With the endless opportunities the world of STEAM-based educational activity boxes has created, businesses and individuals alike were bound to find unique ways to translate this tremendous tool into a means by which to grow their brands. Carolyn Rahnama, founder of Busy Box Child, has a background in clinical child psychology with a focus on Children and play. She realised the dearth of meaningful games, tools and programmes in the market to engage her son and help in early development. Carolyn has found that many corporations and individuals lack the experience and means to create meaningful, impactful, and lasting educational activity boxes in this hyper-competitive children learning market.
Carolyn shares that, “By choice I was a stay-at-home mother so I can raise my children until they are old enough to be at school full time. During those days, I would make these activity boxes for my children (in Tupperware) to keep them busy and engaged. I always had a box or 2 handy for when we go to visit family or eat dinner at a restaurant so my children have something to do, and we can enjoy dinner peacefully. They loved these boxes and would ask for them all the time. We called them Busy Boxes. My son would tell his friends about them and tell them to tell their mom to make them a Busy Box.”
While many traditional businesses focus on profits, Carolyn has taken a different approach. She started Busy Box Child about 1 month after Covid started. She started the company to help parents to provide meaningful engagement to children. Everyone she knew was complaining about how much time their child was spending online at school and after school, on either a tablet, tv or some other unproductive screen activity. She started making boxes for her children initially. She thinks that if her boxes can take 2 hours away from the screen for a child, then she did her job. Initially, she gave many boxes for free until she started her business.
Based on her early years of child psychology, she understands that there is an interesting science behind why the first few years of a child are important and what impact it creates in their growth. The opportunity in the child learning space excited her and she could see how parents can engage kids while offering them a meaningful and positive early learning experience.
She started designing hands-on experiential learning programs for children, which is centred on playful activities. She included fun and engaging mini toys with different textures in her boxes. She also includes multiracial and multicultural figurines (based on the availability of very few vendors), as well as female figurines in male stereotypical roles and vice versa, however, very few wholesale toy companies offer them. Parents loved the idea of multiracial and multicultural toys and asked for more boxes all the time.
After establishing her company in the market, Carolyn decided to branch out and use social media in order to strengthen her company’s repertoire. She gained the attention of many Mommy influencers on Instagram who love her kits and ask for them for their children and post about them. This helped her Busy Box Child establish online in a multitude of ways. In regards to the impact the media plays in a brand’s success, she said, “Social media influences the people. If you can control the narrative of the media, the people will follow.”
After seeing the growth, she made the decision to work from home with limited space to oversee her children in school on Zoom rather than work out of her office with a lot of space. She has outgrown her space at home, especially in the recent months, but she will continue to make it work until her children go back to school.
Carolyn is one of those people who wants to look back and say, “I did it,” not “I should have done it.” Walt Disney has said once "The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." Carolyn started Busy Box Child with a simple business plan and grew it as needed, after her research, believe in yourself and don’t fear your competitors, learn from them. The more you understand what your competitors are doing, the better you’ll be at shaping your own unique vision and strategy. It’s important to remember that no one succeeds immediately, and everyone was once a beginner.
Steve Jobs wisely noted, “if you look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” As the child learning industry continues to evolve it is clear that it will require initiative and hard work from those who wish to stay on top. One thing is for sure, however the space changes, it is certain that Carolyn Rahnama will be there, leading the charge with Busy Box Child.