Tell us about your product or service.
2Lokas is a newly launched social venture focused on providing 0-4 year olds with an exciting, interactive, and multicultural learning experience through The Little Loka™ children's book series. The self-published series in print and digital formats will follow two sisters as they embark on cultural adventures around the world. Our aim is to provide parents, teachers, and caregivers a platform to tap into that youthful curiosity of children and to engage them in and give them exposure to the rich cultural diversity that surrounds us.
Likewise, because we’ve established our business as a social venture, we will be providing a pre-determined portion of the proceeds from the revenues generated to young social entrepreneurs from around the world, many of whom have overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles to effect positive change in their community.
What inspired you to launch your business?
As working moms of toddlers, we’ve found ourselves on a quest to seek out personal and professional opportunities that truly interest us. We’ve worked for a variety of companies and organizations, and while the work has been fulfilling, the idea of taking on more of a leadership role in our respective careers is something to which we’ve always aspired, and even more so now that we have children of our own. At the core, we’re inspired by innovative and financially sustainable ways to make a difference at the micro and macro level.
What problem does your business or organization solve?
In trying to find culturally focused books to read to our one- and two-year olds, we quickly realized that there are very few out there. Most target the older age groups. While we understand that 0-4 is fairly young, we’ve found that even the youngest of the young are extremely curious and impressionable. And, it’s never too early to engage them in a conversation about cultural similarities and differences, even if those discussions are sweet, simple, lighthearted, and initiated through books!
What has been your biggest challenge and how are you working to overcome it?
Navigating an entirely new industry has been exciting and challenging. We’re both passionate about writing, so it seemed like a natural fit. But, we quickly came to realize that launching a children’s book series is not merely about the content. It’s about the illustrations, publishing, printing, marketing, distribution, and financing as well.
In order to overcome this, we’ve conducted a significant amount of research, including speaking with friends and colleagues in the field. Fortunately, there’s a plethora of information out there on the publishing industry in particular. Of course, having all that information at our fingertips has also been a bit overwhelming. So, we’ve done our best to strategically sift through it and really hone in on what’s most relevant. And, in order to ensure we’re as organized as possible and can juggle the various moving pieces involved, we’ve been leveraging a fantastic project management tool called Trello.
Give us one word that people might use to describe you.
How has Project Eve helped you and/or your business?
It’s always refreshing to read about others’ best practices, lessons learned, and challenges as they launch their own endeavors. We’ve found Project Eve to be a wonderful online platform, as it has allowed us to peer into some of the successes (and self-proclaimed failures) out there and to get a better sense of what works and what doesn’t. The community has also provided us some very useful tips, tricks, and tools related to social media and to effectively running a small business in general.
Likewise, having both attended Wellesley, a small women’s college in the Northeast, we strongly believe in empowering and encouraging other women to follow their passion(s). So, in a sense, Project Eve has been both a resource from a business perspective, as well as a support network for us as we experience the ups and downs of launching our own social enterprise.
Give us an insider tip that relates to your industry.
Self-publishing children’s board books is not easy, so we've come to learn. The additional material used to create board books, in particular, dissuades many popular self-publishing sources from doing it. Not to mention, they are generally more expensive to produce. If you are unwilling to make compromises when it comes to format, continue looking for creative options, talk to as many people as possible (including us if you'd like!), and don’t give up!
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