We talked to Elena Margulis and Christopher Lansaloot, founders of Kindaling, about educating kids and young couples and this is what they said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Christopher Lansaloot: Thank you, we are coping with the situation. Most importantly we are healthy and most of our friends and family are as well, although there were some tragic situations due to Corona already. Crazy times! Homeschooling is definitely a challenge with 4 boys from grade 1 to 5!
Elena Margulis: We just hope everyone stays healthy, but the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic is a big challenge, not only for us, for everyone.
Tell us about you, your careers, and how you founded Kindaling.
Christopher Lansaloot: After working for eBay for many years in different management roles, ranging from Marketing to Product I decided it was time to start something of my own. The idea of creating a marketplace for kids and family activities came from our own experience. Our kids were still young back then and I was trying to find suitable classes for them and I was shocked that there was nothing online. There were, of course, some websites and lots of print magazines, but nothing that I as a father found particularly helpful. Booking any of those classes was more than frustrating since you would have to call in or write an email. That was the first idea: Creating an activity booking platform for parents.
Elena Margulis: I joined Kindaling two years ago as Co-Founder & CMO. Christopher was desperately looking for a co-founder and an investor introduced us – and it clicked right away since we also complement each other in many areas.
How does Kindaling innovate?
Elena Margulis: Honestly, I believe all we do is innovative in some form or shape. Kindaling is an online booking platform for kids and family activities. Parents can easily find the right activity for their kids, from drawing to sports to music and more. What we try to push is an open and transparent work environment in which all ideas are welcome. As a team, we want to be as diverse as possible and we have an engaging customer base – so it is easy to come up with the ideas, all we need to do is make it happen.
Christopher Lansaloot: Tough times require innovation! Quickly after Covid-19, we launched a huge selection of online classes for parents and kids. Especially families in lockdown situations can benefit, but also for families in rural areas, this creates a long-term benefit.
Or our providers, Kindaling is the one-stop-shop– we manage their bookings, take care of their marketing activities and generate new clients. With that, we create a whole new market. Providers have less administration and can fully focus on the activity they offer.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Christopher Lansaloot: Quite a bit. Especially during the first wave, we saw a drastic decline. We managed to adjust quickly and were able to survive and even grow last year. I was super proud of our team.
Elena Margulis: It was a big team effort to keep growing under these circumstances.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Christopher Lansaloot: That’s the advantage of having a small team, we didn’t have to let anyone go and we stuck together – just re-prioritizing our focus.
Elena Margulis: Every team member (and freelancer!) is very passionate about our mission. During the lockdown, it was our biggest asset. What we had to learn was to make even more time for transparency regarding decisions and processes, even in very stressful situations.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Elena Margulis: That has largely evolved. We started out using Google Sheets as our first CRM approach but quickly reached a limit. Now we use Pipedrive for our customers.
Christopher Lansaloot: We have some corporate experience, so we know how a near-perfect CRM solution should look like. There is always a trade-off, we don’t want to create too much overhead while staying efficient and lean.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Christopher Lansaloot: We did, especially during the first wave and it helped us keep everything going, especially in those very first weeks in March, when the uncertainty about the situation was omnipresent.
Your final thoughts?
Christopher Lansaloot: We do believe that the Covid-19 situation made us stronger as a team. We had to be agile on the spot and we proved we could. I always like to think that everything happens for a reason.
Elena Margulis: I agree. This time gave us the opportunity to expand our business model and pushed us to become a better version of ourselves. Despite all difficulties, we are grateful for the opportunities that we have.