We had the good fortune of connecting with Gloria You and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gloria, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Some friends and I started a mom’s support group called “Mama Elephants,” during a time when one of our friends was suffering terribly from an autoimmune disease. We got the name from studying how elephants support and defend each other in the wild. Even though it was a hard time, we grew stronger through being together. I began to imagine what it would look like to create a space where families could come and make memories together, where parents could enjoy interaction with their kids, and where friends could spend time together. I wanted to design a playground that had features kids would love, a good mix of educational play and active equipment. At the same time I wanted to include features that would appeal to many parents as well, such as plenty of comfortable seating all around the playground, clean facilities, and a calming atmosphere. It was my dream to make a playground for all the “little elephants” and “grownup elephants” alike.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Little Elephants Kids Place is an children’s indoor playground, perfect for elementary-age kids. We use high-quality toys and play equipment, foster a mix of educational and active play, and provide bright and clean facilities. My biggest inspirations for the design and atmosphere of Little Elephants are my kids. My role as a mother–wanting to give my children opportunities to develop their minds, use their creativity, and move their bodies–is what drove me to see my dream through to reality. With the help of friends and investors who believed in my vision, we were able to bring it to life, and that taught me a valuable lesson: I am not alone. I have been blessed with supportive and generous people in my life, and I never want to take them for granted. I want to do the best I can with the opportunity I’ve been given. And in the end, I hope every family who comes into Little Elephants Kids Place is greeted with a smile, welcomed into our place of play, and feels supported the way my friends and family have done for me.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Two things I tend to enjoy the most are nature and food. If my friends were staying with me, I would spend the first day I would give my friends a quick cultural tour of Los Angeles. We could eat dim sum in Chinatown, walk through Olvera Street and grab a paleta, and then go enjoy some ramen in Little Tokyo. The next day we would head to the beach, probably Corona del Mar. During the week it’s not too crowded, it’s clean, and on one end of the beach there are awesome tide pools to explore. The next day we will check out some more of LA, starting with the California Science Center. If they are my friends, they probably have kids, and there is cool stuff there for kids and parents to enjoy. Then we will eat at my favorite southern fried chicken place, Honeybird. Finally, we would finish off the week with a visit to the Arboretum, in Arcadia. We could picnic on the front lawn, and then go inside for a stroll. I’m sure I could think of more, but these are some of my favorites.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to give a shoutout to my friend, Cat Castaneda and her great staff, at Native Fields farmers market restaurant. They serve quality, locally-sourced food and everything they have is delicious. I would recommend them to anyone for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner.
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