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Kristi Taylor is the epitome of a “MOMtrepreneur.” A busy mother of three, Kristi was dealing with gifting overload; with a constant stream of birthday celebrations, holidays, and a hectic schedule, she grew disheartened with the mindless exchange of gift cards. Wanting to give something special, yet realizing how overwhelming the question of “what to give?” can be, Kristi had a brilliant idea: revolutionize the way we give and receive gifts. Taking her creative idea and seeing it through, Kristi recently launched the universal gift registry, MonkeyWish.com, in an effort to help alleviate the useless frustration for both the giver and the receiver as well as make the gift giving experience more fun.
A virtual registry that simplifies wishing and giving, MonkeyWish.com is a one-of-a-kind gift registry, providing what most registries do not: the ability to add any item from any store for absolutely any occasion. Whereas most online gift registries are limited to a specific retailer or product, MonkeyWish.com can add any item through the online site, an exclusive barcode scanner iPhone/Android app or be input manually.
MO: What inspired the name MonkeyWish.com? How does it work?
Kristi: It’s no secret that finding an available URL is challenging. We had specific criteria for a name and wanted something happy, memorable and maybe a little on the wild side. Our children wanted a name with an animal. Since before birth, we have affectionately referred to our youngest daughter as monkey and she certainly represents happiness in our lives. So, when we playfully suggested MonkeyWish and found that it was available, we grabbed it. People young and old are curious about the name and everyone remembers it…mission accomplished.
There are two ways to add items to your list. Any time you are browsing the web and see something you “wish” for, simply add that item to your wish list by clicking our “add to MonkeyWish” toolbar bookmark. Or, if you see an item that you want in person, you can use our mobile app and scan any barcode to add the item to your wish list. One of my favorite features is the ability to add any item manually. There are so many items that are not available online, and other items that don’t have a barcode. Imagine yourself at an art show finding a one-of-a-kind work of art and the artist doesn’t even have a website. Well, you can take a picture, include contact information for the artist, and add it to your MonkeyWish.com list. My father-in-law added hugs to his list! I’m so excited to be able to create a place where something so fun is possible.
MO: Can you talk a bit about the development process for MonkeyWish.com and what challenges you’ve encountered along the way?
Kristi: Growing up, I was always motivated by the word NO; being told I can’t do something or that something was not possible always challenged me. While everyone recognized MonkeyWish.com as a great concept, my motivation for success was renewed when my ability for tech development was questioned. The greatest challenge was the decision to start. I read dozens of books, watched countless hours of podcasts, and did my best to absorb any knowledge possible. Eventually, it came time to trust my knowledge and just go for it. That decision was terrifying. Once we said go, the process became far less intimidating.
Currently, one of my greatest challenges is learning to balance and delegate responsibilities. I had no idea how many dimensions there are to tech development, and I am adamant on being involved in every detail. Tech development is a marathon and not a sprint, and balanced passion is vital.
MO: What were you doing before MonkeyWish.com and how has your experience and background help contribute to development and success of the company?
Kristi: Before MonkeyWish.com, I was a second-generation real estate broker and developer. That experience contributes daily to our success. The development processes are more similar than you could imagine. Most businesses share fundamental principles, and tech development is no exception. Having survived the recent real estate meltdown has given me a much different business perspective. I have learned to be thankful for that experience and use that experience to become more astute.
MO: What’s been the best advice that you’ve been given during your entrepreneurial journey?
Kristi: The personal advice that I most treasure is to always believe in yourself. There are so many smart people, especially in tech. Interacting with so many brilliant minds can be intimidating. I have learned to believe in my own qualities and perspective, and I’m never reluctant to admit I don’t understand something.
Professionally, when I began this journey, the best advice was to start simple and build a strong foundation. There’s always time to add bells and whistles. I am so thankful for those words of wisdom.
MO: What influenced your decision to give part of your proceeds to the Tim Tebow Foundation?
Kristi: In short, my upbringing. I was raised in a home where giving was a part of our daily life and my parents were a shining example. They taught me that giving is a far more rewarding than receiving. Actually, it was the idea of giving that was part of the inspiration of MonkeyWish.com. Supporting a charity was part of the plan from inception.
At the time we made the decision to choose a charity to support, the decision was easy. We decided on the Tim Tebow Foundation because we share the same core values. Tim’s accomplishments on the field are impressive, but his initiatives off the field are extraordinary. He is making a huge difference and we are excited to support his mission.
MO: What advice would you give a busy mother who has a great idea but isn’t sure how to take it to the next level?
Kristi: Reach out to me…seriously! It is an honor to be able to share the knowledge I’ve worked so hard to achieve and inspire others, especially busy mothers. The best course of action for making the leap into development starts with significant market research. Know exactly what you want to achieve and who your target audience is. Develop confidence in your idea, determination to stop at nothing, and grow some thick skin. Network and surrounding yourself with people who have already achieved success, they will make you better. Finally, realize that this journey is not a part-time job, it is lifestyle. Success does not come easy and requires huge sacrifice by you and your family. Go for it, you can do it!