We had the good fortune of connecting with Hanna & Anne-Louise and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Hanna & Anne-Louise, what do you attribute your success to?
Staying focused on the *long term.* For us, that means building a brand and product that make it easier to teach kids Spanish and Chinese … no-screens, play-based bilingual learning accessible for all families.
We (try to!) remind ourselves not to worry too much about short term ups and downs, and avoid activities that might yield a quick sale but don’t serve the brand over time (like excessive paid ads, giveaways, discounting). Instead, we try to focus our energy on things like product quality and content.
For example – we recently launched a new feature that easily lets you switch between Bilingual, Target-language only and English-only mode, to give people the option for a more immersive experience. In terms of content – our books cover topics that we want to share with our own kids, like self-reliance, global citizenship, worthiness and more … and we’re always looking for other ways to delight our community, from fun printables to practical tips from other parents on our blog. We believe these kinds of things – and not a quick sale – help drive word of mouth. We are former consultants so a short way of describing it is “pull” versus “push.”
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
(1) We are really proud of the product we have created. First and foremost, we are moms who care deeply about teaching our kids another language. So we designed the product thinking about our own challenges and the struggles of other families who might be intimidated by the task and resources available.
Therefore, it was really important to us that the product was EASY, ACCESSIBLE, INTENTIONAL
– Included English to make it bilingual (with pinyin for the Chinese)
– In-line translations.
– We also streamlined the Wand technology – so that literally all one has to do is turn on & tap. That’s it.
– Tap anywhere – every inch of all our books is tappable, so no matter where kids touch, they will hear words, phrases, musical tunes, or sound effects which keep them engaged. They think they’re playing and they’re getting tons of exposure.
– Accessible to different types of families: There is a Bilingual Mode (for those who want to hear both target language AND English); You can also turn off the English in “Target Language Mode” for those who want a more immersive experience.
– Intentional content, featuring messages and values that we wanted to share with our kids including self reliance (Book of Chores), global citizenship (Global Celebrations), empathy (I Am Kind), inclusivity / diversity (Book of Family), and more.
(2) We are also really proud of the impact we have had with families. 2 key memories.
First – We got this large group order from a hospital. We thought they were just stocking their hospital library. But then when we dropped off the order, we learned that the hospital had a program for NICU babies … that would track them for the first three years of their development to make sure they were ok. When they were 3, they would ‘graduate’ from the program, and our sets were meant to be their “graduation gift.” When we learned how our products were going to be used … our hearts just exploded.
Second – We started getting messages from moms in the adoption community who were so happy and grateful for our product. They told us how they loved it because it was a great transition for their newly adopted kids – and how it helped them learn as well. We heard from parents who were separated from their adopted kids (COVID travel restrictions; it’s so sad!) but also heard about it and sent us messages about how they were so excited to try it. Their gratitude – including from those who hadn’t even tried the product yet but were just so happy to know it existed – made us realize we were just very tangibly adding value to a community.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are too many people – from our own families who are our biggest champions and cheerleaders to our extended team. We are a small business – owned by two moms / dear friends. And while it’s primarily just the two of us (packing boxes, answering emails, making every post, reading every piece of feedback) – we also have a team of amazing part time / contractors who believe in our mission and have blessed us with their time and talents … our voice artists, translation review team, illustrators, designers, part-time warehouse team, photographers, and more … we feel so lucky to work with each and every one of them!
Habbi Habbi x @sincerely.milagav