Tell us about your entrepreneurial product or service.
I have long held the belief that a child engaged in play is a child engaged in learning. So, I built an online store with toys carefully chosen to appeal to children with special needs worldwide. Our toys fuel kids’ creativity and help them develop gross and fine motor skills. They teach everyday living skills through role play. They promote the social and communication skills necessary to build rewarding relationships. Perhaps most importantly, the toys encourage successful problem solving which gives children the confidence to be independent.
What inspired you to launch your business idea?
My journey began in 2005 with my mother’s sudden death. I became keenly aware that life turns on a dime and the only thing that matters is who you are to the people for whom you care. My mother’s legacy is “Wife, Mother, Grandmother”. It sounds so simple yet it is intimately profound to her husband, children and grandchildren.
Yes, I am a wife and a mother. Perhaps someday, I will be a grandmother. But, how will my visit here on earth leave it a better place? I want those that I leave behind to say that I made an AMAZING difference in the lives of our most vulnerable children; that I was a tireless advocate for them; and, that I did my very best to serve them, their families and their communities. Warner’s Corner Toys provided the vehicle.
What problem does your business or organization solve?
I care passionately for special needs children. My life’s purpose is to help them “become”. I started Warner’s Corner Toys to give special needs children, their families and their communities a one-stop-shop for toys, resources, and support. In the years since our opening, the prevalence of autism, for example, has increased from 1 in 110, to 1 in 88 with 1 in 54 being boys. According to the CDC’s 2013 study, the prevalence of Down syndrome has increased from 1 in 733 births to 1 in 691. The numbers of children being diagnosed with learning disabilities also continues to climb. Resources, however, are not keeping pace with this growing need. Families, educators and therapists the world over are on a mission to find affordable, safe, and effective tools. I want Warner’s Corner Toys to be their answer.
What has been your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur and how are you working to overcome it?
My journey most often has been wonderful but also long and sometimes downright uncomfortable. My husband and I call it “turning the Titanic”. Over several years, I scaled back my working hours at my then profession and spent more time with my daughter and on the toy store’s “becoming”. I loved finally being able to accompany my daughter on her field trips and attend her rugby games. I still do. I hate having to tell her that she can’t get new school clothes right now because we don’t have the money. Spending time with the families of the Down Syndrome Guild of Southeast Michigan or at The Children’s Center, for example, is joyous! Watching my husband work so hard to make ends meet is heartbreaking.
I know that this is God’s purpose for my life and my family agrees. I am grateful beyond measure for their unwavering, uncomplaining support. I am humbled by the sacrifices that my husband and daughter have made so that I can help give differently-abled children wings and a compass. So, I continue my journey.
Give us one word that people might use to describe you.
How has Project Eve helped you and/or your business?
Project Eve shared Ms. Genuity (formerly Nap Time Startups) in one of their e-newsletters. Ms. Genuity is a brand new crowdfunding company that focuses on mompreneurs. The article expressed that anyone interested should apply and so I did. I was interviewed along with many others and, happily, was chosen to be one of their five “Pioneering Women”. To make a long story short, Warner’s Corner Toys’ crowdfunding campaign launched today.
Give us an insider tip that relates to your industry or startup story.
The parents of children with special needs like to physically examine the toys and resources that they are considering purchasing. Is it safe? Does it develop the specific skill for which I need it? Can I afford it? Is it a good value?
Company: Warner’s Corner Toys
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