So I’m stumbling around the web over the weekend and I come across this article about these two Moms and the launch of their new app. And lo and behold, it’s my twitter friends from Kiboomu, Wendy Wiseman and Sherry Segal. So first, I had to mildly ostracize them for not telling me about the new app and of course, I had to say, “Can I interview you?” You have to meet these terrific ladies.
Wendy Wiseman has won awards for her music and Sherry Segal, a former school teacher, has won awards for her books. Wendy’s former company, KIDZUP, made the list of of Profit 100 Companies in Canada.
So how did Kiboomu get it’s start?
“Picture it. 2008. We’re both at the top of our game.
(Wendy) I’m an award-winning entrepreneur and singer/songwriter.
(Sherry) I’m an award-winning publisher.
Then, the economy crashes and the CD market crashes. Pretty much at the same time.
Fast forward to 2009, and, imagine our surprise when we both found ourselves out of jobs. We were no different than the millions of others who found themselves unemployed. We asked ourselves: What do we do next?
(Wendy) I’m a born entrepreneur, so I knew I would start another company. And (Sherry) I, while having never owned a company, has a strong entrepreneurial spirit and was very open to the idea of starting a company with me.
We spent months hammering out what we wanted our company to be about. We eventually agreed that the foundation of our business would once again be music that educates children. It’s what we know, are drawn to and most passionate about – educating children!
And, thus began Kiboomu – Kids Grow Smart With Music.”
Tell me about the apps you’ve created.
“We’ve created three music apps-all a part of our piano series. Music makes learning fun and there’s nothing like watching small children fall in love with music. With bright colors, piano keys that light up, and familiar songs and learning concepts, kids need no introduction they just jump in there and starting to tickling those ivories”
All children have to do is press the piano keys & sing along:
♫ Features four ways to play: Letter, Karaoke and 2 Music learning modes.
♫ Explore learning with each song & piano mode
♫ Watch the piano keys light up one by one
♫ Introduces animal and instrument sounds
♫ Hear the song played on a banjo, xylophone, harp, flute, bells and more!
♫ Records children singing and playing the piano!
♫ Sing and read karaoke style lyrics in English, French & Spanish
You took a 3-month social media course to help promote your business?
“When we started our company, we immediately got to work on creating our first app and uploading over 100 music albums onto iTunes. We knew we needed to be present on Twitter, Facebook and create a blog. But our concern was, if we were to do it on our own, how long it would take us to get it right. This was our business we are talking about, and our only means of support.
We had very limited funds, and most of it going into the app development costs, so the thought of seeking outside help and spending money was not an easy decision for us. But, we felt it would be a wise investment to bring someone in that already had much more experience in social media to teach us.
Our course took place online through Skype. We skyped for an hour once a week for three months. It was overwhelming at first, but very exciting. They helped to set up our accounts, which was a huge help to us. But, I would say where we got the biggest bang for our buck was with their coaching.
The questions they asked us to reflect on and answer really helped us define what we wanted to blog about and what we wanted our community and mission to be about. It may sound easy, but it’s actually not.
We learned that people can help you get started and provide great coaching, but at the end of the day, they can only provide you with the generics. You know your business and target market best – how to engage and interact with them. That is not something someone can teach you. That’s something you have to learn on your own.”
So you are app developers with a technical background?
“We are Publishers. We come up with the concept and sketch it all out. We work closely with a great friend of ours, Christopher Pennington, to produce the music and sounds, and we sing. Christopher is an award-winning children’s music producer. And, we work very closely with programmers to help us turn our vision (concept + design) into a reality.”
And you’re philanthropists?
“I (Wendy) started a foundation with my husband, Mark that has fed and vaccinated millions of children worldwide. So, when Sherry and I started Kiboomu, it was a no-brainer. We knew that we would continue what Mark and I started and donate a percentage of our sales to feeding and vaccinating children worldwide.”
How has social media driven your business?
“We officially launched our blog, on WordPress, with google analytics, at the end of October 2010. Kiboomu.com currently gets over 34,000 unique visitors a month, and over 125,000 page views a month.
And social media is 100% responsible for our business sales.”
Where are you looking to take Kiboomu?
“We want parents and teachers to embrace us and our philosophy; that Kids Grown Smart With Music. We also want Kiboomu to produce top selling music apps for kids that are enjoyed all over the world and be the #1 kids site for parents and teachers. And, through our donations, we want to feed millions of children around the world.”
What are the things you have learned that might be helpful for brands?
“We’re still learning…interacting with your audience is more than just getting “likes”, it’s about starting conversations and engaging in authentic discussions. When we start a conversation and other people join in and share their thoughts, that’s actually when we are the happiest!”
And what advice do Sherry and Wendy have for other Moms looking to start their own businesses using social media?
1. Read Unmarketing and Trust Agents.
2. Don’t ‘throw up’ your business/products on people.
3. It’s all about getting to know people and building relationships and being genuine. Trust in yourself; the sales will follow.
4. And, lastly, create a slogan/motto for your business. You don’t have to share it with anyone else. It will be your reason for being. It will help define what you are all about. Never deviate from it – so make sure you believe in it 100%. And, then go out and share it (blogging, twittering, facebooking) with the world!