This inspiring story is of a rising startup called Sense 2 Cents, started by Ashley Clark, based out of the US. Sense 2 Cents deposits financial freedom into a child’s future through resources, kid-friendly tools, and games. The founder, Ashley Clark, coaches families on how to change their beliefs about money to break a generational financial curse for children of color. With a special knack for teaching children currency basics, Clark and Sense 2 Cents brings fun to financial literacy through a board game, flashcards, and books. Here is the story of Sense 2 Cents in Ashley’s own words.
Introduce us to the idea of Sense 2 Cents
Clark fosters financially adept children on her mission to mold the youth towards financial responsibility. In our American culture, one in every four parents reports that they never talk about any kind of household finances with their children.
“Home is the first school for kids and it is our responsibility to raise a financially knowledgeable generation,” says Clark. She is a firm believer that financial literacy and good financial habits, like any habit, should be instilled at a young age.
Sense 2 Cents has multiple resources and tools that families can use as learning activities. It is important to learn the basics about money and good spending habits to manifest the right money mindset in adults. Leveraging her financial expertise, she developed innovative products that are educational and entertaining for the youth and young adults.
Established in 2019, Sense 2 Cents products promote healthy learning habits and financial literacy by delving into credit, budgeting, banking, and debt introduced in the board game and flashcards. Sense 2 Cents is a wordplay on cents, putting not so common sense of financial literacy towards making some money.
To make financial education fun and easy to understand, the company has produced vibrantly colored financial literacy flashcards, piggy banks, budget envelopes, and a financial literacy activity book for children. The company also has educational ebooks and a 12-month budget planner available for purchase online.
What’s your strategy story? What led you to start Sense 2 Cents?
Clark majored in economics during college and went on to become a bank teller. For 12 years she worked in the industry, after leaving a wealthy white neighborhood to join a bank with more black and brown customers Clark realized, “there was a lack of information that our people didn’t know”. Bombarded with financial queries, she started writing down questions many people would ask.
Dumfounded with the lack of financial literacy, she was underwhelmed with the common financial sense that surrounded the new neighborhood. When she became a Mom, she knew that she needed to share this knowledge with her children. It was through posting a video on Facebook of her homeschooling when she saw the response and demand for such education which led to her mass producing her teaching tools for others.
Diagnosed with a chronic illness, Clark started her business and watched it grow to a six-figure company within a year. Neither Multiple Sclerosis nor the COVID pandemic stopped Clark in her pursuit to empower the youth.
Within three months of starting the business in 2019, she was hospitalized and diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Clark realized during hospitalization that her purpose is to educate. Having spent half of the year in the hospital and rehabilitation, her ten-year-old daughter was the one shipping out orders. Clark overcame challenges by using the time in rehab to dream up ideas, one of them being a board game concept.
What marketing, operation strategies are you adopting at Sense 2 Cents?
Clark has adopted marketing and operation strategies to grow her business by investing in hiring talent that can assist in Sense 2 Cents’ growth. By delegating different parts of the company, she can focus on creation and expansion. Not sure about implementing email strategies to provide consistent messaging to her customers, she recently hired an email marketing team. She has also outsourced PR to a boutique agency to increase marketing efforts.
The most effective marketing strategy that Clark has used to grown Sense 2 Cents has been Facebook Ads. They have power when you know who, what and where to target. She has seen tremendous growth by investing in ads. In terms of being cost-conscious and raising awareness for the brand, Clark invests in social media. When used correctly, one can brand themselves and grow their business quickly – not to mention it is free.
By delegating operation strategies and investing in cost-conscious marketing through social media and smart investment into Facebook Ads, Clark has more time to expand and scale her brand. She can focus on her mission to empower a generation of financially educated children to break free of generational poverty. With more time on her hands, she is developing a cartoon that will be released soon and releasing different packs of flashcards to reach more ages, both younger and older.
Any strategy mistakes you have made and what did you learn?
Sense 2 Cents delves into financial knowledge including credit, budgeting, banking, and debt. These concepts are Introduced through the board game, flashcards, along with her book, “Money Talk: Financial Literacy Guide for Parents teaching teens and Young Adults”. For younger children, one can opt for a coloring book about saving.
Initially, Clark decided to drop-ship the books, but that turned out to be a wrong strategic move. That decision led to customer confusion because the books were print to order and came later than the brand’s other products. The books are now streamlined by shipping all products from Sense 2 Cents’ warehouse and taken as a lesson learned to rectify the situation.
Share a story when you have been customer-obsessed at Sense 2 Cents
Clark centers her business model and strategies around customers, when word-of-mouth for her brand picked up she expanded her offering. What initially started a trial to bridge the financial literacy gap for her children turned into a full-time job. During one session, Clark recorded a video of her financial homeschooling and posted it on Facebook.
Overwhelmed with the response, people were requesting her flashcards, giving birth to the seed that blossomed into her company, Sense 2 Cents. Clark has a special knack for teaching children currency basics and through word-of-mouth of her mission and brand, she has expanded her efforts by introducing classes for the children, taking requests to bring fun financial literacy classes to cities all around the US.
After developing the first batch of flashcards for her kids, Clarks saw a demand for financial knowledge. Her next challenge was how to give real-life scenarios where these terms would play out. It was then that the idea of the board game developed. Through word-of-mouth, the board game has sold out for the fifth time.
Clark is now focused on her customers and is listening to the demand for the next level of education and is now working on developing a second batch of flashcards. Clark has received a lot of feedback from people that they have referred the brand to others and has therefore created an affiliate program to give back to those who push the brand.
Finally what advice do you have for your fellow entrepreneur readers?
Clark always encourages fellow entrepreneurs, and she recommends they “commit of at least 18 months no matter what to promote, and grow”. She also advises “not to give up on their business and get a great accountability partner.” There is an excellent quote that says if you want to go fast, go by yourself but if you want to go far, go together. Clark’s advice is to also “choose something you love, something you would do even if you’re not getting paid to do it. That will keep you in it for the long run.”
Disclaimer: The information in the above story is provided by the startup and The Strategy Story takes no responsibility for the authenticity of the product and services offered by the startup. Reader’s discretion is advised.
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