Small Business Saturday, Featuring Challenge Island & Mama Owner Shachi Sanghavi
We posted about this awesome company and its mama owner earlier this week, so we thought they’d be the perfect fit for Small Business Saturday!
So what’s it all about? Challenge Island is a whimsical, wildly popular enrichment program that promotes creative and critical thinking skills in children while reinforcing STEAM.
Founded by award-winning educator, author, and parenting/education journalist Sharon Duke Estroff, Challenge Island is grounded in cutting edge educational thought and at the forefront of S.T.E.A.M. Education and 21st Century Learning. And we just so happen to have two locations in the Houston area, owned by Katy mama, Shachi Sanghavi.
Wrapped in whimsical trimmings (headbands, face paint, and the beat of the tribal drum), the Challenge Island program in Katy features an unmistakable spirit and flair. A sense of anticipation fills the air as tribes of kids enter new worlds of adventure and imagination through Challenge Island after-school classes, in-school field trips, camps, birthday parties, family fun nights and much more!
We sat down with Shachi to learn more about her business, upcoming summer camps at the Katy location, and of course all things mamahood! Make sure to read ’til the end of an awesome KMN discount!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the Katy area?
Moved to Houston in 2006 and have lived in Katy for last 12 years.
You are a mama, too! How old are your kids and what are their names?
Have 2 beautiful girls Aryanna 9 and Aahana 5.
What did you do before becoming a business owner?
I have always been passionate about teaching, I did my graduation in Developmental Counseling and my Post grad in Special Education. After moving to Houston, I got a Diploma in Montessori and worked as a lead Montessori teacher before I had my girls. I was a stay at home mom for the last 8 years. While at home I pursued my passion for Interior designing. My youngest goes to kindergarten this year and I decided it was time for me to get back to teaching.
When did you start Challenge Island and what was the inspiration behind it?
I was looking to get back to work something related to education, when I came across the Challenge Island franchise. On reading and learning more about it, I felt that this was exactly what I was looking for and I bought the franchise last July.
Tell us about all the different programs you offer to Katy area kids?
We offer after-school programs, in-school field trips, Summer camps, girl scouts badge earning workshops and birthday parties.
Since Summer is right around the corner, tell us more about your Summer Camps!
Challenge Island Summer Camps are perfect destination for children during summer vacation. Built around pop culture themes kids love, Challenge Island Camps are mini-vacations in their own right. Our wide array of STEAM-based camp theme include, Fort Island Camp™, Island Tube Camp™, Slime Squad Camp™, STEAM Girls and Doll Camp™, Emoji Camp™, STEAMwarts Camp of Wizards, Spells and Potions™ and many more!
What makes Challenge Island unique in the industry?
Challenge Island is unique as it’s something which is needed for this generation of kids who are always on their devices. With Challenge Island there are no screens, they use their imagination and the material provided to them to engineer and solve challenges. It enforces team building, leadership skills and more as they work together as a tribe to work on these challenges.
They are having fun and don’t realizes how they are learning too.
How has the Katy community impacted your business?
Katy is a fast-growing community with lots of families with young kids and the parents are always looking or new and good fun educational options for their kids and that helps business like ours.
Best advice for someone wanting to take the leap of faith into entrepreneurship or wanting to open their own business?
Its hard to take that leap specially with kids but I feel if you are passionate about something should just give it a go as it can be fulfilling and rewarding and in turn make you more confident.
Who inspires you most in business and who inspires you most in motherhood?
My father and husband are both business owners and I have watched how they started small and expanded it into profit making businesses and that has always inspired me. Motherhood of course my mom who even today is always there for us even though we live thousands of miles apart.
When things get hard, what’s one thing you tell yourself to keep going when running this business?
I truly believe that Challenge Island is something needed for todays kids and helping bring it to them is something that motivates me even when we face rejection. I had a kid in one of my class run up to me and hug me and say, “I love Challenge Island can you come every day” and that is something that keeps me going.
How do you balance being a business owner and mama?
It is hard balancing both specially after being a stay at home mom for this long. Some days are hard, but I can say I am managing it well.
Do you experience the dreaded ‘mom guilt’ and if so, how do you deal?
Yes, I do, even after I try to plan my classes and other events around their schedules sometimes, they have to miss their swimming class or something if I had to work last minute. But they have been understanding and I feel once I have established the business it will be easier to manage their schedules and work.
Future plans for your business?
We want to be able to offer this as a after-school program to elementary schools in Katy ISD and around Houston. My target it to get Challenge Island to as many schools and educational centers possible so the kids can benefit from this amazing program.
Any special deals or events our Katy Moms can look out for?
We are going to be at the Katy summer fest and are going to be giving away a whole week of camp free.
And, if you buy 1 full day camp, you’ll get a 2nd one 50% off!
For more information on Challenge Island, be sure to visit their website and follow along on social media!