I’ve always loved doling out parenting advice, even before I had kids. I majored in psychology at Yale and interned at the Yale Child Study Center. I can remember returning home after my first few years of college and visiting my grandmother where I’d even give her parenting advice. This is a woman who raised seven children of her own and then cared for her grandchildren virtually singlehandedly for weeks every summer for at least 20 years. Invariably, by the end of those long, hot summer days (after about the 100th spat between my young cousins about some game or toy), my grandmother would start to lose her patience and order them all to sit down.
“But Grandmother, kids are supposed to play! Kids learn best when they’re playing,” I’d say, exasperated by her impatience, reciting what I’d just studied in school. My grandmother would only look at me without saying a word.
It wasn’t until I had kids of my own that I learned what that look meant. Oh, what those child development courses don’t teach you! Like how to appreciate those times when your son decides to “play” by doing flips across the living room floor and flipping right over the couch through the front window. At times like these, I remember my grandmother and pray for just an ounce of her patience.
I’m a modern mom with strong vestiges of her old school upbringing. I love that my two children are confident and articulate in many different situations, as many modern kids are. But I also believe that it’s good to be respectful and responsible, as kids were taught when I was growing up. With Kichange, I’m offering a tool for those parents who believe in a comfortable middle ground between the old school and the new.
Kichange is allowance without the money part. Kichange helps parents put a price on activities and benefits that they might otherwise freely give children. This gives parents “currency” with their kids and helps kids link their wants and desires to their parents’ so that families can operate more cohesively.
I came up with the idea for Kichange when I was struggling to get my then 6 year old son up, dressed and out of the door for school on time. Every day was a battle. One day I looked around my son’s school and noticed a kid on the playground in his pajamas. And it wasn’t pajama day! I knew then that there was a problem and that I wasn’t the only one suffering! The more I spoke to other parents about the parental challenges we all faced, the more I recognized the need for a fun and easy way to motivate kids to do some of those seemingly mundane but important parts of life.
I started selling Kichange in April and am on track to profitably sell my first 1,000 units. Kichange has been selling well with an advertising conversion rate of nearly 3%. I was recently selected to participate in Amazon’s Vendor Express program in which Amazon pays a wholesale price to purchase products directly from vendors and assumes all shipping and marketing costs.
This is a review from one happy Kichange user:
“This system has changed our family’s life for the better. My daughter is no longer the bratty screaming demanding 8 year old child since using this chart a week ago. She is very cooperative, picks up after herself, gets ready for school by herself, and constantly asks to do chores…This has proved invaluable to both her and my family. Thank you so much Kichange!!”
I will use the Kiva Zip loan to provide working capital so that I can purchase Kichange tokens in larger quantities and offer Kichange in a variety of colors.
After making an initial investment of my own funds to get started, I have been purchasing additional inventory only from current revenue. This forces me to purchase in small quantities, the minimum order of 1,000 tokens (each package of Kichange comes with 25 tokens). By increasing the number of tokens I purchase to 6,000, I can decrease my costs to produce the tokens by 33%. This will result in a 10% increase in profit.
Additionally, I would like to use the loan to offer a wider variety of Kichange. I currently offer three variety of Kichange (translucent, solid white background, and a red biodegradable option). I would like to offer the white Kichange with color coded backgrounds and the biodegradable option in different colors to facilitate use by families with multiple children. In the future I may also offer Kichange in different denominations.
This is a breakdown of the inventory purchases I will make with the proceeds of the loan plus other funds (from current revenue):
6,000 translucent tokens
6,000 white (green background)
6,000 white (yellow background)
6,000 white (red background)
6,000 yellow (biodegradable)
6,000 green (biodegradable)
6,000 red (biodegradable)
$756 * 7 = $5,292
I have bootstrapped Kichange so far from my own funds. As the primary breadwinner for my family, having a little bit of extra cushion for working capital would give me greater comfort and allow me to grow Kichange with less risk to my family’s well being.