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Business Ideas – 3 Success Lessons From Julie Aigner-Clark (Baby Einstein)
Today we’re going to take a closer look at a stay-home mom who just wanted to make a video to entertain and educate her children, but in the process helped develop a billion dollar business. This is the story of Baby Einstein developer Julie Aigner-Clark and the top 3 lessons that you can learn from her success.
“Before Baby Einstein, I was an English major in college and after that I was a teacher in high school and left when I had my first baby. At that time, there was nothing that existed that was fun educational videos for babies. That is when I realized that there was a need in the market place and best of all I was my own customer.” – Julie Aigner-Clark
Julie Aigner-Clark (born February 16, 1947) is an American entrepreneur that developed the Baby Einstein video series for children. She grew up in Michigan and went to Michigan State University, where she majored in the humanities. Right out of school, Aigner-Clark began teaching English to high school students. She was enjoying her new profession and her ability to help shape and educate young minds, when something happened that would change the course of her life forever.
After Aigner-Clark had her first daughter, she became fascinated by the latest research dealing with newborns and their capacity to learn. She began to search baby stores far and wide for material that was both educational and appropriate for her child’s development, while still being fun. At the end of her search, Aigner-Clark had come up empty handed. So she began to think about creating her own product. She thought that if she couldn’t find what she was looking for in stores, maybe other mothers were in the same situation. Being the busy mother that she was, however, she didn’t act on her idea until a full year later.
Along with her husband, Aigner-Clark borrowed a friend’s video camera and headed into her basement to film what would become the first of many Baby Einstein videos. With her baby as the live audience, her cat as a prop, and her husband as the videographer, the pair set out to create their vision. Turned down by many retailers, Aigner-Clark decided to hit the floors of toy trade shows to get the word out about her product. Still, she found it difficult to find people who shared her enthusiasm. Finally, however, Aigner-Clark was able to convince a buyer from The Right Stuff, a high-end toy retailer, to stock a few trial copies of her video in their stores. When they sold out within three days, The Right Stuff agreed to sign an exclusive deal with Aigner-Clark. Baby Einstein videos were now being distributed in 34 stores across the country, and selling out fast. Today, the Baby Einstein is being produced by Disney and total revenues are over $1 billion annually.
Action Item #1: Look for a Need
Action Item #2: Spread the Word
Action Item #3: Build a Brand
Julie Aigner-Clark fired up the TEDxDetroit Conference in Michigan in September 2011 by telling her remarkable story. The story began with her discovering that she had Stage 4 cancer and ended tearfully with her telling how she help build a billion dollar business while working at home in her pajamas. Aigner-Clark told the audience, “All the important work I have done in my life, I have done in my pajamas.”
Her inspiring story brought tears to everyone’s eyes, but part of the keynote address was Aigner-Clark’s lecture on the importance of self confidence, which she claimed helped her build the Baby Einstein video series and battle against breast cancer. Aigner-Clark told the crowd how you must believe in yourself, even if no one else does. Her powerful recovery from cancer, her creation of a billion-dollar business and her ability to raise three children are all attributed to her belief that anyone can do it as long as they have self confidence.
“In terms of regrets, I do not really have any. I have been able to be with my family much more than I ever could have for the past five years.”
“The response was amazing. Parents loved the video and it flew off the shelves, really by word of mouth.”
“In the first year, with one title, we made $100K in revenue. This was nearly five times my teaching salary.”
Peter Doolittle: How your “working memory” makes sense of the world
“Life comes at us very quickly, and what we need to do is take that amorphous flow of experience and somehow extract meaning from it.” In this funny, enlightening talk, educational psychologist Peter Doolittle details the importance — and limitations — of your “working memory,” that part of the brain that allows us to make sense of what’s happening right now.
Peter Doolittle is striving to understand the processes of human learning.
WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM?
Peter Doolittle is a professor of educational psychology in the School of Education at Virginia Tech, where he is also the executive director of the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research. He teaches classes such as Cognition and Instruction, Constructivism and Education, Multimedia Cognition and College Teaching, but his research mainly focuses on learning in multimedia environments and the role of “working memory.”
Doolittle has taught educational psychology around the world. He is the executive editor of the International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and the co-executive editor of the International Journal of ePortfolio.
The future of health is here today: John Lewis, Ph.D.
John Lewis, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Lewis is the principal investigator of several nutrition, dietary supplement, and exercise studies.
H. Rafael Chacón- What My Genes Tell Me
Art Historian H. Rafael Chacón talks about how an academic exercise turned into a personal journey when he had his DNA sequenced by the National Geographic Geno 2.0 project. Rafael is professor of Art History and Criticism in the School of Art at the University of Montana. A specialist on renaissance and baroque art, Rafael teaches a range of topical courses on the history of art and art criticism. His academic interests lie in the ways societies articulate their most profound values through art; in particular he researches, lectures and writes about architectural history and historic preservation.
When life throws you a curve-ball… David Ecker
When life throws you a curve-ball, either you have to duck, or learn to hit curve balls
David Ecker is a Stony Brook graduate who previously served as the Interim Director/Manager of Client Support for over 10 years and led the Project 50 Managed Output initiative. He focuses on strategic planning, partnering with researchers and developing best practices for the research community.
Lessons In Leadership – Episode 2 – Family Businesses
When it comes to family-run businesses, there’s a common saying that the first generation creates a business, the second builds it and the third squanders it away.
Is there any truth to that? Bloomberg TV India’s Mini Menon discusses how best family run businesses survive generations as she speaks to Professor John Davis, Senior Lecturer of Business Administration, Harvard Business School on Lessons In Leadership.
Harvard Business Review: #1 Key to Motivation
In a multi-year study, researchers at the Harvard Business School first asked 600 managers from dozens of different companies to rank the impact of five factors that are normally associated with motivation – recognition, incentives, support from managers and colleagues, clear goals and a sense of making progress. In this first phase of the study, recognition for good work was ranked by managers as the most important factor in motivation.