Baby Einstein founder: Rely on courage, passion

LOVELAND – It started in 1997 as a baby idea for the “under two” set and has blossomed into a world-recognized video, book and toy brand – Baby Einstein.
Julie Aigner-Clark and her husband Bill discovered a void in educational materials for infants and toddlers after their first child was born. Clark used her instincts as a mother and a teacher to develop a video utilizing paintings, animals, toys and classical music to educate and entertain her baby and children of her friends.
Clark, who sold her company in 2001 to The Walt Disney Co., spoke about trusting your personal instincts to find needs in the marketplace during the Thursday morning session of Bixpo 2005 at the Budweiser Event Center in Loveland.
From humble beginnings in their basement, the Clarks started The Baby Einstein Co. and grew the company without the use of advertisements or marketing materials. They started simple and kept the basics at the forefront of the company until Walt Disney came knocking.
“I hope people took away an idea of “Look at me, I was just an English teacher who became a stay-at-home mom and who was passionate about something and made it happen,” she said.
Clark said having a great idea is a wonderful beginning, but the idea needs to take the next step to come to fruition. She admitted Baby Einstein would not exist if she and her husband didn’t have the courage to spend $15,000 to make the first video. Once the video was out on the market, she and her husband were more willing to stay with the product because they had the money invested in it.
Five years after the release of the first video, the Clark’s company was generating $20 million in annual revenues. The company is now eight years old and worth $1.2 billion for Walt Disney.
Clark continues with the book-side of the company and continues to do the voice-over work for the DVDs.
In May, Clark joined with John Walsh, known for his TV series America’s Most Wanted, to launch “The Safe Side” a video series aimed at keeping older children safe and teaching them safety around strangers.