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What: A company that produces inspirational and relaxing videos for families to watch together
Who: Nicole Evenhuis, Miki Shaler and Kirsten Taylor Hall of Zen Baby
Where: Los Angeles
When: Started in 2001
Yes, 2001 was an unforgettable year for Nicole Evenhuis, Miki Shaler and Kirsten Taylor Hall, all 35 and close friends for more than a decade. That year, Shaler returned home from the Peace Corps, and Evenhuis and Taylor Hall became new mothers. It was also the year they decided to create Zen Baby, a video that inspires, relaxes, and captures the simple beauty of infants interacting with nature. Evenhuis, Taylor Hall and Shaler--a producer, a director/cinematographer and a marketing expert, respectively--had the perfect mixture of creativity and talent to realize their idea. Says Evenhuis, "We set out to create something we felt celebrated the beauty in the world around us and created a feeling of peace and well-being in the home that both child and parent could enjoy."
By working at home and pooling their money, they were able to self-fund their project. The result was a 30-minute video that features children as they experience their first year of life. The video also reminds parents of simple ways to incite their children's curiosity. "Go look for shapes in the clouds, crunch leaves, touch sand," says Shaler, "very basic things, [because] as we get taller, we lose our connection with the Earth."
The video made its debut on their website, www.zen-baby.com, and Amazon.com. As orders increased, so did the number of honors, including Amazon.com Top Seller and iParenting Media Award for Best of the Best 2004. The trio recently partnered with a distributor and has plans for two more videos and possibly ancillary products, including books, which will push 2005 sales to a projected $250,000. "[Zen Baby] was what I like to call an elegant idea," says Taylor Hall. "It came out very truthfully and cleanly, and it's never really wavered."