Thank you for showing interest in Habits . You have become the audience to a pivotal shift in our business model & revenue streams. It was difficult to tell you about both, what we have accomplished so far and to explain in detail where we are heading in a 3 minute pitch;)
Many questions were asked regarding this, so I will show how we sustained ourselves previously and where we are projecting to go. I will also share our business model canvas that shows how we were previously operational, and how we will re-launch ourselves once we go online. I have included all the potential revenue streams as well ( we are going to start off with only a few items and then grow onto next phases.) - the link is found at the bottom of this message complete with before, current and future plans.
To begin answering all the questions, I grouped some of the common questions under a general topic title, so I hope I got them all:
As a brief written introduction to us ( along the way answering many of your questions):
Habits started in 2012 as a publication celebrating what kids can do. We were offering a multitude of creative, linguistic, cultural, scientific, recreational, discussion material, and best and most uniquely of all space to publish elementary students creative works. We offered 14 out of 40 pages for interactive activities that students were able to do in class or at home and send to us. As the years progressed, our mission began to take on a life of its own and we became known for our signature material that was inspiring readers to draw, write, read for fun as well as providing great discussion content for class and at home.
Why the name Habits: Because we are building lifelong Habits
We chose the ideal age group of elementary students, because they are just learning to master reading, and developing their writing and more advanced social skills. During these ages there’s excitement about learning without the pressure of official exams that come at later ages. It was our window of opportunity to tell them, “your ideas matter, your drawings say a lot, and what you can do is great” and because they are very impressionable in those ages, we are banking that our message would stick in their minds and develop into the life long habits of reading, writing and artistic expression ( in other words to use their imagination wherever they decide to go in life)
Clients: From 2012-2019 schools ( elementary/primary dept) were our main clients. This will change once we are online. We will keep our previous ways of retaining clients but any individual will also have access to purchase.
Age group of readers: Grade 1-6 ages 6-12. This will also change once anyone has access to the website activities. To clarify further the age range- Because it is a non-graded space we were offering schools, we accepted that a grade 1 will answer differently than a 6th grader, and that some students might need assistance and others not. And over the 7 years in operation we received entries equally across all age groups.
Languages: We are an English journal, offering 2 activities in Arabic. ( UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia sales trips suggested we add more Arabic, which we might do.)
What is the Creativity Bundle: This is a collection of 8-9 of our signature activities that was found in our printed version. These activities include: creative writing, character design, critical thinking prompts, discussion/dialogue prompts, as well as imagination exploration exercises. We were hoping to only sell them online and you would receive them weekly to enjoy doing in class or at home. But with no clear availability of accessible online payments options for Lebanon at the moment, we will wait until we can launch this. INSTEAD for the time being we will use the 52 week bundles and design an ultimate Creative Journal that can be bought online (COD), bought through schools as a weekly writing/journaling resource, by families wanting something fun to do together, and by individuals who want to spend their time productively or hone their creative talents.
Revenue stream: Up until last year we only had school based subscriptions.
But now- as a first phase we’ll be offering an all inclusive creativity journal (52 creativity bundles in 1 booklet)of our main signature material to be treated as the ultimate creative writing, storytelling, drawing journal reference for both schools and parents and child focused organizations, and bookshops. As well as online creativity bundles ( only feasible if online payments can be made), until then we will also offer free 1 month trials. Parents can now purchase the journal, not just from their child’s school, but from the website, from bookshops and hopefully from Amazon. I have purchased the top selling creative writing books for kids, and we have much more to offer!
Distribution: We own our warehouse, so storage is not an issue. And we dealt with both Liban Post and Levant ( the largest publication distributor in Lebanon)for publication distribution.
Marketing: From 2012 -2019 we used direct calling, emails and word of mouth. We had two sales plans: Family schools & Friends schools. The former offered reduced pricing for schools buying in bulk vs. individual student subscriptions. We had no social media presence nor a marketing team. Once we go online this will change and while retaining our old clients, we will expand our market drastically.
How Will We Grow: We have reached over 10,000 families without a single social media account, nor any dedicated marketing personnel. And we were running Habits on a part-time basis (our small team all had other jobs) and yet managed to make it this far.
For the past 3 years we realized after exploring the market both in Lebanon and a few Gulf countries, that we cannot keep Habits as a hobby job. There is too much potential for it to grow. Schools everywhere are seeking something mindful, though provoking, inspiring and imaginative for their students to participate in. And what is better we can publish on a national and soon international level.
We will be offering unique services to a much wider audience, so even if we only increased school participation in Lebanon this would be amazing. Currently we are in discussions for Qatar and UAE with 2 of the largest educational material distributors and publication houses. We are among the very few offering tailored creativity content to the region, with an option of adding more Arabic. We have also been setting down the foundations of a creative community between schools once we start publishing the student art gallery online and organizing exhibitions and workshops, and competitions. We can partner with so many other organizations and projects that also support the well-being of young children. And we will always have the printed creativity boosting resources as our reference point.
Habits & School Curriculum: Habits respected the fact that schools and teachers had a complete curriculum tightly in place. We didn’t want to offer them extra work to integrate into the teachers schedules. We were an extra-curricular supplement (eventhough by our 2nd year in print most of our client schools integrated it into their schedule).Our content wasn’t tethered to any specific curriculum or theme. ( there are huge and established companies doing their job in providing that kind of educational material.) Infact our content was specifically designed using hours of data that we collected from teachers, principals, school counselors, parents and students themselves. We were offering schools the needed space to publish their student work; work that was being done through the schools chosen curriculum. It was an egalitarian platform- any type of school could join and publish.
How to Use Habits: In the printed version that was in use, we were offering a lot of subject matter in an effort to be that all inclusive “one stop shop” of a publication for kids. But our signature content was the pages that activate and inspire a students natural imagination. We have story launchers, brainstorm discussions, story creators, character/cartoon design, critical thinking exercises, and even leadership exercises. We were careful not to have any right or wrong answers to our content, and constantly reminded schools not to grade any work done in Habits. Ours was a safe, non-judgmental creative space . Kids were free to do any of the activities they chose. And if schools officially assigned them, they were treated as fun, non-testable activities.
Why Our Schools Remained Loyal Clients: We were offering them something unique that other extra-curricular publications were not: The opportunity to highlight their students and school efforts. Because we were offering content developed for and by the students, our readers were always excited to read through Habits. It was something stressfree- and enjoyable that was distributed every 2 months. We sent out surveys over 2 years asking students what they felt when they received Habits, what pages did they like most, what they would like to see, and general questions about their lifestyle. Students enjoyed the interactive pages that ask them to participate, they also looked forward to seeing if their work or schools name was mentioned. The art submissions alone can tell us that they enjoyed participating with us. One pilot school that remained with us for 6 years allowed us to view 400 used Habits copies, which we were glad to see had been thoroughly read, and activities completed, each in their own way. Schools also noted our excellent customer service through 2 main things: their feedback was always taken into consideration and used to improve Habits each year, and we were punctual and professional in deliveries, data collection and content development.
The Most Needed Resource: Is to redesign our website to include at least 2 games that translate 2 core activities that were found in print. The website with its improvements and social media campaign will be the funnel to most sales.
I hope this answers the questions, and please feel free to ask for any more clarifications. I am available to answer anything further.