Toronto Mom Now was excited to talk to Laura Berg, founder of My Smart Hands (MSH), an innovative and hugely successful company that teaches baby sign language classes.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR COMPANY. HOW OLD IS IT?
My Smart Hands was founded in 2007 and is now at the forefront of signing with hearing babies and children. I’ve been on the Dragons’ Den, top 10 Chatelaine Entrepreneur of the Year, front page of the Toronto Star and was the finalist in the TBOT Business of the Year award! I have one of the top 40 most viewed of all time You Tube channels in Canada, with over 18 million views!
WHY DID YOU START MY SMART HANDS AND WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFOREHAND?
I started My Smart Hands for my daughter. I wanted to stay at home with her but still had to earn a living. I was a teacher before starting MSH and had a background in sign language so it was a natural fit to start a baby signing company. I have been really lucky because I have had a lot of success not only with teaching classes but also in creating great signing products.
DO YOU HAVE KIDS? WHAT ARE THEIR AGES?
I have two kids. A girl, Fireese, age 6.5 and a boy, Hartford, age (almost) 3.
WHAT PRODUCTS AND SERVICES DO YOU OFFER?
We offer baby sign language classes all over the word. We have almost 200 instructors worldwide and we even offer live, interactive classes online. We also have flash cards and smart phone apps. This September my first book called The Baby Signing Bible is coming out. It’s published with Avery, a division of Penguin NY. It is being released in the US, Canada and Russia.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOUR COMPANY IN 5 YEARS?
I absolutely love what I do and hope to continue growing this amazing company. I love the business aspect of being an entrepreneur. I do a lot of guest speaking on entrepreneurship and business development. I will always continue to grow MSH but I also love the focus on being a business expert and sharing my knowledge with people. Whatever the future holds for me I will always be an entrepreneur!
ARE THERE ANY SPECIAL THINGS THAT YOU DO (GREEN INITIATIVE, CHARITY, ETC.) ?
Being the owner of my company allows me to make choices that feel right to me. It’s important for businesses to choose to make a difference in the world. I donate products and money to the Hospital for Sick Kids, The United Way and the Massey Centre. I also post my instructional videos on You Tube for free so that signing with babies can be accessible to all!
WHAT DO YOU REALLY WANT TORONTO MOMS TO KNOW?
I want moms to know that signing with babies is a fun and educational way to bond with their babies. Signing allows for early communication, which seriously reduces frustration, both for the baby and the mom. It is also really easy. Anyone can do it!