An interview with our recent Amber Grant award winner.
More with Amber Grant Recipient Ellen Richards of LetterLearning.com
Now that you have started a business, will you go back to teaching?
Not in the foreseeable future. I miss my students so much, but now that Letter Learning is on a roll and Katie (my 10 month old) is climbing stairs and curious about everything, it’s just not the right time for me to go back to teaching. I’m not ready to miss one smile or her first word.
What business start up cost did you encounter that were a surprise?
I was surprised at the cost of filing for an LLC and for the costs associated with website/email hosting. I did all of the design myself, (with a lot of luck and HTML trial and error), but running an e-commerce website is conservatively $40/month. Then, there are all of the small things that add up. For instance, bar codes, shipping costs, and the “extras” like the plastic sleeves that protect the cards, are all things the sneaked up on me.
Do you see LetterLearning expanding into different areas or will you stay focused on the present products?
Expanding, expanding, expanding! I love hearing feedback from customers (and non-customers) and I try to use their suggestions to better our lines. For example, we recently added down loadable e-cards, because several of our customers thought the price of individual cards was prohibitive. This way, they can still get the benefit of Letter Learning cards, in the convenience of their own home, at a fraction of the price. We are also working on building a line of postcards, cards with Math practice, and cards with Cursive. As fast as I can come up ideas or hear them from others, we try to implement them.
How has LetterLearning done?
Well, we’re still in the red, but we’re definitely climbing out of it (especially thanks to this Amber Grant) In addition to our own online store, another online boutique (www.EmilyKateBaby.com) sells our cards, and we are in talks with a few others. Recently, we joined forces with a greeting card sales rep and are hoping to get our cards in independent pharmacies around the US. Finally, we’ve got ourselves queued up to be the Daily Deal on a few group buying/group coupon sites to drum up interest. It’s slow going, but the progress is definitely steady.
The latest recipient of the $500.00 Amber Grant for Women Business Owners will be announced on July 15th. Applications for the September 30th deadline are now being accepted. Click here to find out more information: http://ambergrantsforwomen.com/Amber-Grants/apply.php