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Kick-Starting the Company

Updated: Apr 15, 2021

You may have read the short story of the company (here’s a nifty link if you haven’t!), which says that the idea for this business has been around since 2015, and that it became a real goal in 2018. But what was the ‘true beginning’ of AnimalEd?

Well, if you ask us, it happened in the Easter of 2019!

On the 4th April 2019, we had our very first trial visit! It was such an exciting time, but a nerve-wracking one, too - taking a group of animals to a new place and teaching kids about them is a little scary the first time! Plus, the whole event begged the question ‘can we do this?’ and, arguably more importantly, ‘do we want to do this?’

Long story short, it really did feel like there was a lot riding on this trial visit.

Through a head teacher we know, we visited a primary school (on a voluntary basis) and gave several short sessions to Key Stage 2 students, introducing them to our animals, telling them about their habitats, diets, lifespans, anatomy and any other fun facts we thought they’d appreciate.

But who accompanied us on this trip? Well, back then, we had a third human member of the team (who is no longer part of or affiliated with the business), and through this third member, we had a few different animals that we were able to bring! Helping us on this trial visit, we had Sami the giant African millipede and Scooby the royal python (two familiar faces!) as well as four Madagascan hissing cockroaches, a Cranwell’s horned frog and a Herman’s tortoise. What a line up.

We were nervous at first but, of course, pretended we weren’t, and soon the nerves went away as we found our groove. The kids asked some good (and sometimes very funny!) questions which we answered and they all seemed so genuinely engaged and interested in what we were saying. Even the school staff were listening intently and asking questions! It was so rewarding to see everyone so interested in our animals. There were even some kids who had previously been scared of snakes but decided to fake their fears and stroke Scooby anyway, and they surprised themselves! That was definitely one of our favourite parts. Helping people overcome their fears that way never gets old.

When we were done, the animals were back in the enclosures and being taken back to the car, it started to sink in that we’d just done our first visit. Real animals, real kids, real learning and teaching. And right then? We knew. We knew this was something we enjoyed, and based on the feedback, it was something we could do well.

The mood in the car on the way home was AWESOME! We had a whole playlist of girl power/celebratory songs to fit the mood, and it was just such a nice feeling to have succeeded at something that had been a pipe dream just a couple of years prior.

The rest of 2019 was spent working several jobs (in Tiana’s case) and finishing university (in Charlie’s case). 2020 was the year of knuckling down and creating this business from the ground up!

So, in a way, all of this is thanks to that very first trial visit!

It just goes to show that if you take a leap, you might find something that makes you want to fly. Take whatever opportunities you can and you may find what feels like a great fit for you! Super sappy, but hey, it's true!

Anyway, that's us done for this post. See you next time, and don't forget to always keep learning!

-- Charlie and Tiana

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