Finalist Q&A: I Go Coo

I Go Coo creates products that engage infants and toddlers in developmental thinking and activities. Their products inspire learning through intuitive play and innovative design. Their first product to market will be an accordion-style book, designed to unfold and stand on its own so babies can enjoy it during tummy time.

How did I come up with the idea for my business?

When my son was 6 weeks old, he started imitating sounds. I started to write stories that emphasized these sounds. He would light up with excitement when I would repeat them. I began to look around for books to read for him, but there were few truly designed for children under the age of 3. It's never too early to read to your child, so I decided to create a series of books geared for very young children that will continue to appeal to them as they get older.

What were your influences and sources of motivation?

Obviously, my son is a great influence and motivator for me in starting I Go Coo. In searching for books and toys for my son, I've found that many products over-stimulate or baby-sit children rather than engage them in learning activities. Our family is also very environmentally conscious, so we try to support companies and products that use renewable resources and have environmentally sensitive business practices.

What do you consider to be a unique feature of your business?
The prototype accordion-style book is a relatively unique product itself. We have been unable to find a publisher who prints books in this fashion. Based on this prototype, we also hope to launch a publishing division of I Go Coo so other works could be printed in this way. This would open up new publishing mediums, methodologies and practices.

What are your thoughts on the future of small businesses in a slowing economy and their importance to the vitality of the local community?

Small business is critical in supporting local economies! In Austin, we are keenly aware of the impact local business has on our economy. The "Keep Austin Weird" is a well-known slogan originally initiated by the Austin Independent Business Alliance to promote local business. According to the ABIA website ( and research done by Civic Economics, "For every $100 in customer spending at a national chain, the total local economic impact is only $13. The same amount spent with a local merchant yields $45, more than three times the local economic impact." Plus there are many other benefits, such as:

* Small businesses create local jobs.
* Buying from local business helps your money stay in the local economy.
* Local businesses offer more innovation, creativity and flexibility.
* Local business select products based on local needs and desires.
* Over the long term, more competition creates lower prices.
* Small businesses help create the culture of your local community.
* Local businesses have strong ties to their communities for giving back to the community.
* Local artists, authors and artisans are supported by local businesses.

Why should the Idea Cafe regulars vote for you?

This grant could truly launch I Go Coo. In order to move forward with our first product, we need a prototype. I Go Coo has outlined at least 7 initial prototype methods to try for making and publishing an accordion-style book. We estimate that $1000 (the amount of this grant) is needed to begin and likely this prototype. I Go Coo would go from ideation to having a marketable prototype!


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