This Great Idea Sparks Her Curiosity in STEM
There’s a lot of work that goes into a successful Kickstarter campaign, but it all starts with a great idea. Yellow Scope, rigorous science kits for girls, was successfully funded on Kickstarter at the end of 2014. I spoke with co-founders and scientists Kelly McCollum and Marcie Colledge to get the origin story of their STEM business idea.
BG: Your Kickstarter video explains you saw there was a hole in the market. That girl’s science kits are really spa and beauty kits. How did you come to see that hole? How did you come up with your idea?
KM & MC: It was an evolving process. We lead a group of parent volunteers and a science team at our daughters’ elementary school. We ran family science nights and the science fair. Our goal was to engage families in science. Through these school programs we created and mapped out a process to guide people through complicated information like genetics, crime scenes, and physics in an interesting way.
We saw the huge gender gap in science and discovered that between elementary and middle school is the time when girls’ interest most dramatically falls off. We felt the solution was to offer a product just for girls – girls learn best when they have a creative component, reading, and a problem to solve.
When we looked more closely at what was out there, we were appalled. There are no high quality science kits. The ones that are out there offer lots of experiments across many areas. Our approach is to focus and have the girls develop mastery of a concept. We offer experiments that aren’t one-offs, they build. They introduce one fundamental concept from a lot of different angles. For example there are three labs with a fun quiz. This process reinforces key concepts and proves to them in a very concrete way that they get it.
BG: How did you know it was a viable idea? How did you validate it?
KM & MC:
- We talked to people that were not friends and family. We found they asked a lot of questions and were intrigued.
- We attended an excellent six week small business class for women. We got very positive feedback from other students & enthusiasm from the teacher (who is also a business consultant).
- We conducted a focus group to test the concept and got feedback that helped us to fine tune our offering.
- Debbie Sterling, founder of Goldieblox (engineering toys for girls) showed there is demand, that there is a market. People want more science for girls. For the first time the toy industry identified this as an area of hot new interest.
- Our Kickstarter campaign showed that people want to pay for this product.
This great idea is now a reality. Marcie and Kelly are shipping their first kits, let the sparks fly!
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