DHARA MEHTA: THE KIDS COMPANY
Name – Dhara Mehta
Business Name – The Kids Company®
Location – Mumbai, India
Establishment (Year) – 2013
Profession / Specialty – Education/ Founder & Chief Creative Lego Builder
Instagram Handle: @thekidscompany.in
Back in 2008, an M.B.A. working in an MNC, Dhara was unaware that the sabbatical taken then to embrace motherhood would be final goodbye to the corporate world! Here’s a quick overview into the story behind the launch of The Kids Company®, a multi award winning after school activity centre that offers its fun filled, creative and intellectually stimulating program to children in the age group of 3 – 8 years.
While she was raising her son, she picked up a very important insight, ‘Play is the work of childhood and the highest form of education’. On observing mommies & children around she realized that while play was a part of a child’s routine it was often used by caregivers as a form of relaxation or break from learning. However, as a mother she realized that PLAY was the best educational tool an adult could have! This thought ignited a spark in Dhara; to create a service which could bridge this gap of play & learning. It did sound vague to many, but she believed in her dream.
Being a perfectionist, she wanted to delve more deeper into the subject and hence took up a formal course in Early Childhood Care and Education. She also worked in a day-care cum activity centre to gain practical experience. Both theoretical knowledge, and practical experience reinforced her belief that early childhood education should be filled with lots of enjoyment and play so that children do not miss out on the most important ingredient of growing up. She worked on the insight for almost a year after which she launched The Kids Company® in 2013.
The Kids Company's creative and intellectually stimulating program caters to children in the age group of 3 – 8 years. They specialize in academic enrichment, brain games, building logical intelligence through International Board Games and instilling creative thinking through LEGO.
The Kids Company has both classroom and online programs to offer. All activities are aimed at improving each child's skills related to logical thinking, problem solving, self-management, communication, and interpersonal skills along with creative thinking and exploration.
What started off from one room of Dhara’s house with a bunch of kids has now become a global brand! Since the past 8.5 years The Kids Company's program has benefited and touched the lives of hundreds of kids not only from the vicinity but from all over the world and all this at zero marketing costs!
UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION / COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
The Kids Company delivers its interesting, fun filled and ever evolving curriculum with utmost passion and warmth and guess that’s what makes us instantly connect with our young members. There is a surprise element in every session; no two sessions are same at TKC.
Our USP is the curated list of board games which are handpicked from across the globe after extensive research. All creations in our Creative Lego sessions are unique and build inhouse.
CHALLENGES FACED DURING THE JOURNEY
Shifting gears and industries from being a media professional to an entrepreneur in the education industry - starting her own venture and raising a child in a nuclear set up needed a lot of self-conviction.
Dhara’s journey so far has been fulfilling and an enriching, along with some challenges. There are a lot of uncertainties when you run your own venture. As a Women Entrepreneur, one needs to be prepared to be hit by any kind of challenges either on a personal or professional front, but a strict routine is all one needs to strike a balance between the two. Initially she got anxious and nervous, but motherhood has made her stronger, and more open to accept surprises that come along – whatever be the challenge/hurdle, work for her continues seamlessly! The Pandemic has surely affected each one of us and she too was not spared!
Her entire business needed a brick and motor set up with Board Games and Lego being the main elements for the session to function. While all educational institutions swiftly switched to Online medium, she thought she just need to take a sabbatical. However, the entrepreneur in her could not let her rest and she came up with a completely new curriculum and offering for her students. Well, that was only about planning the curriculum!
When it came to executing it, there were a host of other challenges like sourcing the materials (Lego bricks) in bulk and ensuring it reaches to the clients on time. Once she switched to Online, she realized, that the demand for her offering was not only from the city of Mumbai but she started getting calls for admissions from pan India and across the globe. Now she feels the challenge that the pandemic threw up on, was switched to an opportunity by her!
ADVICE FOR WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS
Dhara advices to follow your passion and do the right things relentlessly without worrying much about the outcome. Focus on the goal and results will surprise you!
Her success mantras:
• Introspect: It’s been more than 8 years now that she is conducting sessions and at the end of EVERY session, she asks herself, on what note is she sending the child back home? What is it that she could have done better and try and implement it right away!
• Innovate: The world is changing and at a pace much faster than one can even fathom? If one is not able to embrace and accept that fact, one is sure to hit the wall! Year on year she sees a new generation walk in the class and its inevitable to bring in some innovation and change in her approach to cater to their specific needs and adapt to their learning style.
• Unwind: More often, most entrepreneurs (including me) are too busy to keep the ball rolling at work. Juggling between professional and personal commitments can really take a toll on one’s mental and physical health. A sincere advice to all women out there, it’s important to pause and unwind at regular intervals however difficult it may seem! Squeeze in some ‘me time’ regularly.