Sugar Land mom finds small business success through Gymboree’s playful mix of music and movement classes
Skikha Gupta immigrated from India to America over 20 years ago and eventually landed a job as a commercial pilot for Continental Airlines. The work was exciting and visiting foreign countries was always a fun experience. But in the space of just a few short years, Gupta and her husband started their family and everything began to change. For working mom Gupta, she struggled as a parent who was away from home traveling four or five days every week.
“Then, one afternoon I came home from work and my two young sons were playing and didn’t turn to acknowledge me,” Gupta said. ” I greeted them but they just ignored me like I was a stranger. That’s when I decided I needed to make changes to have more time with my children.”
That change came in 2011 when Gupta opened her own small Gymboree Play and Music franchise business in Missouri City. She said her favorite part of the business are the infant classes.
“When I see the new moms, I remember my experience when my son was tiny. At that time, I had to forgo many of my friendships because friends didn’t always want to spend time with me and a baby,” she said. “But, when new moms arrive at a Gymboree Play and Music class they have a chance to socialize and make new friends with the other moms while their baby is enjoying age-appropriate play and movement activities.”
According to a research study entitled “The Power of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young Children” published in Sept. 2018 by the American Academy of Pediatrics Clinical Report, children often develop advantages academically through improved memory and cognitive abilities developed during play time.
“Research demonstrates that developmentally appropriate play with parents and is a singular opportunity to promote the social-emotional, cognitive, language, and self-regulation skills that build executive function and a prosocial brain.
Play is not frivolous: it enhances brain structure and function and promotes executive function (ie, the process of learning, rather than the content), which allow us to pursue goals and ignore distractions.” accoording to the the study.
The concepts behind Gymboree Music and Play classes are designed to help children develop, grow and learn important cognitive, social, memory and physicals.
Gupta encourages the moms who bring their children to her classes to keep children active and playing outside class and limit any “screen time” to the absolute minimum.
“Starting with very young infants less than ten months old, we need to get these kids out there and learning to play now,” Gupta said,
But, new moms often find telling their child to ‘go play’ is ineffective.
“If you want your child to play, you have to play with them. For a small child, play involves all different types of activities. Gymboree Play and Music classes are perfectly designed to help child learn about movement and play and have fun. And for parents, there’s the opportunity to socialize and make new friends. which is a wonderful bonus.
When parents and students come to Gymboree Play and Music class, students will experience music classes to help with development through song, dance, movement and instruments. Students can also participate in art classes to inspire imagination and self-expression. Parental participation is an integral part of all the programs offered.
For moms who want to come to classes occasionally, Gymboree Play and Music offers a 10 visit pass goof for any structured or open play class within six months. The cost is $220 with no joining fee. Monthly memberships are also available that offer a month of unlimited age-appropriate classes and open time play. Classes are 56 minutes long and the monthly fee is $79. Classes are open to children from infant to five years-old. Students are divided into groups by age and then participate in play and music sessions that include movement activities designed for each child’s developmental phase.
Since 2011, Gupta’s small business has thrived and she now has Gymboree Play and Music Classes in two locations: Missouri City and west Pearland, which opened in 2016.
One secret to Gupta’s business success is reaching out to potential clients through social media every day.
“In this business, all our moms are on their iPhones every day. Many moms like to use Facebook and I find many younger moms prefer Instagram or Snap Chat,” she said.
Gupta created Facebook and other social media accounts for her businesses.
“Social media is a great way to introduce yourself and your business to the local community,” She said.
When asked what advice you would offer other mothers hoping to start a successful small business that would allow time to spend with their family, Gupta said being consistent is very important.
“You have to be out there every day, marketing your business. And, you have to provide a good value to your customers,” she said.
At both the Missouri City and Pearland locations, parents can bring their little one and try the first class for free. For more information, call 281-208-4302.