Monday, July 1, 2013

Spotlight on Mom: Raelyn Bleharski of Sproutkin


I am excited to share this week's Spotlight Mom with you, as offers a great service -- children's book delivered right to your door, which are all carefully selected and educator approved, for children ages 0-6 years old.

"Sproutkin was the answer to a child's never-ending request for more books. 4-year old Ellie grew bored of her static book collection and constantly asked for new books. Ellie's mom, Raelyn, had limited time to regularly visit bookstores and libraries, and was hesitant to order books online without browsing them. We developed Sproutkin to give all children unlimited access to books. And for the parents? Now we don't need to carve out precious time for trips to bookstores; no more pressure to spend hours finding the "best" children's books; and no more clutter on our bookshelves with once-read books! Most importantly, with Sproutkin we parents can rest at ease knowing our kids are receiving the essential basics and more to thrive in this world."

If you follow my blog, then you know how important reading to my children is, and having books available for them to flip through.  With two little ones at home, I don't have the time to visit the local library or bookstore to pick up new books.  So, I rely heavily on online retailers to place book orders for my family's book needs.  It wasn't until I thought, "Why don't they have a mail subscription service for kid's books delivered right to your door?," that I stumbled across Raelyn's service, Sproutkin.  I thought, finally, a great service that all parents and grandparents will love. Each month your child will receive a box of books.  Those receiving the Infants/Toddlers box get to keep their books, while the Preschool books are to be mailed back, for your next box of books to ship.  Think of it as a lending library through the mail. :-)

When signing up, you can choose to join or give a gift subscription.  Then, you have to decide if you want infants/toddlers or pre-school books delivered.

-- For children 0-3 years old, each Sproutkit contains books (and sometimes a bonus toy) for you to keep. You will receive one Sproutkit automatically each month.

-- For children 3-6 years old, each Sproutkit contains 10 curated books, tied together with a theme. Enjoy each Sproutkit as long as you wish; when you're done, ship it back and we'll send a new Sproutkit. Keep your favorites at a 10% discount and shipping costs are included both ways. 

The next step is to decide how long your want the Sproutkin subscription to last --

Infants/Toddlers Subscription -- 

Preschoolers Subscription --

The number of Preschooler Sproutkits you receive each month depends on how quickly you return the books. You will receive your first Sproutkit shortly after you sign up. Once you’ve read all the books, you can request your next Sproutkit by logging into your account. You can wait until you receive your new Sproutkit before returning the old one. That way, you have a continuous supply of books without any waiting time! To return the books, you just need to apply the prepaid postage label to the same Sproutkin box provided and drop it off at your nearest post office.
The whole ordering process, from setting up your account to choosing a subscription plan and finalizing your order will only take a few minutes.  After that, you just have to sit back and wait for your child's new books to arrive at your doorstep to enjoy together.  :-)

I will be featured children's books this summer as part of my annual "Savannah's Summer Reading List" feature on my blog.  Hopefully many of the books I will be reviewing and sharing will make for a great bedtime or anytime reading book for you and your child. But, if you don't have time to visit a local library or bookstore to purchase these books, you now have the option of signing up for Sproutkin, and having some wonderful children's books delivered right to your door -- every month. :-)

To learn more about Sproutkin, or to sign up now, click here --

Then, please enjoy my Spotlight on Mom feature with Raelyn Bleharski of Sproutkin below.

Happy reading!
Name: Raelyn Bleharski
Company Name/Product/Service: Sproutkin
Company Location: San Francisco, CA
Company Website:
Facebook URL:
Twitter Handle: @sproutkin
Age of Company: 1 yr.
Favorite Children's Books: Miss Nelson is Missing, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Caps for Sale

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.
I have two children, Eleanor or “Ellie” (6 yrs) and William (2 yrs). I love to cook and of course, relax after the kids go to bed with a nice glass of wine and bad reality t.v.! I wish I could list yoga or working out as a hobby, but I’m not quite there yet.
Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?
My daughter and I would spend hours at the library every week searching for books to read during our daily bedtime routine. We would bring home a stack of about 30 books but we'd get through them pretty quickly. I couldn't sustain this routine of searching through the library shelves every week, especially when I had a second child and started work, and I was hesitant to order books from Amazon since we'd breeze through several books in one night. 

Our local bookstore also closed down! After talking with other moms and realizing they felt the same frustrations, I felt that a book subscription like Sproutkin was exactly what we all needed to stimulate and excite our children through books. 

What is a typical work day like? 
After dropping the kids off at school, I work on whatever needs to be done for Sproutkin - book selection, marketing, customer support, and general operations – although I focus mainly on the product itself and continue to develop Sproutkin’s curriculum. Then, just like all other moms, my day really begins at 5 pm when I pick up the kids at school. 

What has been a struggle while starting up your company?  
Giving the kids my undivided attention with a clear, calm head.

What did you do in your past work life?
I was a lawyer.

What have been some of your major successes?
I also published a children’s book, The Wishing Soup, to honor my grandmother’s famous soup, and to remind my children how lucky they are to have a great-grandmother in their lives. 
What have been some of your major challenges?
Trying to find the perfect work-life balance….Still not sure that it exists.

On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?
Picking up my kids from school and seeing how excited they are to see me. They’re still young enough to run up to me and give me a hug as soon as they see me approaching, and I love that.

What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?

Although it’s difficult, I try not to answer my phone, check emails or answer texts unless my kids are at school or in bed for the night. I don’t want my time with the kids to be clouded with work-related issues. 

What is next for your business?
Sproutkin is working on a digital product, so stay tuned.

Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business?   

Start a business that you feel passionate about – it is the only way you’ll fully understand the product and consumers enough to succeed. Don’t ever start a business just because you “don’t like working for others” or “want to make a lot of money.”

1 comment :

  1. Sounds like a great company and I am looking forward to learning more about their digital version.