A Midtown-based company is developing a line of mobile apps geared toward African American kids with an educational focus aimed at making learning fun.
Lucy Holified, who is chief executive of Identity Kids LLC, said despite the explosive rise of digital and mobile content in terms of apps across a host of sectors, the market for educational and entertaining interactive games for African American kids remains largely unfilled in the $38 billion apps market.
“I believe the timing is right to leverage our unique content to serve a market that has been largely overlooked,” Holifield told Midtown Patch.
The effort is aimed at children from ages 3 to 8 and is to include games, puzzles and eBooks, among other offerings.
A former Madison Avenue executive and business development consultant, Holifield's venture is an extension of a company she founded in the 1990s called Identity Toys.
That business centered around the same concept of creating a line of board games and other tactile toys for kids with a core goal of educating them about history and black culture.
"I always saw there was a lack of those types of things for black kids," she said. "I realized in the toy industry, there was nothing for black kids, there just wasn't."
The shift toward a mobile platform comes as kids are more likely to reach for digitally-based games, so Holified's new company is centered around an apps-based business model.
The plan is to launch as many as 10 mobile apps this coming fall.
The company is researching and test-marketing a number of different concepts to see what works, what doesn't, what the kids react to and input from parents and educators.
Even with her experience in the toy industry, research and continually monitoring changing needs in the target market, in this case, kids, is critical she said.
It's a lesson she said any business, be it a start-up or established concern, needs to keep at the forefront.
"Business plans are a road map of sorts, but it's going to constantly change, it's not an A to B," Holifield said. "It's more like a winding, winding, winding road."
As such, businesses have be open to adapt, a philosphy that underscores her shift from board games to apps.
"You must always talk to you customer and consumer of your product," Holifield said. "Even for mature products, the needs that people have for that service change over time.
"If you're not talking to them, you're not going to know how to change your product to serve their needs."