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AAPI Small Business Series: Summit

Good morning, dear friends! Welcome to the ninth part of our monthly series around “Supporting AAPI Small Businesses!” Here at Joeydolls, we’re thrilled to leverage our platform to shine a light on and champion the exceptional work of AAPI small businesses and their remarkable products and services.

In this latest edition of our series, we’re delighted to introduce you to Summit. They’re dedicated to providing after-school programs that emphasize the practical application of acquired skills and essential life skills. Additionally, Summit offers a curated selection of books, toys, and play kits that foster cultural diversity and inclusion.

We firmly believe that nurturing small businesses is pivotal in fortifying our economy. Our primary goal in showcasing thriving AAPI small businesses like Summit is to help them expand their reach and flourish. Let’s come together to applaud their unwavering dedication, hard work, and achievements.

Now, let’s dive into Summit’s story. We posed some essential questions, and their responses offer a glimpse into their inspiring journey.

Tell Us About Yourself and What Does Your Business Do?

I proudly wear two hats in my life – one as a preschool teacher and the other as the mom of a curious and energetic toddler. These dual roles have allowed me to gain unique insights into the world of early childhood development and education.

As a preschool teacher, my mission is to provide a nurturing and stimulating environment where young minds can flourish. Our preschool goes beyond the conventional classroom experience. We at Summit provide after-school programs that focus on applying learned skills and cultivating essential life skills. Through hands-on activities, creative projects, and interactive exercises, we empower students to both learn and use knowledge meaningfully. Our goal is to ensure that education becomes a tool for real-life problem-solving and personal growth.

In addition to these after-school programs, Summit takes great pride in our commitment to promoting cultural diversity and inclusion. We firmly believe that celebrating differences and fostering an environment of acceptance is crucial from a young age. To this end, Summit provides an extensive collection of books, toys, and play kits that explore various cultures, traditions, and backgrounds. These resources enable our students to broaden their horizons, develop an appreciation for diversity, and cultivate empathy and respect for others.

Furthermore, my role as a mom to a toddler has deepened my understanding of the early years of childhood. I know firsthand the importance of creating a safe and nurturing environment where a child’s natural curiosity and love for learning can thrive. Through my experiences both as an educator and a parent, I am dedicated to the holistic development of children. I strive to create a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere where every child can develop academically and socially, building a strong foundation for a future filled with compassion, understanding, and success.

In essence, my journey as a preschool teacher and a mom has taught me the profound impact that early education can have on a child’s life. It is my passion and purpose to provide young learners with the tools they need to not only excel academically but also to become well-rounded individuals who are prepared to navigate the complexities of our diverse and ever-evolving world.

How Long Have You Been in Business, and How Did It All Begin?

As a teacher, I hear about all the different classes that the students attend after school – music, art, reading, math, etc. While all these are great programs, I wanted to offer a class that allowed the students the opportunity to apply all the classroom skills that they learned in one program.

We started by offering the Young Entrepreneur program, which introduced students to “business.”  They develop, start, and launch a mini business within the 10- or 15-week program.  The goal is for the students to develop soft skills or life skills such as critical thinking, communication skills, resourcefulness, and problem-solving skills among others.  We also offer the Kidpreneur Program in a school-break camp format.

When the pandemic hit, we were not able to hold in-person classes, but we had a lot of families looking for resources that they could use with their children at home. Summit started offering some entrepreneur resources to our current students, but we also keep getting inquiries from families about resources for things they can do at home.

Subsequently, as we explored other products, we recognized a scarcity of items that truly embrace the rich cultural tapestry within our community. Our aim was to find products that foster intergenerational family engagement, bridging cultural divides, and bringing families closer together.

We started with sourcing books from self-published AAPI authors and play materials from Asia that parents can actually play with their kids. Learning begins with play, so what better way to introduce culture to our kids than the games that we used to play back home?

What Challenges Have You Faced in Running This Company, as well as an Asian-Owned Small Business?

In our line of business, the intricacies of logistics, transport, and shipping/freight costs are challenges that we grapple with on an ongoing basis. Our primary mission is to provide our customers with exceptional products while maintaining competitive prices. To achieve this, we have adopted a strategy of sourcing most of our goods directly from overseas publishers, authors, and manufacturers. However, this strategy comes with its own set of challenges, particularly the fact that the pricing of our products is heavily influenced by the ever-fluctuating cost of shipping and fuel.

The world of international trade is dynamic and subject to a multitude of factors that affect shipping costs. These factors range from global economic conditions and geopolitical events to fuel price fluctuations and even weather disruptions. Consequently, the final price of our products is intricately tied to the shifting landscape of the shipping industry.

It is crucial for our valued customers to recognize the significant role that shipping plays in determining the prices of our products. While we are committed to maintaining competitive and fair pricing, we must occasionally adjust our prices in response to fluctuations in shipping and fuel costs. These adjustments are made out of necessity to ensure the sustainability of our operations, even though they may not always be within our control.

We understand that not all customers may be fully aware of the complexities and challenges involved in logistics and transportation. Therefore, we prioritize transparency and education, sharing insights into the factors affecting our pricing. Our aim is to foster a mutual understanding between us and our customers and to work together in addressing these challenges.

We remain committed to sourcing high-quality products directly from reputable overseas sources, providing excellent value for our customers. While challenges in logistics, transport, and shipping persist, we view them as opportunities to refine our processes and improve customer service. Through open communication and shared understanding, we navigate industry intricacies to deliver exceptional products and services. Your continued support is greatly appreciated as we work together to overcome obstacles and enhance your shopping experience.

What Are Your Favorite Things About Your Company?

Getting to know our customers and their stories is an integral part of our mission as a business. It’s not just about selling products; it is about establishing meaningful connections with the individuals and families who choose to shop with us. What truly sets our business apart is the opportunity to hear the incredible stories that our products inspire among our customers.

Our work brings joy as our products create meaningful connections, sparking intergenerational conversations. Grandparents often share the profound impact our items have, becoming bridges between generations. These products inspire storytelling, allowing grandparents to share their youth, culture, and values with their grandchildren.

In essence, we’re not just product providers but creators of cherished family moments. These stories highlight our offerings’ power to foster connections and preserve personal and cultural histories. Knowing our customers and being part of these narratives is a privilege inspiring us to offer meaningful products that create lasting memories. Our business is about more than transactions; it’s about leaving a profound impact on our valued customers’ lives and legacies.

What Are Your Hopes and Dreams for Your Company?

Our aspirations extend far beyond the current scope of our offerings. We envision a future where our play resources embrace the rich tapestry of cultures from around the world. Our goal is to create an inclusive and diverse platform that not only entertains and educates but also celebrates the beauty of global heritage. We believe in the power of play to bridge gaps and foster understanding. Expanding our play resources to include other cultures is a significant step toward achieving this vision. Imagine children from various backgrounds coming together to explore and appreciate the customs, traditions, and stories of different cultures through play. It’s a world we are excited to build, where cultural diversity is celebrated and cherished.

In addition to broadening our play resources, we have plans to introduce language workshops. Language is a gateway to understanding and connecting with different cultures. Workshops at Summit will be designed to be engaging and interactive, offering both children and adults the opportunity to learn and appreciate new languages. We believe that language is not just a means of communication but also a window into the heart and soul of a culture. Through these workshops, we hope to promote linguistic diversity, encourage cross-cultural communication, and foster a deeper appreciation for the world’s languages and the communities that speak them. We are committed to creating an environment where learning is not confined to the classroom but is woven into the fabric of play, exploration, and cultural discovery.

How Can We Best Follow and Support You?

Our online presence has been a vital part of our journey as an organization dedicated to providing exceptional childcare and educational services, however, we are thrilled to share that we are in the process of undergoing a rebranding initiative. While our existing website and social media handles have served us well, we believe it’s time for a fresh and exciting update that better reflects our evolving vision and values.

As we embark on this rebranding journey, we will keep you posted every step of the way. We aim for an authentic online presence that mirrors our values and provides informative, engaging, and user-friendly platforms during this transition. Excited to reveal a new face to the world, embodying our passion for childcare, commitment to excellence, and dedication to positively impacting children and families.

So, stay tuned for updates as we work diligently to unveil a refreshed and invigorated online presence that embodies our forward-thinking approach and our unwavering dedication to the well-being and development of the young minds in our care. We look forward to sharing this exciting journey with you.

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Anything Else You Want to Tell Us?

We’re excited to welcome your dolls to our shop soon. As someone who grew up with dolls like Barbie that didn’t quite resonate with my identity, I find it wonderful that children will soon have dolls that truly represent them.

Also, we are in the process of changing our website and Instagram handle to better align with our vision. We’ll keep you posted on these updates. Thanks for your support and stay tuned!

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