Name: Gauri Nanda
Business: Toymail, talking toys for kids
Location: New York, U.S.
Reason for starting: Toymail was founded in 2012 with a mission is to keep families connected without putting kids behind another screen. While we love technology, we believe it can be designed better for kids. The ‘Mailmen’ are the first in a series of talking toys that deliver voice messages that friends and family send via the Toymail app. Toymail toys can receive new content to delight, inspire, and educate. They can take kids on new adventures every single day.
Our goals are to develop a brand that brings good technology to kids. We want to encourage open-ended, experimental play but do so in a way that is up-to-speed with advancing technology. Our first product does this by keeping families connected to kids they love without putting a child in front of another screen. We want to keep innovating in a way so that parents know they should come to us for healthy child-safe technology.
How do you define success? Success in business means breathing new life into products, experiences, and industries, re-inventing and improving the way we live our lives.
Biggest Success: I’m an MIT graduate and founded Toymail with my best friend, Audry Hill, a mother of three. At the age of 25, I brought to market my first product, the alarm clock that runs away called Clocky®, as featured on the cover of Inc magazine, the Today Show, Good Morning America, the NY Times… just to name a few. The product redefined the way we wake up in a way that was was funny and quirky but also that made people think about the way objects in our lives are designed.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? I think one of the most important challenges we all face today has to do with work/life balance. To achieve a good balance, I make sure that the first hour of my morning is for me. No email. I exercise. Sometimes it’s a jog, sometimes it’s yoga, sometimes, it’s a brisk walk. All have their benefits in their own way. The night before (ideally) I’ve broken my list down into a manageable number of to dos. This list is moved from a much larger list of to-dos so that I don’t get distracted by longer term items. A smaller list is achievable and makes you feel good as your cross things off. While winding down from exercise, I ask myself what are the three most important things I’d like to do today? I do those first. Always be mindful of the 80/20 rule. What’s the 20% that gets you the most results and the 80% that’s holding you back and/or making you unhappy? Get rid of the 80.
Related: A Daily Mantra for Entrepreneurs
Who is your most important role model? I don’t have one role model. Instead, I tend to find the specific qualities I see in everyone and think about how I can do better. My parents for their hard work, my best friend for her patience, my brother for his creativity and free-spiritness. The list goes on. I love thinking about what others are good at and why.
Edited by The Story Exchange