As a parent there is nothing more satisfying and fulfilling to see our kids expressing themselves openly and able to create something from personal feelings and experiences.Kids with such ability are called creative and as a parent we always search for mediums to enhance this creative element in them. Women lines is proud to share about Sindu Sreebhavan who is founder of kid’s edutainment magazine ‘ The Kidz Parade’ which is focussed on enhancing creativity in kids in Singapore and around the world. Read about her journey from corporate world to a popular kid’s magazine world in her own words-
- Please share with our readers little bit about yourself?
I am the founder of The Kidz Parade Edutainment. I am extremely passionate about spotting, encouraging and promoting creativity in others. Though everybody identifies The Kidz Parade with our Edutainment magazine, The Kidz Parade also has a suite of other products, services and workshops that help to showcase, boost and cultivate confidence, creativity and communication skills in children. I have a wonderful family with my husband Manoj and our 10-year-old son Advaith and 9-year-old daughter Aditi. I love to put my kids to bed in the night and enjoy the little shows they put together for our birthdays and other important dates.
- So when did you venture into this venture and what inspired or motivated you to take a plunge into this venture?
During my 15 years career in management consulting, I was fortunate to have worked in 6 different countries for different industries with some of the brilliant people you can come across. If I condense my learning from these associations in a simple sentence – The three critical skills for a successful career are Creativity, Communication and Confidence. These are the skills that should be cultivated from the young as sometimes it becomes difficult for you to pick up some of these skills in the later years. But unfortunately, these skills are overlooked in our education system. I was looking for a platform that could help my children to boost my kids’ creative confidence when they were younger. However, to my dismay what I could find was more enrichment classes than platforms where they could proudly parade their creativity. The enrichment classes are good, but that only serve you to push information to the kids but not for encouraging their unlimited creativity. During my discussions with other parents and teachers, I figured out that I was not the only person who felt this. But, none knew how to deal with the situation. But, being able to showcase ones own creativity at a young age is important for the overall confidence building and critical thinking process. And I wanted to give that opportunity to children around the world. That is when the idea of a magazine that could promote their creativity, ignite their curiosity and provide inspirations to them came about. I spent a couple of years doing surveys of parents and teachers and discussing trends in education with researchers in those areas. Sometime during 2012, I realized that the motivation to execute this cause had overpowered every other career aspirations I had and that even without my knowledge I had the idea of the overall content of the magazine. Once that realization hit me, I started working it with Jagdeep Kaur and The Kidz Parade was born within the next few months in print and online formats.
- Can you share with us some of the challenges you faced during your initial days?
The first and the main challenge was being a newbie in the industry. I had the passion, a good concept for a unique product and a great market to start with. However, that was not enough to start. I needed a lot of support. There I did what the corporates do. I started looking for collaborations. The first collaboration came in the form of an amazing lady named Jagdeep. She is a great partner as a writer, immensely creative person and a great human being. Without Jagdeep, it would have been impossible for me to launch the magazine in such a short time with such great quality. The second challenge was the misconceptions people had about creativity. It was sad to observe that people still saw creativity and education as two separate entities. Many think that creativity is a hazard to educational excellence. People had the notion that creativity is all about arts. Doing arts is creativity, but that is just part of creativity. I started giving talks to parents, teachers, kids and organizations about the importance of creativity in education. It is great to see the inclination towards incorporating creativity in education by educational agencies.
- So how do you balance your personal and professional life?
I work on a flexible schedule. So, I make time for everything my kids need. I make it a point to spend enough time with my family without compromising the quality, effort and time I need to spend for the company.
- What would you suggest to other aspiring women who want to venture out on their own?
If you have a great idea for an offering that could solve a problem faced by your potential customers, go for it. It takes a lot of effort in the beginning. Many women stop there thinking they do not have the time. But, remember, we women are amazing in multitasking. So, make use of that, you will find the time for everything. Secondly, you reach out and collaborate. Many people look at everybody else as competitors. But you are a winner when you look at your potential competitors as collaborators. Thirdly, you connect with others who have gone through the process of setting up their own enterprises. My doors are always open for people who would like to talk to me.
As I had said before, Jagdeep was a great support, partner and creative adviser in bringing our magazine out. Organizations like National Library Board, Science Centre, Eurasian Association and many local and international schools were very supportive of this initiative. We are used to hearing from teachers that this is something they wanted to start. We take that as the testimonial for the immense academic potential the publication offers. We are quite touched by the stories of kids picking up reading and writing habits, families using The Kidz Parade contents and critical thinking activities as conversation topics on their dinner table, kids getting inspiration from other kids and experts featured in The Kidz Parade and kids acquiring the confidence to showcase their creativity. It is this support from the parents, schools, teachers and above all our young readers that motivate us to getting the magazine to greater heights. I did my MBA from UCLA Anderson and the support, recommendations and ideas I received from the alumni were very encouraging. People like Adeline Foo, the author of the famous Amos Lee series, Michelle Tessensohn, Sylvia Mackaige, Nandita Vaidya, Jennifer Loh, Hima Madhusoodan had supported me immensely with their fabulous advices while boosting my morale and keeping me motivated. Many friends supported me with their voluntary work. Above all, my husband and kids have given their wholehearted support right from Day1. That kept me going during the challenging phases.
- What do you have in the pipeline for your venture’s future development?
We have recently launched our I Speak… I Lead Public Speaking kit for children. It is a very useful product with valuable tips and framework for how to approach public speaking for both kids and adults. We are in the process of increasing the reach of our highly sought after Public Speaking and Leadership Mentoring Program for children. We are working on our audio books and we will be launching that in the next couple of months. We are also planning to make The Kidz Parade Worksheets that were available only for school subscriptions, to others as well, due to popular demand from the parents. Women lines wishes all the best to Sindu for her future initiatives for Kidz Parade! To know more about The Kidz Parade Edutainment Magazine visit- www.thekidzparade.com www.facebook.com/TheKidzParade