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Community Highlights: Meet Ana Sofia Guzman of Binibi

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ana Sofia Guzman.

Hi Ana Sofia, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
My name is Ana Guzmán and I am one the founders of Binibi, a line of bilingual sound books for babies and toddlers ages 0-5. Binibi’s goal is to make introducing a second language at home easy and fun, from day one –when language development matters most.

The story of Binibi (named for “bilingual niños”) gets started when my daughter, Sofía, was born. When she was born, it became super important for her to be bilingual and to love reading from an early age. At the same time, my co-founder, Luciana, had also just had a baby and we bonded over our passion for raising our kids to speak two languages. Like many parents, we turned to books and noticed our kids loved books that made sounds and sang songs. When we looked for them in Spanish, we quickly realized there was a huge lack of bilingual interactive books available.

Faced with this problem, we thought — why not combine the books our kids love with the language input we want them to hear? We could create a book they’d love and would seamlessly give them the language input we were looking for. After a few months of market research, we realized we were not alone and that there was a huge need for resources for early bilingual childhood education.

We set out to create our first collection of four books which consists of both sound and song books. Our sound books have fun animal or beach sounds on every page, and our song books contain popular Latin American nursery rhymes. Our books have text in English and Spanish, content vetted by educational experts, and graphics and audio that have been exclusively created for us by Salvadoran artists. Both Luciana and I are from El Salvador and it is our goal to always support local artists and engrain bits of culture into the books.

We have been working on the first collection for a year and we officially launched last month on Kickstarter, a popular crowd-funding platform for creators. All projects on Kickstarter have a funding goal they must meet within a given time frame and I’m excited to say we met our funding goal in the first 5 hours of our campaign. Our campaign ended with over 260 backers and 2.6x our initial funding goal. With this funding, we are able to finance our inventory and get our books into the hands of our earliest supporters. Next year our goal is to increase our distribution, expand our collection of books and launch online resources for parents.

Prior to Binibi, I spent a few years at Squarespace, a SaaS website builder, where I led targeted market expansion, overseeing market prioritization and selection and go-to-market strategy. I developed strong operational experience across functions including strategy & operations, product, and business development. Before my days at Squarespace, I worked in the domain space and in e-commerce logistics for LATAM. I am also a co-founder of International Mastermind, a quarterly meet up for experts in International Expansion. I have a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and an MBA from Columbia.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
No, haha. It has not! It has been filled with challenge after challenge. I am not sure where to start here, but I will give it a shot!

At the beginning, the biggest challenge is getting the momentum to go from what is just an idea to the execution of the idea. The biggest question I had was “Where do I start?”. I knew I wanted to make a book but had no idea how to to do that. I also wasn’t sure what the books should be about. I decided then that the first step was to do some market research to understand customer preferences and narrow down the list of ideas. Simultaneously, there was a lot of googling about the different ways to go about making and publishing a book. And that was how we figured out everything we’ve accomplished to this day, a lot of trial and error and a lot of talking to people that had done this before.

The biggest challenge thereafter becomes believing in yourself enough to keep going. Being an entrepreneur is lonely and hard. If you don’t do the work, no one else will, and it’s not evident at the very beginning that all of the efforts you are putting in will pay off. People fall through, you make mistakes, you deal with setbacks, but every single time you have to pick yourself back up and keep going–and the only thing that gets you through that is believing firmly in what you are building. It always feels like you are climbing a mountain, and at this point, I am convinced it will feel like that for some time. All of that said, while the lows are very low, the highs are very high, and there has been nothing more gratifying in my career than seeing that a product I created is valued by people I’ve never met!

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Binibi (pronounced “bih-nih-bee”) is a company dedicated to promoting early age bilingual education. We make bilingual sound books for kids 0-5. We believe that for our kids to learn language, they must hear it every day, and our books are designed to provide a fun and easy language input that fits seamlessly into your child’s day.

We are proud to be the first bilingual education brand dedicated to creating interactive books with sounds and are proud to support local artists from El Salvador, where both my co-founder and I are from. Our mission is to support parents in introducing a second language at home by providing the resources, both online and offline, in order to do so.

Our vision is to become the leading bilingual education brand for young children and provide parents with all of the tools they need as they look to raise bilingual. Also, it’s worth noting what our name stands for: Bi: “Bilingual” Ni: “Niños = Kids” Bi “Bee: Learning & Education”.

Whether you are a native Spanish speaker or a beginner, if you want your child (or a child in your life) to speak Spanish, our books provide the perfect way to take that first step. You can learn more about Binibi on our website at www.binibi.co or on our Instagram @binibi.co.

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
Yes, many!

Lesson 1: Since families are spending more time at home together, parents are investing more in educational toys for their kids. This is perfect since our books are fun and entertaining but serve the primary purpose of helping learn and practice a second language.

Lesson 2: Manufacturing in China during this crisis is extremely challenging. Supplies are limited, costs are volatile, and the domestic shipping crisis has delayed our timelines in receiving inventory. All of that said, we know that if we can get through this year, the next will seem like a breeze!

Lesson 3: It’s an incredible time to be an entrepreneur as you can connect with anyone, anywhere without the expectation to travel in person. Life is short, and anything is possible, so if you want to do something, just go for it! You have nothing to lose.

Pricing:

  • $19.99

Contact Info:


Image Credits
Adrian Rivera Photography

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