit the first pass through the site didn’t grab my attention. I guess I didn’t really “get” what they were doing. Luckily I decided to give it another pass, and I’m extremely excited about the products they are offering. They offer several sample plans on the website to give you a glimpse of their product. For the price of a toy, I can get several months worth of activities for my kids. The plans tell you what the learning goal is, what everyday materials are needed (like water or a bucket or crayons or stuff you already have), the activity, and tips and expectations of the activity.

Stacey and Tracey Bryant have been working on this product for over a year. They are twins who had completely opposite careers – Stacey is in business management, and Tracey is in early childhood education. They came up with the business for the company when Stacey asked her sister, "If you could change our education system what would you do?" She said, "I would get them at birth." Thinking like an entreprenuer, Stacey said, "We Can!" She envisioned Tracey teaching parents how to teach their own children from birth and then they would come to kindergarten prepared to learn.

The twins spent $30,000 to start the company, and just went live last week. “We started by beta testing with 300 families July 2007 and we got an amazing amount of feedback from this group.” Stacey says. “ I would highly recommend that you start with a beta test to work the kinks out of your business system and/or products. These people are on our program for free, however, they are giving us feedback and we will track the progress of these Wiggle Giggle kids as they enter kindergarten This give us valuable data that will back up our stand that early education is the key.”

The most difficult part of starting up their business was finding the funding to keep it going. They were chosen as a potential finalist for the Seeds for Success grant sponsored by Yahoo and Carolyn Kepcher (from the Apprentice tv show). Additionally, Tracey's blog was chosen as the second best education blog in America by the EDin08 foundation founded by Bill and Melinda Gates.

Stacey’s advice to anyone starting up is Don't quit your day job too early.