She never wanted to run her own business; she just wanted to be the best mom she knew how to be. But today, what began as a single childrens educational video that she filmed in her basement with a friends camera and her cat as a prop, has morphed into a billion dollar company that continues to be an industry leader. Julie Aigner-Clark might not have predicted her own success with her Baby Einstein series of videos, but she was certainly happy to roll with it. Today, mothers the world over know this entrepreneurs name, and love her for the intelligent videos she has brought to the market.
Julie Aigner-Clark was born in 1967 and grew up in Michigan. She went to Michigan State University, where she majored in the humanities. Right out of school, Aigner-Clark began teaching English to high school students. She was enjoying her new profession and her ability to help shape and educate young minds, when something happened that would change the course of her life forever.
Aigner-Clark got pregnant. When I became pregnant with my first daughter, I wanted to stay home, she says, so I left teaching. Fortunately for Aigner-Clark, an outbreak of chicken pox soon consumed the school. Since she had never had the disease, she was given leave in order to protect her and her baby. It was a good excuse to spend my last six months of pregnancy at the pool, she jokes.
After Aigner-Clark had her first daughter, she became fascinated by the latest research dealing with newborns and their capacity to learn. She began to search baby stores far and wide for material that was both educational and appropriate for her childs development, while still being fun for both of them. At the end of her search, Aigner-Clark had come up empty handed.
About a year into my daughters life, I started thinking about the whole idea of making a video for babies, she recalls. Something stimulating and positive. I wondered, Why isnt there a way to expose her to the arts and sciences? I found the marketplace completely lacked what I was looking for.
Aigner-Clark began to think about creating her own product. She thought that if she could not find what she was looking for in stores, maybe other mothers were in the same situation. Being the busy mother that she was, however, she did not act on her idea until a full year later.
Without having done any market research at all she was her own best customer, she thought Aigner-Clark sat down one day and came up with the name Baby Einstein, and drew a logo herself. I knew my baby, she says. I knew what she liked to look at. I assumed that what my baby liked to look at, most other babies would, too.
With that, Aigner-Clark was on her way to creating one of the most successful childrens educational videos of all time. Now that she had the name, all she needed was the product.