We talked to Aviva Weiss of Fun and Function about building toys and therapy tools for kids with special needs.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Aviva Weiss: It’s been an interesting time. A lot of good came out of the difficulty. My kids have gotten closer with each other. I learned to live with uncertainty daily and go with the flow better than I could before. If you ask me how I feel about having my kids home from school on a moment’s notice or trying to get work done while making sure everyone else gets their work done, I’ll tell you that I know I’ll be okay.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Fun and Function.
Aviva Weiss: I’m trained as an occupational therapist. I founded the company to meet the needs of one of my own children, which clearly was a need that many other parents had as well. From there, the company has grown, and we’ve been able to help so many kids, and families get the tools and services they need.
How does Fun and Function innovate?
Aviva Weiss: It’s really through listening. We listen to the people we serve every day. We see problems as opportunities. Then we take the needs of our customers and the mistakes we made through the process and improve.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Aviva Weiss: There was a lot of uncertainty in March, which is still manifest in many ways today. We service the needs of many kids through schools, yet no one knew then, nor now, whether schools will be in session. It has affected the demand for certain products and services we have, so we pivoted in order to provide the best solutions possible for the current environment.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Aviva Weiss: In March, we needed to scale back on many expenses, which meant scaling back on our people. It was a painful and difficult decision, but we learned to be a leaner and more efficient team because of it. As difficult as it was, I would never give up that lesson. Since we function from a place of empathy and kindness, people respect the decisions that we needed to make.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Fun and Function in the future?
Aviva Weiss: Over time, I learned to acknowledge that I feel stressed and anxious because it’s okay. I forgive myself for not being okay all the time or not being as strong or emotionally competent as I would like to be. Then, when I’m ready, I pick up and move on. Fun and Function operates from a similar place of compassion. We are a company built on a platform of kindness, working to truly make the world a more inclusive place. Through our work and our mindset, we’ve been able to help some of the most amazing people.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Aviva Weiss: Definitely, Amazon. We’re a small company and proud of it. Remaining really niched allows us to know what we are doing extremely well. Each time we innovate, we’re creating something better for our customers, something that continues to educate and provide value beyond the product. This kind of thoughtful and meticulous curation isn’t something you’ll find from a big company like Amazon, which gives us an edge in the long-term.
Your final thoughts?
Aviva Weiss: I need a vacation!
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