Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Julie Aigner-Clark from Colorado sat by First Lady Lara Bush last night. I've invited her to join us at an IDEA Cafe to share her startup experience.

Who is she? This is from an interview with Julie in August, 2000 on

Julie Aigner-Clark is the founder of The Baby Einstein Company, an organization that produces developmental media designed to engage babies and very young children in the arts. With a wide range of products from videos to flash cards, Baby Einstein items encourage learning by fostering interaction between baby and parent. From its inception in 1997, the company grew into a multimillion-dollar home-based corporation receiving national media attention and accolades from its users (and their parents!). In November 2001, Baby Einstein became part of The Walt Disney Company and is now a leader in infant devleopment media including DVDs, videos, music CDs, books and toys.

How did you first come up with the idea for Baby Einstein?Believe it or not, when I stopped working when I was six months pregnant, I had no intention of going back to work. I was planning to be a stay at home mom! I was really committed to the mommy-thing. If this was going to be my new job, I was going to be the best I could be! My background is 'humanities' and the arts. Before having kids, I was a middle school and high school arts teacher. When my daughter was born, I started taking her to museums and places like that. But it wasn't very engaging to her or to me! And then I started thinking, "Am I the only mom who wants to develop the love of humanities and fine arts in her children?" So, the idea for Baby Einstein was born.

How did an "idea" turn into actuality?It took me until my daughter was about 18 months old to really start to put my ideas into action. I wanted to help mothers (and myself) spend quality time with their babies while exposing them to new cultural, musical, and artistic experiences. So, with no videography experience, I borrowed a friend's video equipment and started filming my first video in the basement of our home. My husband and I financed this project ourselves -- it cost about $18,000 to develop, design and package our first video, money that we took from our savings.

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