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Five products created by entrepreneurial parents

Entrepreneurial parents are born all across the globe when that moment arises where a parent says, “fine, I’ll do it (or make it) myself.” Check out how these five brands filled holes in the market.

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entrepreneurial parents

entrepreneurial parents

Entrepreneurial parents step in to fill gaps in the market

If you’re a parent, you know there come many moments in life where you think, “man, I wish they made X product that did Y thing,” and left it at that. Most parents breeze past that moment of frustration or need, but that is the very moment in which some entrepreneurial parents are born, whose thought after “man, I wish they made X product that did Y thing,” is quickly, “and I bet I can make it happen.”

We all know that necessity is the mother (or father) of invention, and the following five products were created by parents that saw a need for a specific child product.

1. The Happy Trunk

happy trunk
Vinnie Bhushan, the mother of two active kids, always tried to find meaningful activities, arts and crafts to encourage her children’s creativity, but too often the same old thing over and over had her kids whining that they were bored. It got Vinnie thinking and she created The Happy Trunk, a monthly subscription service that delivers new arts, crafts and science projects to kids every month. The kits are geared for kids ages 3-7 and 8-11 and includes 3-4 projects a month.

2. Kinderfeets

kinderfeets
When Oscar Mulder’s young son wanted a push bike that had foot pegs and the ability to decorate the bike itself, Oscar, a graphic designer, decided to design it himself. The result is the eco-friendly Kinderfeets bike. The wooden bike teaches kids as young as two how to ride a bike, often eliminating the need for a tricycle followed by training wheels. In fact, Oscar’s son was riding a real bike by age 3! The bike even has a chalkboard panel where kids can decorate it to their hearts content.

3. A Girl for All Time

girl for all time
As a Mom of a girl, it was important to Frances Cain that her daughter have strong female role models. Not only could Frances not find anything but when it came to the dolls on the market, but most were made so poorly they couldn’t hold up to playtime. So Frances created A Girl for all Time, well-crafted dolls outfitted by a trendy London designer and an Emmy nominated costume designer, drawing on important events throughout British history, which are explored and beautifully recreated in books following the eldest girls in the fictional Marchmont family through 500 years of history, intrigue and adventures.

4. Kleynimals

kleynimals
Kirsten Chapman is the inventor of Kleynimals, a set of non-toxic, eco-friendly, food grade stainless steel decorative keys for baby that are lead, BPA and Phthalate free. She invented Kleynimals because like many parents she had become aware in recent years of the many chemicals found in baby toys that can be harmful to their health. Her baby wanted to play with her keys all the time, but she knew that beyond the germs found on them, that there were sharp edges and lead risks as well. When she searched the market place for a replacement, all she found was plastic – which wouldn’t fool her baby and came with its own set of chemical concerns. Kirsten took her responsibility to develop a safe toy so seriously that she went far beyond regulations in the amount of safety testing she conducted. So much so that she was recognized by the Consumer Product Safety Commission when they invited her to speak at their public hearings on lead in toys.

5. Weerol

weerol
Because the choice in the mainstream toy market just wasn’t fun enough for his children, this designer/wood-worker Dad decided to put his creative plans into motion. Literally. Inspired by modern design and functionality, Weerol was created to further the fun, excitement, education, and passion to play for children 18 months – 6 years. Weerol is a creative, sustainable, and organizational toy that transforms to grow and adapt to your child’s development. It responds to each milestone-style of play all while enhancing your home. Constructed from renewable sources and non-toxic water based adhesives and paints, Weerol has a low impact on the environment and promotes a healthy, safe environment for your child as well.

Are you the next entrepreneurial parent?

Is there something you wish you could provide for your children but have thrown up your hands instead of solving the problem? Maybe you’re the next entrepreneurial parent, and you don’t know where to start. Check out your local Small Business Development Center which is funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, offering free to low cost business advice and guidance.

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

Business Entrepreneur

Amazon sets eyes on couture with launch of online Luxury Stores

(ENTREPRENEUR) As of this week, Amazon is an online luxury retailer. Is this good or bad news for smaller luxury retailers?

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Amazon Luxury Stores logo

When I think of high-end fashion shopping, Amazon is not the first store that comes to mind. Groceries, random knick-knacks, and pet accessories for my adorable pooch are the items in my cart.

For years, the retail giant has tried taking over every single market. This year, they came one step closer to realizing drone delivery to customers. And now, they have their eyes set on couture.

This week, Amazon confirmed the launch of its high-end online designer fashion and beauty brand shopping experience, Luxury Stores. Currently, Oscar de la Renta is the first brand to launch on the platform, but more are on the way.

Available by invitation only to eligible Prime members, the store launched on Amazon’s mobile app. Eligible customers received early access to the designer’s Pre-Fall and Fall/Winter 2020 collections. The collection included “ready-to-wear, handbags, jewelry, accessories, and a new perfume,” according to Amazon.

If you’re a Prime member and didn’t receive an invitation, you can request an invite by visiting amazon.com/LuxuryStores.

Alex Bolen, CEO of Oscar de la Renta said, “Oscar de la Renta is thrilled to partner with Amazon for the launch of Luxury Stores.” He told Vogue that “somewhere near 100% of our existing customers are on Amazon and a huge percentage of those are Prime members. For me to get more mindshare with existing customers in addition to getting new customers—that’s the name of the game.”

According to The Verge, Amazon has over 150 million Prime members. With that big of a number and potentially huge customer overlap, we can all see why Bolen is so thrilled.

But what does Amazon’s break into luxury retail mean for smaller luxury retailers? Smaller companies are still struggling to keep up with the retail giant. With small brick-and-mortar stores fighting to stay afloat during the pandemic, could Amazon’s online Luxury Stores be an all-inclusive solution?

According to Amazon’s press release, the company doesn’t plan on only partnering with established fashion brands, but also with “emerging luxury fashion and beauty brands.”

“We are always listening to and learning from our customers, and we are inspired by feedback from Prime members who want the ability to shop their favorite luxury brands in Amazon’s store,” said Christine Beauchamp, President of Amazon Fashion.

Engadget reported that Amazon is taking a hands-off approach with Luxury Stores. The company will offer backend and merchandising tools support. Brands will have control over their pricing, inventory, and selection. With brands being able to have more control over their experience, maybe smaller luxury retailers will feel inclined to use this new sales outlet.

“It’s still Day One, and we look forward to growing Luxury Stores, innovating on behalf of our customers, and opening a new door for designers all over the world to access existing and new luxury customers,” Beauchamp said.

Amazon has yet to reveal which new luxury stores will arrive on the platform. Hopefully, we will also see our local luxury stores on Amazon in the future, too.

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Business Entrepreneur

Small businesses must go digital to survive (and thrive)

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) A study at Cisco reveals how digitizing small businesses is no longer optional, but critical to success, thanks to the pandemic.

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Black woman working on a laptop on a couch, running her small businesses' needs digitally.

As digital transformation efforts ramp up due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study released by Cisco has highlighted some key insights into how small businesses will need to adapt in order to survive in the “new normal.”

The study, conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC), analyzed more than 2,000 small businesses across eight different markets, including the United States, Canada, Germany, Mexico, United Kingdom, Brazil, Chile, and France. Using a four-section index to assess a small business’s digitalization efforts, the research found that 16% of companies said they were “thriving and feel their businesses are agile and resilient.” While 36% stated they were in “survival mode.” Regardless of where they were ranked in the index, the study concluded that 70% of firms were in the process of ramping up digital transformation within their company due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the digital divide that was already present in the small business market, and it is forcing companies to accelerate their digitalization,” said Daniel-Zoe Jimenez, AVP, head digital transformation & SMB research at IDC. “Small businesses are realizing that digitalization is no longer an option, but a matter of survival.”

The study also highlighted several challenges associated with digital transformation. The three biggest obstacles that businesses seem to face during the process were digital skills and talent, budgetary issues (lack of funds or previous commitment of funds), and cultural resistance to change. Despite these roadblocks, 45% of companies surveyed stated that they expect over 30% of their business to be digital by 2021. And 32% responded that they are planning on developing a digital strategy. This included investing in talent with the right set of digital skills moving forward.

Those decisions fall in line with Cisco and IDC’s recommendations. These include creating a three-year technology road map and building a workforce with the right skills to succeed in a digital world. Other suggestions include finding the right technology partner, and keeping up with industry trends. Leveraging financing and remanufactured equipment can aid with cash flow and budget requirements.

As small businesses continue to adapt to consumer behavior and the whirlwind of ever-changing rules that have come with the coronavirus, digital transformation will continue to play a major role in the post-COVID world. According to the report, if half of the small businesses surveyed can reach the second-highest tier of the index by 2024, those companies could end up adding an additional $2.3 trillion to the eight markets’ gross domestic product (GDP), contributing to the global economic recovery.

As we approach the six-month mark of the pandemic, just when and how the “new normal” will emerge is still uncertain. But there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel for small businesses — even if it’s faint green and contains zeroes and ones.

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Business Entrepreneur

Choose your startup business partner wisely

(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) Creating a startup business with a friend sounds amazing, but consider carefully if you may be better off as friends.

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Young couple working on startup together.

So, you want to be your own boss? Maybe get out and into a new career to crawl out from under the corporate drone motif? What better way to do it than to go into a startup business for yourself?

Hundreds of Americans have ideas that could turn into a new career. But not as many have the support structure, either financial or social, to make these dreams become a reality. A few of these people might look for someone to go into business with to help with the financial burden.

Can you think of a better way to start off a new business than with your best friend by your side? I sure as hell can.

My best friend and I get along great in our personal time. We’re both zombie horror nerds. He’s straight, I’m gay. He’s a cop, I’m an out of work geophysicist/bartender/writer – the jokes don’t quit with us. Our typical nights together include drinking at bars and smacking the other one upside the head as deemed necessary. We’re both slightly better than Neanderthals some days. And most importantly, neither of us should be trusted to work together.

Now of course that’s probably more specific to my situation, but let’s just realize that finding two people who can be the closest of friends and business partners is pretty rare.

There are a few people who have figured it out though and you can find a number of pointers online for new/established startup companies. A few of these tips include: Lots of structure to try and keep the fun at home and the business in the office, clearly defining roles, honest open communication, and strictly defining fiscal expectations.

So basically, it’s like committing to another marriage, which is what another set of people do for their startup business as well. Numerous married couples have put together careers and their relationships, and a great many of them are very successful.

So, if you have someone who you can commit to another potentially lifelong relationship with, and you trust to follow all of these rules, then go for it.

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