It is no surprise that COVID has forced businesses to change how they provide products and services. For Wild Child Imagination Studio in Chatham-Kent, it has meant going back to the drawing board and building from the ground up.
However, this time the focus is not only in Chatham-Kent but also across all of Canada. Starting October 20, Wild Child Imagination Studio is launching a new monthly subscription program that brings the joy of play, creativity, and learning right to the kitchen table.
“Kids are desperate for fun, creative, and interactive play,” said Jess Kroez, Owner of Wild Child Imagination Studio. “Parents are also searching for no-hassle solutions to get their kids away from YouTube and actually thinking and experiencing life.”
The new subscription program will deliver a monthly experience right to the parents’ door. Each themed package will include five different colours of dough and there will be three levels of sensory play kit options launching on the website.
“I asked my fans and followers what they wanted and the first few kits are going to be woodland and holiday themed. A perfect fit for the upcoming Christmas season,” said Kroez. “We make all of the dough using food-grade, non-toxic, safe ingredients. After all, fun must also be safe.”
When asked about how business was going prior to COVID, Kroez explained that things were going extremely well.
“I was seeing more and more people attending my events on a regular basis and Family Day in February was such a huge success for me. Business was really taking off and it was exciting,” said Kroez. “Then the pandemic hit and it was an immediate stop. My entire business was based on kids and families getting together to interact in a shared space and be messy.”
“It was heartbreaking to have to step back and put things on hold, but I made the choice to take a break and use the time to refocus.”
The time was put to good use as Kroez explained that she shifted her business model from providing services to providing products.
“Moving from selling a service to selling a product has been a big learning curve, but I love it. I realized that the core of my business is about the customer and as long as I stayed true to providing them with the best experience, then I can adapt to anything,” said Kroez. “Don’t get me wrong though it has not been easy, especially during the challenges of a pandemic and with kids at home.”
Fortunately, for Kroez and many other business owners across Chatham-Kent, they have not had to do everything alone. Thanks to the team at the Small Business Centre and Economic Development, support has been there for every business, of every size.
“I have been working with Jess and Wild Child for two years now and she is a great example of a business owner who is able to adapt, find opportunity, and make a plan to take action on that opportunity,” said Taylor Hughes, Economic Development Officer. “I have to stress the amount of hard work and time that she is putting in to make her business a success. It’s inspiring.”
The shift in business has been more than just the model itself. There is have also been changes to the technology driving the business.
“I’m completely changing the entire backend of my website and moving to the Shopify platform, which is also part of my launch on October 20th,” said Kroez. “I have already started selling across Ontario and I have reached capacity for what I could to with my current platform. With plans to expand sales across Canada, I needed the right tools to be able to meet demand.”
While Wild Child Imagination Studio will still offer local incentives for people in Chatham-Kent, they are also opening up special behind-the-scenes incentives and discounts through their newsletter called Dough Club.
“Not to give too much away, but we have some pretty amazing themes related to dinosaurs,” said Kroez. “If people want to get the insider info, they can sign up for free to the newsletter.”
There is little doubt that 2020 has been a year of sweeping change for people around the world. What is also clear is that businesses such as Wild Child Imagination Studio are able to meet these changes head on and focus on making the lives of people just a little bit brighter.
For more information about Wild Child Imagination Studio, visit them on their website at www.wildchildimagination.com.
The first Dough Club subscription box is Halloween-themed for creative kids to explore the season.
Marketing and Communications Officer
Economic Development Services, Community Development
Municipality of Chatham-Kent
124 Thames Street, Chatham, ON N7M 5K8