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Friday, September 20, 2013

Amazing Mom Feature: Chelle Ostlund, Discovery Toys

This week's Amazing Mom is Chelle Ostlund, an independent sales rep for Discovery Toys. Chelle  embodies how you can find opportunity and create success when faced with the new responsibilities and dedication required of motherhood. Through Discovery Toys, Chelle has found a way to provide an income  while having the ability to give her son the attention he needs

Chelle decided to work with Discovery Toys after the birth of her son because it gave her the flexibility she needed to take him to medical appointments and help him recover after surgery. While this was her primary focus when looking for a new career, Chelle also sought something that was more than a job. With it's wide range of educational toys, Discovery Toys enables Chelle to connect with Moms & families and help them make play an opportunity for education and development. See below for more about this Amazing Mom...

Image courtesy of Chelle Ostlund

      1.     What kind of products and/ or services do you offer?

Discovery Toys has been offering quality educational toys, books and games for children 0 - 12 for over 35 years.  We have now expanded our game selection to be more family orientated – I take a lot of them to adult only games nights! We offer a life time warranty on all the toys and games we sell and have replacement parts for many of the toys.

      2.     What is the price point?

Prices range from $8.00 to $105.00.
We carry 126 products in the new Fall 2013 catalog, half of which are under $20.00. This makes these great learning resources available to a wide range of families.

      3.     How long have you been operating and how did you start?

I started with Discovery Toys in September 2012. My son was born with cleft lip and palate concerns and has many appointments and surgeries on a regular basis. My mat leave was ending in a few months and I knew that going back to my previous position was just not going to be possible. The employer would not be able to give me the time off I would need for not only the appointments but also the recovery time periods of 2 or more months after each surgery.

      4.     How did you decide what to do?

I was actively looking for a business that would allow me to stay home with my son, offer the flexibility to take him with me on business appointments and provide a consistent income for my family. When I found Discovery Toys all my requirements were met. Additionally, because the toys are educational in nature they offer resources that will help my son with his speech therapy.

Starting this business was a perfect marriage between providing an income for my family and obtaining the resources my son needs at a discount.

      5.     What is your favourite part of what you do? What is the biggest challenge?

    I love doing home parties! It just feels really intimate and small compared to the fundraising with daycares, preschools and therapists that I do.  A lot of times it’s a play date that the host is holding at their home. There is a lot of activity, the kids are really testing out the toys and I love seeing the learning happen! It is great when a child runs over and is able to show their parent something they just learned how to do with one of my toys.

The biggest challenge I have is I think what a lot of first time, small business owners run into – getting myself out there. I know that what I do will change children’s lives and help them grow and learn developmentally.

I find that although I want to share this with parents I meet, I don’t want to be perceived as trying to sell something instead of truly being interested in learning about them and their children in a social way. I have done a lot of learning in the past year and now feel ready to offer my services in a way that is very easy going. And I don’t get hurt when people say “no”.

      6.     Any advice to other ladies/ moms looking to start their own business?

     Research – don’t just sign up or start a business without figuring out things like financials, how much time it will take, will you be able to balance work and family.

      Passion – you have to LOVE what you do, if you don’t you will be disappointed. Being in business for yourself means you have to motivate yourself every day to keep going. If you don’t have passion it is going to be really difficult.

      Support – make sure you have the support of friends and family. These are the people you are going to be relying on a lot in the beginning- either for childcare, a shoulder to cry on or help producing a product. You will really learn a lot about your friends and family during the first few months of your new business. 

If you haven't checked out this cool company you definitely should. I remember as a kid my Mum bought me some goodies from Discovery Toys, and she still has them all ready to go for newest generation! The toys are high quality and educational, and there are options for a variety of developmental stages. 

     For more information about the products Discovery Toys has to offer (get a jump start on that Christmas shopping!), or if you would like to request some business information you can contact Chelle via email: all_4_mr_t@hotmail.com or check out her Facebook page.

And now for the really fun part! As part of this Amazing Mom Feature, we are giving away a Discovery Toys goodie- the Working Trio dump truck, courtesy of Chelle! 

Images courtesy of Chelle Ostlund.

The Working Trio can be stacked or linked and helps your little one learn cause & effect, audio discrimination, and helps develop their imagination, among other learning applications (See the info above). You can enter by sharing this post or liking The Pampered Baby & Chelle Ostlund Discovery Toys on Facebook, or leave a comment in the entry at the top of this page- that gives you up to 3 chances to enter! This contest ends Monday October 14 at 11:59pm.