Last week, I had a wonderful time with my family in Japan. I promise to share with you snippets from my trip in another blog post. We will also share tips on how to get around Japan with a Toddler with you. Speaking of toddlers, it will be one week to go before Zeeka goes back to school. I’m sad, but at the same time relieved since I’ve been constantly looking for activities for her.
For this week, I’m featuring a young entrepreneur. She has a business for kids who want to practice art and for parents who want to teach their kids creativity!
Anna Cristina L. Ignacio, also known as Teacher Anna to her students. She’s 26 years old, single, and love to travel. She graduated from UP Diliman with a Fine Arts degree in Industrial Design. She’s been teaching art in various preschools in Metro Manila for the past 7 years, helping kids of different nationalities and cultural backgrounds discover and hone their creative talents.
In 2015, after completing the course on Program and Project Management in Tokyo, Japan, she was awarded the Honor Certificate of International P2M Practitioner by the Project Management Association of Japan. She’s currently the Head Art Teacher for a Likhang Bata Creativity Center, and Chief Creative Director of Kiddie Art Kart. She is a strong advocate of creative self-expression, which she believe is very important to a child’s positive development.
She comes from a family of 6 – 3 older brothers with her being the only girl and the youngest.
Their family loves to travel and exploring places together, and they also have high appreciation for the arts. She have a very supportive family who helps her with all the marketing efforts for Kiddie Art Kart, and they are always present in all of her events.
Kiddie Art Kart’s Story
Ginger: What is your Startup/brand/business? What is it about? How long have you been in business?
Teacher Anna: Kiddie Art Kart is a traveling art room that brings arts and crafts activities to parties, family gatherings, kiddie events, and play dates. We set up an art station and facilitate art activities to kiddie guests. Currently, I have a team of 6 experienced preschool teachers, which we call Creativity Coaches, and a resident Psychologist who guides us in our curriculum development. Kiddie Art Kart creates a positive, encouraging, and nurturing environment so no kid is left behind. Our projects are designed using the principles of creative self-expression and art therapy to help children in the discovery of their creative intelligence. We also incorporate the different developmental skills in each activity so not only do they get to create art, but they also learn something through creative education. We have been in business since November 2016.
Ginger: Who is your target market? Why did you choose this market? Can you give us the insight behind this market?
Teacher Anna: Our target market is AB class parents with children aged 3-15
Ginger: How did you come up with this idea? What made you decide to start this kind of business?
Teacher Anna: Being an art teacher, a lot of my students would often ask me if I can do art activities for them in their parties. Most of the time, parents would like their children to do activities with their friends in the comfort of their homes and not having to go through Manila traffic. Since I love to travel, and I love doing art with children, I came up with a traveling art room wherein we are the ones who go to you and we set up everything at your own chosen venue.
Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these?
Teacher Anna: Having no background in business, it was a struggle to start one. I had to do the concept development, inventory, accounting, and research alone. Putting up the capital was also one of my worries. Good thing my family is so supportive of my passion and they were always there to guide me and save me when I was feeling stuck.
Ginger: What are the greatest challenges in putting up and maintaining a business in your country?
Teacher Anna: The greatest challenge for me in putting up my own business was giving up my full time job as an art teacher. It was a risky move and a huge sacrifice because that means I will no longer have a stable income. Aside from that, I became fearful of the unknown. So many questions like “will people avail of my services?” or “will they like the projects we offer?” or “is this a long-term business?” kept popping up in my head. But I learned to just believe in my concept and work my best to put it up. It was a great factor that I love what I am doing and I enjoy it, and I can only hope that other parents will see it and I’ll be able to share with them and their children the same love and passion I have for art.
Ginger: What are three traits that you think an Entrepreneur/Startup Founder should have when starting their own business?
Teacher Anna: Commitment – There’s this quote I heard which says “Entrepreneurs are the only people who will work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week.” Being an entrepreneur needs a lot of commitment because if you want to succeed in your business, you have to do everything yourself and not ask someone else to do it for you. It’s okay to get help from other people, but at the end of the day, it’s ultimately up to you to control your own success.
Being able to accept constructive criticism – I believe that in every business, you always have to see it from the point of view of the client or customer. What may seem great to me may not seem great on the other end. I appreciate hearing feedback because that is one way of knowing the needs and wants of my client so I will be able to improve my services and give the best experience to new and returning clients. I also do meetings with my team of teachers and ask them about the good points and points for improvement. As the boss, I may be overlooking something and might be expecting so much from them that it makes them uncomfortable or less motivated. So I also like hearing their side and take them into consideration.
Believe in your product/service – This is very important because how can you expect other people to buy your product or avail your service if you yourself are not confident that it is effective. You have to back it up and be able to defend it 100% but also make sure that you can deliver. I wouldn’t recommend going into anything that does not align with your own values, beliefs, and practices because if something goes wrong, you won’t be able to save it.
Ginger: Unforgettable moments or lessons that you learned as an Entrepreneur/Startup Founder
Teacher Anna: Everything is a learning process and no one has it easy from day one. It is constant work and you have to be patient. I learned to stop and take a breather when I feel like something is not going the way I want it to be so I can bounce back better and think clearer. I also learned to not make decisions based on emotions because feelings come and go, but the damages you make when you do emotional decisions are there forever.
Ginger: What advice can you give to other Entrepreneurs?
Teacher Anna: Don’t get easily discouraged. Take negative comments and turn it into positive ones. Not everyone will like what you have to offer, but there is always someone else who will.
Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?
Teacher Anna: I believe anyone can be an entrepreneur, but it takes a lot of courage to finally decide to be one.
Ginger: What are ways that you can do to raise capital?
Teacher Anna: Savings from job income, De-clutter and sell items that other people can use. A garage sale is a good way to do this. Look for investors and sacrifice the wants, and only spend for the needs.
Ginger: How do you market your products? Growth strategy?
Teacher Anna: We do a lot of online marketing on Facebook and Instagram. We also attend or join expos and events. We build connections with other entrepreneurs and this is very helpful when you want to collaborate on certain projects that will be beneficial to both businesses. We also build relationships with parents and children to get them to keep coming back. We send monthly newsletters to our subscribers to keep the updated with our events.
Ginger: What are tech tools that you use for your business?
Teacher Anna: Microsoft Excel, Afterlight photo editing app, Mailchimp for sending newsletters to subscribers, Facebook and Instagram, Trello for organizing tasks and to-do lists
Ginger: Other things that you want to mention which you think are important
Teacher Anna: Kiddie Art Kart believes in the benefits of creative education and creative self-expression. We do not impose on the children and we give them full freedom to do art with the guidance of our creativity coaches. We build an environment that is encouraging to all children so they become more confident within themselves.
Ginger: Thank you, teacher Anna, for sharing with us your entrepreneurial journey! For those who want to learn more about Kiddie Art Kart, please see the contact numbers below.
For Contact information:
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobile Number: 09178610022
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/kiddieartkart
Instagram account: @kiddieartkart
Youtube account: www.youtube.com/kiddieartkart