Nylah nails it with her own business
Kiara Somner’s new educational product business, Nylah Nailed It, was born out of the frustrations of pandemic mothering.
“I never intended to start a business,” said Ms Somner, who works in reinsurance. “For part of the pandemic, I was working from home and taking care of my four-year-old daughter, Nylah. I was finding it overwhelming to balance both.”
One of her challenges was making sure that Nylah did her chores — making her bed, brushing her teeth, tidying up her toys, while she got her own work done.
“I said let me give her a visual guide so she can know what she has to do for the day,” Ms Somner said.
Ms Somner created her own chore chart for her daughter. Now, Nylah receives a gold star for every chore completed. At the end of the week, Nylah chooses a reward for the gold stars.
“Usually, she chooses something food-related, like pizza,” Ms Somner said.
“Using a rewards chart I did not have to remind her to do things because she could see what she had to do. It was one less thing I had to do in that regard. She got it really quickly.”
In fact, the chart worked almost too well.
“I would say, ‘Come on, Nylah, we have to go out in a hurry’, and she would say, ‘But I have to make my bed first’,” Ms Somner said.
“The hardest thing is trying to do your chores while your mom is hurrying you up,” Nylah said.
When Ms Somner told her friends about her success with the chore chart, they wanted one for their children too. Suddenly, Ms Somner saw a business opportunity.
She and Nylah had already built an audience through Nylah Nailed It, a YouTube channel she began two years ago, where Nylah bakes and does crafts. An educational product business seemed a natural extension of that.
“I love working with children,” Ms Somner said. “I used to teach dance at In Motion. This was a way to still work indirectly with children.”
It was also a way to be creative. She made the chart magnetic and customisable. Parents could add their own chores to it, and wipe them off later, or stick on and remove particular chores using magnetised pieces.
“I wanted to give this tool to other parents as well,” Ms Somner said. “I really loved creating it. I wanted to be able to give other people the chance to use something like this. I thought I would be selfish if I just kept it to myself.”
The magnetic responsibility chart has been selling well since she launched on March 22, but it was only the beginning.
One day Nylah, a pre-kindergarten student at Bermuda Institute, came home excited about maps.
“She was drawing random circles and lines on a paper and calling it a map,” Ms Somner said. “I said, ‘Have you ever seen what a map of Bermuda looks like?’ I went on Google to show her.”
Nylah was fascinated. Ms Somner started using the map to teach her about where she lived and about Bermuda.
“I am one of the parents who complain that there are not enough resources to teach kids about Bermuda,” she said. “I am an adult and I am still learning basic things about Bermuda. Bermuda history was not taught to me, and I don’t want that for Nylah.”
So she designed her own Bermuda map puzzle showing the nine parishes, but also Bermuda landmarks, people and animals.
“My favourite picture is the one of Sally Bassett,” Nylah said.
Ms Somner and Nylah started selling the puzzles this week. Customers can choose between 48, 100 and 300 pieces.
So far there has been an outpouring of interest in the puzzles.
“One day we had 35 orders,” Ms Somner said. “Only three or four were single orders. The rest were bulk orders. At least one school has expressed an interest in them. You always want this to happen. It is every business owner’s dream to sell out or sell fast, but now that is happening, I am a bit overwhelmed.”
Initially, she intended to keep things basic with no website. But once she started developing her products she became caught up in the joy of creating. Soon she had created a website and also Instagram and Facebook pages.
Now that she and Nylah are focused on the business, they are not making Nylah’s cooking videos as often.
“Something has to give,” Ms Somner said. “I work full time.”
So far, the most challenging thing about setting up the business has been sacrificing her time.
“Now that we have launched the business, I can look back and see how it was all worth it!” she said.
But whatever she does, she says, time with her daughter must always come first.
For more information, see www.nylahnailedit.com e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or check them out on Facebook and Instagram.