In the series of interviews with market leaders, change-makers, and innovators, we bring our next interview with an Entrepreneur, marketing professional & mother, Mrs. Shireen Sultana, Co-founder, Kinderpass.
Shireen Sultana is driven by the single-minded belief that understanding the customer in-depth before evolving any offering for them, is crucial to its success. This belief helped her successfully grow brands and businesses across sectors as diverse as telecom, consumer goods, and apparel, in a corporate and entrepreneurial career spanning over fifteen years.
KinderPass is an early learning and child development guide in your pocket, launched by two young mothers Sumedha Khoche and Shireen Sultana to fill in the gap of well-curated content for parents which are tailored for their babies. Kinderpass brings together principles of Montessori and a repertoire of scientific research on early development.
KinderPass offers over 1200 ‘Play to Learn’ activities shaped for babies, toddlers, and pre-schoolers, created and developed by early childhood experts, Paediatricians, Lactation Consultants, Physiotherapists, Psychologists, and Nutritionists. With 50,000 users in 2000 cities, KinderPass has registered 60-70% growth in usage in March during the lockdown and in the backdrop of WFH.
- What was the motivation behind starting Kinderpass?
I and my co-founder go very back. We have known each other for a long and our kids were born at the same time. The main trigger point was lack of guidance during our early parenthood. As working parents, our schedule wasn’t going well with parenthood. We researched a lot and that is how we came up with the idea.
- Let us through the services & products offered by Kinderpass.
Basically, It is a one-stop solution for parents in form of an app. It has more than 1000 activities for children ranging from newborn to 7 years of age.
For children 0-3 Years, their parents sign up and we guide them about activities which they can do with their baby. It is important that parents inculcate those habits and we help them in doing that. Apart from it, we make parents aware of parenting. For example, A child can’t see any color except black & white till 4months. We help parents understand what is best suited for their children when they grow up. We also allow parents to record memories of their children.
After 3 years, Children need guided support in some areas. At this stage, we provide developmental activities for children so they are ready for school.
Our app is anchored around cognitive, linguistic, physical & social pillars of development. It is difficult for children to sit for long hours, We make it interactive fort em so they have fun and they learn also.
- Being married mothers, What were the main challenges you faced as an entrepreneur?
We were lucky to have a decent support system during the times of our starting days. We were always torn in the dilemma of which baby should be our focus upon- our kid or our venture. Maintaining the schedule was the main challenge but support from our families and our spouses drove us through that phase safely.
- What was the initial reception of your products among the parents?
Being marketers, I & Sumedha believe in a strong pilot run. So We decided to test this whole concept of activities with a small group of 150 parents across India & Singapore. We would send personal messages and emails regarding the activities. It turned out to be a brilliant experiment. 75 percent of the people did those activities, we had a 90 percent email conversion ratio.
- How do you see this market of children and their development shaping up?
This market has two components. Early parenting & Early Development. Early development is what we focus on. We are using parents in the first 3 years to help the child grown and teachers after that to help the child grow. Online education is growing in India.
Early learning as a market is at a very nascent stage and it stands as a market that has abundant potential and it is untapped.
The pandemic has opened up prospects and we can see more players foraying into the same.
- How important is it for brands to form trust with their consumers?
In our segment, trust is a major factor. Although they don’t entrust us directly with their child still it is a big thing. A lot of questions arise such as “Am I looking at the right person for advice?” Frankly, you won’t go to unmarried friends for questions related to marriage. Today, We have parents asking for guidance in color selection for their kids to book recommendations for their children.
As founders, we interact a lot with our customers. We are trying our best to keep that interaction going on.
- Recently, We have ads related to kids with a lot of vague and dishonest promises. What is your take on ethical branding?
Both Sumedha & I are marketing professionals. We had sold consumer goods before foraying into enterprenerushi[. Ethical branding and marketing are very important to us.
At Kinderpass, we don’t leverage the emotional angle of fear. Marketing depends totally on what the brand is leveraging. We can operate from a place of fear or greed also but in the end, if you have faith in the product you have created it is not really needed.
In our case, We have parents speaking for us. Rather than brands speaking for themselves, it should be consumers who speak for the brand then only everyone will hear your voice also.
- Tell us about the entrepreneurial journey and your learnings from it?
It is a long way to go. We started recently. As a marketing professional, we had our job description defined, but in entrepreneurship, you have to do everything on your own.
From putting packages in a courier to talking as a customer representative to replying to emails. An entrepreneur dons every hat and they can’t leave anything stone unturned.
My two major learnings are-
- Connecting dots for the bigger picture.
- Donning every hat as an entrepreneur.
Team Next Big Brand extends heartiest wishes to Shireen and the amazing team at Kinderpass. Kudos to her for such an amazing and insightful interview.
You can check our other interviews here.