It isn’t easy to keep kids positively occupied, especially when we are confined to our homes during the pandemic. That’s why parents have turned to edutainment products and services that keep kids engrossed in the activity and also expose them to various concepts. Edutainment isn’t confined to online games and videos. Before them, parents resorted to offline edutainment options for kids, such as lego, board games, books, craft kits, science experiments, flashcards, etc.
This week’s mompreneur has reinvented the traditional flashcards into captivating imagery and story for kids as young as six months of age. Amrita Aswani, the co-founder of Summer Stories, has created superior quality flashcards that allow kids across various ages to learn and entertain themselves… happily. Her most loved product—the high contrast flashcards for newborn babies, makes tummy time entertaining and joyful for little ones.
“Technology has made it all possible. Sitting at home, we are the flashcard maker that managed to collaborate with artists worldwide. We did not meet a single person, did everything online, and launched the company amidst the pandemic within six months of planning,” explains Amrita. Amrita and her husband Kunaal operate from home, and she painstakingly packs every box of Summer Stories that is ordered.
In her interview with Kidskintha, Amrita showed us how and why she started her company Summer Stories, why she chose to be a flashcards maker, her social media journey, the intricacy of design that every flashcard represents and gave us a peek into the exciting new products that are on the brink of release. Read on to know how this mom-next-door has made Summer Stories flashcards a must-buy edutainment product for every child.
In conversation with Amrita Aswani, the co-founder of Summer Stories.
Hi Amrita. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. Please take us through your journey up until you started Summer Stories.
I have worked in the kid’s animation industry for over ten years, worked with the brands Chhota Bheem and Mighty Raju, and then worked on shows for Sony. I have always been passionate about content that caters to children.
When the pandemic hit, I was working in the capacity of a creative producer for a start-up. At the time, I was expecting my first child as well.
I have been working my whole adult life, so sitting at home without a job was unfamiliar territory. Because I was pregnant, I found myself researching a lot about baby products. I always wanted to be the cool mom who taught various concepts in a fun and engaging way. Upon my research, I realized there was a dearth of creatively designed flashcards for all age groups.
After a lot of research and planning, my husband Kunaal and I launched our company – Summer Stories, in October 2020.
Would you please tell us more about the first few products that you launched?
The first product we started working on was high-contrast sight-word flashcards for newborn babies. New-born babies have blurred vision, and high contrast cards help them focus and concentrate. We came up with two sets for newborns. One is themed as Forest Friends with all animal characters, and the other is Letter to my Child. With each of the sets, there is a story that you can narrate to your little one.
Sight-word flashcards create an enjoyable, interactive session for your child. Most moms who have bought the high contrast cards have absolutely enjoyed using them with their babies.
Would you please take us through your design process and the business model for Summer Stories?
We are heavily invested in design. We work with international and Indian independent artists to make flashcards that incorporate new designs. The designs go through multiple stages of approval to bring to life beautifully created illustrations. We team up with pre-school teachers and children psychologists for product development. We have launched 11 products that include flashcards for emotional development and math skills. We are also launching a book soon.
A lot of time and effort has been invested in ensuring that the quality of the flashcards is superior — the cards are thick and have matte lamination for long durability. Even our packaging is designed to appeal to our young audience.
How did you launch Summer Stories sitting at home during the lockdown?
Technology has made it all possible. Sitting at home, we have managed to collaborate with artists worldwide. We worked with artists from Australia, South America, London, and India to launch the first 11 products. It was great to have creative minds from different parts of the world come together and start a brand new company. We did not meet a single person, did everything online, and launched the company within six months of planning.
How did you diversify your product line?
We have launched 11 products so far. We started with flashcards for newborns. That has been our hot selling product. We have four products in the toddler category ( one to three years) – Alphabet, Numbers and Fruits, Farm Animal, and Shapes and Colors.
We have five products in the four-plus category – Emotions and Feelings, 21 Acts of kindness, Outer Space, Countries and Flags, and Underwater Animals.
Our flashcards are unique and unlike what is available in the market. One of our products – 21 Acts of Kindness, has 21 easy, fun tasks for kids. To mention a few – feed a stray animal, write a thank you note, list five things you are grateful for, donate your old clothes, etc. This box aims to really bring out the best in our children and show compassion to everyone around us.
Emotions and Feelings is another set that has done well. Our children are small, but their feelings are important. These are flashcards for toddlers that can help in identifying various emotions that a child can or does undergo daily- from a very early age.
We are on the brink of launching our new books. We are anxiously looking forward to it.
How has family helped you start your entrepreneurial venture?
My family has helped me every step of the way. As a company that launched in the midst of a lockdown, we have been working from home since the beginning. We pack all our products from home, and my mother-in-law helps me pack on the days I am busy with other things.
According to you, how has parenting evolved over the years? What would you say are the USP of Summer Stories products? What aspect resonates with parents and kids?
Parenting is a very personal journey – I believe if it works for you and makes you happy, it is meant for you. The pandemic has sprouted challenges in every household. Being at home and homeschooling kids hasn’t been easy on either the parent or the child. We aim to provide edutainment for children through Summer stories.
How do you advertise and market your products?
Instagram has been great for us. We are currently selling on our own website –www.summerstories.com, Amazon, Firstcry, Nestery, and My baby babbles. All the third-party vendors have loved our products, and we are happy to have them as our partners.
How easy is it to approach alternate platforms to sell your products? Could you share an experience or two?
We approached various portals after we launched our website and had a presence on Instagram. After that, it was fairly easy as the e-commerce portals saw our visibility on social media. We have a very smooth ongoing relationship with all our partners and are grateful for all the business coming from them.
What are your plans for Summer Stories?
We are planning more products in the newborn category. We are designing a super cute book for newborn babies.
What does your typical day look like as a working mom? How challenging has it been for you to be a mompreneur?
Well, baby’s nap time is mommy’s work time. Thankfully my husband is actively involved in this business. He takes care of all the Instagram marketing and website management. I pack every product myself and then use the time left to ideate and build our brand. Living in a joint family is a blessing, and my in-laws are hands-on with my baby.
What advice would you give moms who want to start their ventures?
Go for it. A new baby gives new energy to you, and if we can bring life on earth, there is nothing we can’t do. I always have a notepad by my bedside to pen my ideas. I love the quote by Stan Lee – “If you have an idea that you genuinely think is good, don’t let some idiot talk you out of It.”
One word for Kidskintha
It’s a great resourceful website that I have been following since I became a mom.
Check out Summer Stories on Instagram Here
Or visit Summer Stories’ Website Here