May 24, 2022
We’re excited to announce the $10,000 April Amber Grant recipient. Congratulations to BreAnna Drysdale, founder of Best Kept Secret. She is the April qualifier for the 2022 year-end Amber Grant ($25,000).
Recently, WomensNet Advisory Board member Marcia Layton Turner sat down with BreAnna for an exclusive interview. You can listen to their conversation and view the transcript below.
WomensNet: Welcome everyone. Today, we’re having a conversation with our Amber Grant winner for April 2022, BreAnna Drysdale, who’s the owner of Best Kept Secret.
I’m Marcia Layton Turner and I’m a WomensNet Advisory Board member. So, Brianna, thank you so much for joining us today. I appreciate your time.
BreAnna: Thank you for having me.
WomensNet: Why don’t you tell everybody about Best Kept Secret and what it is that you offer?
BreAnna: Sure. Best Kept Secret is kind of a hands-on resource library for elementary aged kids. I have things from preschool through fifth grade. Basically, I came up with the idea because during the pandemic we did homeschooling and since previously we had done public school, we didn’t have all the resources in our house. We hadn’t been building it up. So I soon realized that while there was so many great hands-on resources out there, they add up super quick. So I felt like I had to really pick and choose because, you know, that was taking part of our monthly budget, and also the space just to store everything.
So we got through that year and the kids are back in public school. But I just kept thinking about how I probably was not the only one feeling those things. And there really wasn’t anything. Sure, the library — we would check out books and they have a couple games like board games. But nothing like this. And so I thought I would take a chance and just see if there was any interest, and I’ve gotten a lot of great response.
I do different hands-on manipulatives. Like [showing the camera] tangrams, which I’m sure a lot of people remember from school. I’ve got letter manipulatives, so we’ve got capitals and lowercase. These are little popsicles. I’ve got all sorts of different subjects.
I think it’s important to include things like art and music. [Showing the camera] Some of my favorite are these little color palettes. So if you mix the red and the yellow, you can see that they make orange. And so that’s fun.
I’ve got some emotional awareness items. So [showing the camera] this is the big feelings pineapple, and it kinda works like a Mr. Potato Head. So this one would be like, ‘what’d you think of that food last night? Well, it was disgusting.’ So, you know, it goes through all the emotions. So science and math, I have a lot right now [but] I’m working on building more of reading and language arts.
WomensNet: Where’s the greatest demand, and, and how does it work? Talk about process.
BreAnna: It’s kind of like a subscription service, so it’s local, so you don’t have to ship anything or wait for it to come in the mail. People will come in — they pay one really affordable monthly fee — and they can have up to three items checked out at a time. So if they wanted to check out a science item and keep that for a month, they can. If they wanted to have two other items and check them out and then bring them back the same week, that works too. That way you can really just change through the items. So like fraction items. I know when my kid was learning fractions, there was a lot of great resources, but we didn’t need them for a great length of time. Because once she understood them, she got the hang of it. So we weren’t gonna use them all the time.
So that’s kind of my specialty — those items that aren’t long term, but kids can really benefit from them.
WomensNet: So somebody could conceivably come back every day and trade them in?
BreAnna: Oh yeah. Every day that I’m open, they could come by. I would love to see them. And I like helping pick out some things. For the summer, I’ve actually added a few items specific for, say, road trips. And when you’re at the pool… some of that imaginary play. Just getting their brains going without video games and other electronic items.
WomensNet: So how did you originally hear about the Amber Grant?
BreAnna: Our local town has a kids fair, and someone came up and they were really interested. And they were like, ‘well, did you get a grant for this or something?’ And I was like, ‘oh, a grant. I never even considered that…’
So I started doing some research online and I’ll be honest. I was a little nervous about a lot of the places that we’re offering grants because my husband is a professional hacker… and so I double check on things if they’re legit. Just kinda that paranoid way of thinking because I live with him. But I started really diving into the website and reading past winners’ stories and there are a lot of amazing people out there doing great things. So I took a chance and applied.
WomensNet: I know you haven’t known for very long, but have you started to think about how you’re going to use the $10,000 to build your business?
BreAnna: I have. Right now, just getting started, I was using all my own money and so I have enough materials to serve a certain amount of people. But I am kind of worried about growing too quickly. So I’ve been kind of holding back a little bit, not fully putting myself out there because I was nervous.
Now, I am going to use the money to double my inventory. That way I don’t have to worry about that and I can just invite as many people that want to join to join. And then the other part, I’m going to invest in advertising locally.
WomensNet: So looking even beyond the, the short term, as you continue to grow, what are some of your future plans?
BreAnna: Well, I definitely want to move to a different location. My lease is up in a year and this location is great for starting out, but I would love to move to a place that has more visibility, just to attract even more people.
This community has a really great homeschool community. So I know that just being able to have people see on their way to and from places that I exist, that that will help me, in turn, help them. Because this business will be really beneficial for homeschoolers.
WomensNet: Do you have any advice for aspiring women entrepreneurs? Anything that you’ve learned along the way that you might share with them?
BreAnna: That’s a great question. Because I feel like I’m just starting out on the whole process.
But one thing that really works for me, and could probably work for some other people, is journaling. So when I’m trying to make some important decisions, I just like to make a quick note about the thing that I’m thinking of and then how I’m feeling in that moment. Then I can start to see patterns in the way that I’m thinking. So maybe I really don’t want to do a particular thing, but every night that I’m thinking about it, I’m exhausted. And so that’s the reason why I don’t want to do it. But if I have that same feeling, you know, in the middle of the afternoon on a day when I’m well rested, then maybe I should pay more attention to that.
WomensNet: I think tapping into your energy levels as you’re evaluating all the millions of things you could do… that’s really smart. Thank you. And thank you so much for taking a few minutes of your time to share your story with the WomensNet community. And congratulations again on being our April Amber Grant winner.
BreAnna: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.