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Surprise Ride, Fostering Creativity In Kids, Expanding Their Horizons

Comforting it is to look back at the past (please pick your decade) and remember the good old days.

There were so many things that were very precious in what seemed like simpler times.

Having said that, no matter how good they were, previous to the year 2000, they were missing one very developed industry.

The internet.

Internet advertising, with its comparably low cost to print has been the boon to many budding entrepreneurs, especially female ones.

As reported on June 18, 2018 at smallbiztrends.com, “SCORE just announced the results of a report on female entrepreneurs. “The Megaphone of Main Street: Women’s Entrepreneurship” features a number of interesting stats on the state of business ownership among women.

The SCORE report found that 47% of female respondents started businesses within the last year, compared to 44% of male respondents.”

One of the female run companies that is making a name for itself is Surprise Ride.

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The global business news and information source CNBC related, “Many budding entrepreneurs pitch to “Shark Tank,” but few make a lasting impression like Donna and Rosy Khalife.

The sisters co-founded Surprise Ride, a box subscription service helps kids get off the gadgets and engage in the real world with hands-on activities. Little did they know that their mission to curate creative activities for children would eventually lead to one of the most unforgettable pitches in “Shark Tank” history.”

The two business women went on Shark Tank when they had procured approximately $18,000 in sales and now they are generating revenue in the millions.

Their pitch was enjoyable to watch and filled with humor.

While it lasts on YouTube, here is their pitch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZfovEkyDtY

Time for a meet and greet.

At their delightful site surpriseride.com they educate, “Through carefully curated activities, Surprise Ride aims to foster creativity in kids and expand their horizons. With a little hands-on learning and a lot of fun, we help kids exercise that special power of creative genius that empowers them to be tomorrow’s innovators. There’s no better way for kids to learn than by doing. There’s no better time than when they’re young and absorbing experiences like a sponge.”

For those of us who are parents, we know their concepts make complete sense.

We enjoyed their pitch on Shark Tank and even though they didn’t get a deal, we could see they were still a company to watch out for.

Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary seemed to think so as he tracked them down and made an investment outside of the Tank.

That is very unusual.

The dynamic business magazine businessinsider.com shared, “For the first time in seven seasons of “Shark Tank,” one of the Sharks has returned to invest in a company whose founders missed a deal during their appearance on the show.

Kevin O’Leary partnered with sisters Donna and Rosy Khalife, founders of the Washington, DC startup Surprise Ride.”

Mr. O’Leary’s decision appears to be a practical one.

The magazine adds that in the past year his most profitable “Shark Tank” investments have female CEOs. He told the Khalifes that he’s not exactly sure why that is, but he’s at least found from his own experience that his female CEOs are less volatile and better planners than his male leaders.

Very nice. Compliments in high places for Surprise Ride.

So what is their story anyway? At their website they continue, “We grew up in a very creative home. We were fortunate to have a dad who was an artist and facilitated DIY activities for us to do. Having experienced tremendous economic hardship during our own childhood, we never had the latest toys or gadgets. We had to find ways to entertain ourselves through hands-on projects and experiments. Our favorite memories as kids was getting immersed in those activities with our siblings and parents. Kids today are growing up differently and spending hours on end in front of screens. We want to help busy parents give their kids offline hands-on activities.

Surprise Ride solves the daily struggle parents face to get their kids off the screens and doing hands-on activities.”

Those do it yourself projects apparently payed off. Creativity often is born out of necessity.

That was their family experience. We would like to hear more about the two sister’s business experience.

“Donna’s experience has spanned both the business and creative fields. After leaving a career on Wall Street, Donna became fascinated with social enterprises and the collaboration between the business and non-profit worlds. She completed her MBA at Harvard Business School, where she published a case study on Social Entrepreneurship currently taught in classes. Instead of accepting lucrative job offers, Donna vowed to build an organization that would make a positive impact on the world.

Over the years, her career has taken her from the high rises of New York to the theaters of Hollywood. She has witnessed first-hand the immense potential of individuals who exercise both their reasoning skills as well as their imagination. Through Surprise Ride, Donna hopes to help kids play and explore the world creatively, and make the lives of parents a tad easier along the way.”

That is very admirable. Now for her sister’s story.

“Rosy focuses on delivering a unique and memorable experience to riders with every Surprise Ride package. She also oversees the operational logistics and ensures that the ride is running smoothly! She has experience in digital marketing, advertising, and media buying, having covered a number of well-known lifestyle brands during her time at M2M (Omnicom) in London and JWT.

Rosy completed a degree in Marketing at Providence College. She deeply enjoys the creative process and believes in the ability to nurture our minds to think innovatively.”

These two are so impressive that Fat Brain Toys decided to add them to their growing family.

Fat Brain Toys is a United States manufacturer and retailer of educational toys and games.

As reported on November 14, 2018, in the news section of Surprise Ride’s site, “Fat Brain Toys, one of the nation’s leading independent toy companies, today announced the acquisition of Surprise Ride, a subscription box service originally featured on ABC’s “Shark Tank”. The acquisition brings together two leaders in the educational toys space.”

We love how creativity, drive, and a great business plan can bring life to the toy industry which had been struggling in recent times.

The global news leader CNN reported on November 20, 2018, “Toys “R” Us filed for bankruptcy a year ago with plans to stay in business.”

Parent’s still need to buy their children toys and activity related items to spur their imagination.

Big-box retailers such as Target and Walmart are capitalizing on the demise of Toys R Us this holiday season and there is clearly is room for more entrepreneurs to have a piece of the toy market pie.

Surprise Ride is a wonderful children’s positive activity idea at just the right time and given the creativity and determination of Donna and Rosy their success should come as no surprise.

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