Children instinctively love music, but one South African entrepreneur is harnessing the power of music to give children’s brains a full workout. Wriggle and Rhyme, the brainchild of Kirsty Savides, is a business teaching children to embrace music and movement as part of their development.
LoA learned more about this unique business this month from founder Kirsty Savides.
What does your company do?
Wriggle and Rhyme is a proudly South African Music and Movement programme developed for children from 6 months to 6 years old. Focusing on a different theme each term, our dynamic classes use music as a catalyst for learning and development, in a unique and stimulating way.
“The Wriggle and Rhyme programme harnesses the incredible resource of MUSIC to give children's brains a full workout!”
What inspired you to start your company?
Desperate to find an inspirational music class for my toddler, earn an income and be based at home, I wrote and launched the first Wriggle and Rhyme programme in 2008. It all started with just one small class from my home in Fish Hoek, Cape Town. Having just celebrated its 10th birthday, Wriggle and Rhyme now has 16 unique programmes, populated with over 50 original songs. Four successful musical story CDs have also been launched, both digitally and for retail.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
The Wriggle and Rhyme programme harnesses the incredible resource of MUSIC to give children's brains a full workout! Music is a phenomenal learning tool. Functional MRI scans allow neuroscientists to see what’s happening in the brain, when engaged in music-based activities. What Neuroscientists are learning is that music is the only activity that lights up all areas of the brain simultaneously - giving the brain a full workout! This means that intentional, appropriate music-based activities can tap into a child’s memory, language development, listening skills, motor skills, emotional development and social skills, to name but a few, in a profound and lasting way.
“Our dynamic classes use music as a catalyst for learning and development, in a unique and stimulating way.”
“Wriggle and Rhyme has now become a viable competitor to some of the much larger international programmes that are available in our space.”
Tell us a little about your team
In 2011, Wriggle and Rhyme launched a Pre-Schools Programme in Cape Town, extending the programme from babies and toddlers, up to Grade R level (6 years old). Having built up and trained an exceptional staff team, there are hundreds of children participating in the Pre-Schools Programme across the Southern Suburbs and South Peninsula of Cape Town. In 2013 a Licensing Business Model was also developed. This allows other women to license the baby and toddler programmes to earn an income from home, with all the equipment, training and support provided to be successful. There are also currently seven successful branches running the baby and toddler programmes across Cape Town in Melkbosstrand, Panorama, Rondebosch, Claremont, Meadowridge, Constantia and Fish Hoek.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
Having trained as a musician, I never thought of myself as a business person, let alone an entrepreneur. However, I ended up in a career in corporate marketing, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Then, when my first child was born, I wanted to be with her as much as possible. My career just wasn't compatible with that. However, I've always needed to contribute financially to our household. When my second child was a toddler, I was looking for a music-based programme to take him too and just couldn't find anything that really inspired me. I had an idea for a programme of my own, and with some encouragement from my husband and family, I decided to start a class from home. Looking back, it was very basic, but the feedback I got from my first small group of customers was so positive. Soon, my classes grew in size and number and I was looking to employ other teachers.
My staff team grew quickly ... but in a desperate attempt to keep my overheads down, I was doing everything myself. By the time my third child was born, I was utterly exhausted and on the verge of giving up. I thought it would be easier to go back to a corporate job, without the responsibilities and demands of working for myself. However, a chance conversation with my father-in-law, encouraged me to re-think the business model. The programme was successful, it was the business model that was at fault! The existing model couldn't cope with the growth. In 2013, after a lot of preparation work, I licensed the programmes. This allows other women to use my business model to work for themselves. The business continued and expanded into pre-schools and I wrote more and more programmes and have also released 4 musical story CDs. So, from very humble beginnings, Wriggle and Rhyme has now become a viable competitor to some of the much larger international programmes that are available in our space. I'm extremely grateful for the journey so far, and excited by what the future holds!
“We have proved over the past 10 years that our business model can grow and scale successfully.”
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
We have proved over the past 10 years that our business model can grow and scale successfully. We would like to expand to 12 successful branches across the greater Cape Town area within the next 2 years, and then further across South Africa.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
My goals have always been:
To be available for my children and part of their day-to-day lives
To contribute to our household income and relieve some of the financial pressure from my husband
To empower other women to work for themselves, using our successful business model
To educate parents on the value of music education, in a market that is largely dominated by sport-based / gross-motor activities for children
I keep these goals at the forefront of my thinking every day ... they keep me going through the good, the bad and the ugly!
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Just do it! But, be savvy! Know your market, make sure your idea is one that people will pay money for and be extremely fussy about quality and customer care. Work hard and earn your business, don't just expect it!
Contact or follow Wriggle and Rhyme
Why LoA loves it….
There is always something truly inspirational about watching a woman entrepreneur growing a business over time and then seeing it take off on a new trajectory. Kirsty Savides is a great example of a woman entrepreneur who has built a fast growing and successful business based on a good idea and a great new business model. It’s a winning combination and makes this business one to really watch over the next few years. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and ceo of Lionesses of Africa