In todays tech-driven world, digital content surrounds us and plays a major part of our everyday lives; particularly for the younger generation who have grown up with a phone, laptop or tablet screen in their hand and see it as an extension of their own arm. Looking to capitalise on the mobile content wave, Jenk Oz set up iCoolKid.com in late 2016 in London. A fresh view of online news and entertainment consumption, iCoolKid.com delivers fast-paced, ‘cool’ content for the mass of Gen Zer’s and is growing rapidly, aiming to have an annual revenue rate of £30,000 – £50,000 at the end of their first year.
What does your business do?
iCoolKid is made up of lots of different parts. We have a website – iCoolKid.com, a collection of social media platforms, a YouTube channel housing original productions, a weekly curated ‘new’ music playlist on Spotify, a series of ‘club style’ mixed playlists housed on Soundcloud, a production facility and a filming studio referred to as ‘The iCoolKid Garage’. We also hope to launch a cool line of street wear called iCoolKidGear later in the year.
The iCoolKid website is currently the UK’s biggest digital media platform of its kind with over 2,000 original articles spread across the seven channels. The site doesn’t focus on daily news, the most popular sports or celebrity gossip but instead on original ‘cool’ content. We want to share timely, engaging, trendy and educational content to young people to keep them in the know and inspire positivity – all whilst being ‘cool’ and ‘safe’. We want to be a motivating force that encourages kids just like me to do whatever makes them happy.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
When I was little, my parents took me to see lots of live performances and fun events around London. Some of them were a little weird but all of them were fun and entertaining in their own way. Going to all these different events made me realise how much I wanted to try and explore lots of new activities to see what I liked! I started taking some after-school classes, everything from acting to street dance to graffiti painting, even DJing & music production!
I shared all my ideas with my friends at school and soon they began coming along to shows with me to see what they were all about. After a few months, parents started asking my mum what I was doing at the weekend, so we decided to write an email and send it around to school parents, who would then send it to their friends at other schools. When I was 8 years old, I decided to present the idea at school during Show & Tell and, three years later, iCoolKid was born.
How did you know there was a market for it?
It used to be the case that older teenagers were the ‘go to’ cool kids for all things tech etc. but now all young people can get informed super quickly, even 2 year olds are using iPads. Tech products are now cheaper, safer, and easier to use than ever before, and with gaming and social media all online, it’s super easy for kids like me to get information and advice about what’s cool.
Like me, the iCoolKid audience knows how they want to spend their birthday and allowance money, and we are the ones older relatives will go to when they want to buy something! As we’re always online, we have more confidence offering our opinion because we have access to more information and can build up product knowledge very quickly.
As a result, a gap now exists between young people’s new-found knowledge, curiosity and tech savviness, compared to what is currently available online, which parents can be wary and unsure of. Naturally parents want safe, age appropriate websites, and young people like me want a cool, innovative, trendy one-stop digital hub. That’s why we built iCoolKid.
How did you raise funding, and why?
My parents fund the business and we have not needed outside capital yet. My mother recognised that I was displaying the early signs of a true entrepreneur, and set her sights on making my dreams a reality, for which I am so grateful! She has used her own expertise and knowledge as a successful business woman to help me get iCoolKid off the ground.
Describe your business model in brief
Ad space on our website and You Tube channel
Affiliate programmes- our products on the website are generally linked to affiliate programmes
Consulting- paid fees as we are specialists 8-15yrs olds. For example, a chocolate bar company may want to finalise colour choices for their new wrapper, we can poll our demographic faster and deeper than anyone else.
Production- both facilities and team hire as they are all in-house and we have a full production facility and state of the art studio
Paid ‘influencer’ speaker appearances
Content- Syndication & Weekly columns in other publications
– Upcoming clothing line
Your lowest point was…
Getting the word out to young people everywhere. Social media helps but you need to think out of the box to reach people in more remote places. You can build the best website in the world but if no one knows about it, you will struggle to keep it going. I really hope we can reach out to kids all over the world with our content and make them feel a part of iCoolKid.
Your highest point was…
The best moments I have had with iCoolKid have been when I started to get interviews with celebrities like Idris Elba, Gemma Arterton and David Haye. It’s always amazing when such talented people agree to be interviewed by me, and give great answers to my questions! This is by far one of the best bits of working on iCoolKid, and means we can produce really exciting and fun content for our audience.
The best thing about operating my own business is the amazing things I’ve learnt from a very young age which will hopefully put me in good standing later in life, and the best part is that my friends and family are all so involved in the project alongside me.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
First thing is to get your idea out of your head and onto paper. The best way is to story board your idea every day for 30 straight days ‘think it, ink it’. Secondly, create an ‘Ideas Board of Directors’ to talk things through every month. Start by thinking of a diverse group of people who are great listeners and able to share their time and sound advice with you. For example, a teacher from school, your mum’s friend who is a lawyer, your uncle the tech expert and your teenage cousin the fashion blogger.
Then you will have 4-5 people you can count on to bounce your ideas off and give you honest advice. Because these people won’t be involved every day, they may see things in a totally different light. There are also lots of Young Entrepreneur Fairs and Business Camps popping up these days, where you can go and meet other motivated young people and share ideas. These types of events can provide a great opportunity to develop entrepreneurial skills and gain confidence talking about your ideas in front of other like-minded people.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
I would like to find a balance between my business and performance life. In business, having 1 million visitors a day to the site would be a goal to aim toward. With respect to performing, I would like to be able to do a lot more theatre and film work. I’m really passionate about my acting, singing and musical interests. Although I must admit, I struggle to balance every day!
If you weren’t an entrepreneur, you would be…
If I hadn’t started my own business I believe I would be pursuing my dream to be a professional performer – even more so than I’m doing now! This is a real passion of mine and one that I work really hard to balance alongside my other commitments.
If you could go back in time, would you do anything differently?
Interestingly, a lot of the mistakes I have made have allowed me to learn unexpected lessons and in some cases mistakes have led me down a path to better things. Yes, you can always do this differently but for now making mistakes is part of my day every day!
What is your philosophy on business or life, in a nutshell?
Definitely, work hard play hard! After all I’m still a kid at heart.