When Amalie and Christian Hughes became parents, they realised just how little kid-friendly content there is out there. In March 2013, the entrepreneurial parents launched Toddler Learning Fun, a YouTube channel that brings entertainment and education together. Here’s their start-up story.
What does your business do?
We create engaging, educational content for children all over the world to watch and learn through our YouTube channel and more recently our Toddler Fun Learning app.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
It came from having our own children and realising the online content out there wasn’t good enough. We didn’t initially start out as a business. When our children Josh and Poppy got to the age where we were looking for educational content for them to watch on YouTube we were shocked to find there wasn’t really anything out there we would be happy for them to watch. With Christian’s background being in video production he thought he would give it go and create his own and this sparked his creative side and so we started making content for the kids and it grew from there.
How did you know there was a market for it?
From looking for quality content for our own children to watch which was educational we realised that there was a gap in the market. Poor quality American offerings on YouTube were getting tens of millions of views.
How did you raise funding, and why?
We have grown organically, and without funding up to now. When we started in 2013 it was something we did in our spare time (not that we had much with two little children). Christian initially started producing all of our content when he had the time normally of an evening, and Amalie recorded the voiceovers – it really was on a shoestring, but it has built up organically from there. Once we started bringing in ad-revenue through YouTube, we started sourcing freelance animators to help create the content and it has continued to grow from there. We now work with around 15 freelancers including animators, script writers, song writers, singers, developers and Voiceover artists.
Describe your business model in brief.
Our absolute main driver is to create the best content possible for the children and parents who watch our videos, in a safe environment. Our business model has to support this mission. Our revenue currently comes from three areas: ad revenue from YouTube, streaming and downloads of our nursery rhymes album across Spotify and Apple Music, and App Subscriptions.
To some extent, creating videos for a YouTube audience does affect the content we produce because we need to produce content that will be “searchable” and pick up a large audience on the platform. With the app, it enables us to produce content purely based upon what we think our audience will adore and learn the most from.
Your lowest point was…
Seeing the difference between YouTube ad revenue in December and January for the first time!
Your highest point was…
Was when we received our framed Silver YouTube Play Button for hitting 100,000 subscribers (December 2016).
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Try and find something you are truly passionate about together with something that will make a valuable difference to your customers. Also, think of ways that you can generate revenue without you personally having to be present.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
We want to be the number one online kid’s educational content platform in terms of parental trust, and popularity with children.
If you weren’t an entrepreneur, you would be…
Fed up of the nine-to-five!
If you could go back in time, would you do anything differently?
We probably wouldn’t have called the channel Toddler Fun Learning – as that restricts us in terms of how old we can go with our content. We’d like to create content for our own kids as they get older, so this might have to be a future separate project!
What is your philosophy on business or life, in a nutshell?
Work doesn’t have to be dull or boring – we try to have as much fun as possible making these videos and digital products for children, and I think that shows in the final product. At Toddler Fun Learning we strive to work with talented people who share this view.