Stork.ly delivers valuable experience for 9-year-old entrepreneur
Between piano lessons, Mandarin classes and chess camp, 9-year-old Emma Renaud found time this summer to ask a follow-up question to the childhood curiosity of where babies come from.
"My mom was putting away some baby bibs, and I asked how new parents got the essentials they needed for their baby," Emma said in a Skype interview last week. "She said if they are lucky, they have family to help them, or they have to go get it for themselves."
It was this conversation that sparked Emma's inner entrepreneur. With the help of Emma's father, Christian Renaud, a principal at StartupCity Des Moines, the baby product delivery service, Storkly, was born.
(Left: Emma Renaud shows off her first checklist for Storkly. Photo courtesy of Christian Renaud.)
"It's its own little subculture, being a new parent," Christian, a self-titled "ex-brand new" parent, said. "You are shocked and awed about your new addition, and looking for any help."
(Left: Storkly entered into a design contest with 99designs, and Emma chose from 35 logo submissions for branding her startup.)
Since Storkly's launch in mid-June, the father and daughter, who serve as the company's "chief sanitation officer" and CEO, respectively, have been working hard to build the delivery service that helps new parents stock up on diapers, formula and "anything that makes their lives easier."
To get the ball rolling with Storkly, which Emma called "just a summer project," she entered local grocery stores, researched all the available baby products in the area and evaluated the prices from store to store. Based on the brand, product and price comparisons she collected, Storkly goods are then priced and accompanied by a $10 flat rate service charge for delivery to any location in the Des Moines area. Storkly users call or place orders directly from the site, pay with Dwolla, Paypal or a credit card and have baby essentials delivered to their door. Emma found other local grocery stores, including Hy-Vee, with similar services. However, the charge for delivery is $25, and prices per products vary.
Storkly has given away a few gift cards and promotional items and has already made a few deliveries. But the company hasn't officially started its big push quite yet, as Emma said she wanted to establish its platform and develop supplier relations to get the project off the ground.
Above all, Christian said, this is another learning experience for Emma and a hands-on way for her to understand "the get up and go" message of entrepreneurship. Said Christian: "She made use of her summer pretty well."
Now, with chess camp graduation behind her and a new school year just beginning, this fourth grader has quite the semester ahead of her as Storkly continues to move forward. This fall, Emma plans to take field trips to local doctors offices, maternity wards and mother-to-be events like Stork Afair, and tack up her hand-made fliers at coffee shops and OBGYN waiting rooms hopeful for future partnerships in the community and opportunities with parenting groups to attract new clients to her service.