Dec 11 2020. views 558
Zahara Tharique, mom of 6-year-old twins Liyanah and Eesa, kickstarted Wiz Phonics after researching ways in which she could teach them letters and sounds, then coming up with her own ideas on the best way to do so. As an educator with over 10 years of teaching experience behind her, Zahara believes in “making information simple and delivering it effectively”, which is a benchmark she has achieved with Wiz Phonics.
What made you start this Wiz Phonics?
When I started teaching my children phonics it felt no less than a battle. I had to do a lot of research on how best to present all this new information to my twins! I worried about how they would receive and remember all these new letter shapes and sounds. So, I took the responsibility of making it simple for them to comprehend- that’s what teachers do- that’s what their mother has always done best! At this time, I was also reading for my Masters in Education. I based all my research for my Masters on early childhood education and parental involvement.
Wiz Phonics is a passion venture. It was inspired through teaching my 5-year-old girl /boy twins, Liyanah and Eesa. It all started when I opened my personal Instagram blog- Zeeetalks, back in 2017. It is a sort of lifestyle blog that was opened for me by my husband. He encouraged me to begin the blog because he knew I had a passion to write. On Zeeetalks, I shared everything I wrote- poems, quotes, life experiences as a daughter, wife, educator, postgraduate student and working twin mom. I then started sharing learning activities I did with my children. These posts gained a lot of popularity among my Instagram following and I would get loads of messages asking me to post more, as it helped other mothers. So, I continued as I found it rewarding.
When I posted stories of me using the resources I had developed to teach my children on my blog, Zeeetalks, I got large amounts of messages inquiring me from where I purchased them. Many people sounded disappointed when I told them I made these and they were not available for purchase. I felt bad that I couldn’t help them further and that was when Wiz was born- the idea for Wiz at least. As always, I narrated it to my husband and my family, they have been the sole reason I was able to materialize and create what is now Wiz!
The response to Wiz has been amazing! Wiz has 1000 followers on Instagram just a day and a half after I launched the page. In a week, I shipped my first international order! We have now launched more products, apart from the five products we started with. I have shipped to many countries, like USA, UK, Australia, UAE, Qatar, Japan, Saudi, Singapore, India and Malaysia! I am overwhelmed by the love and positive feedback I have been getting. I am eternally grateful to God Almighty for His Grace on me and family and I am humbled by all the support I have been gaining on social media!
How do you find inspiration to create these?
All my inspiration for this venture came from teaching my twins. When I started phonics with my twins, I found that there were limited resources available for purchase in Sri Lanka. I had to hand-make everything from scratch; getting them down was not economic due to the high freight costs! Also, most available online resources required payments phase after phase. So, I developed my own set of resources- each resource aimed at promoting learning and memory retention. With these, I witnessed my children quite easily caught up with their reading! They are turning 6 this December and now can read short sentences- there is more work to be done!
What was most challenging about your business?
In Sri Lanka, high-quality printing is quite expensive. I make sure Wiz products are durable, as teaching to read is a slow process. It has to be done systematically and resources need to be lasting to help you through the process. Finding high-quality production method and trying to make it available at affordable rates for everyone has been very challenging. I even provide eco-friendly storage pouches, so cards can be stored carefully after use-increases their lifetime and I believe it teaches children accountability- to use their learning materials carefully. As this is a passion venture and is not just done for the monetary aspect of it, balancing profits and production costs have been challenging.
What is your advice to parents about making the best use of your products?
All my products come with a carefully curated instruction card. Those who get in touch with me over the Wiz page, always have loads of questions. My team and I always take time to answer these queries. I also post short explanatory and training videos on the Wiz page for further reference. Apart from this, I am also actively working on initiating workshops to train mothers and early childhood teachers. I will be announcing details on the Wiz page about this shortly. I also firmly believe that in the early stages, regardless of the educational Institution a child attends, parents need to reinforce and support learning that happens at school! Children spend more time with parents within a domestic sphere and numerous international educational researches showed that Parental Involvement is positively linked to increased academic performance in children.
Will you be expanding your product range?
Yes! We started with five products and in just three months we are prepping to launch five more! I hope to keep releasing educational aids that will make the learning process simple and interesting to children. I believe a curious and stimulated mind learns best! My products are designed, aesthetically, to foster curiosity and engage learning by capturing their attention.
What is the age group you cater to?
We cater to children from the age of 6 months to 8 years as of now. A detailed product portfolio is given below.
Products to be launched - Wiz Goo-Goo-Gaga-Cards (Numbers, Shapes and Colours), My Alphabet Wizard (lowercase), My Alphabet Wizard (uppercase), The Phonics Wizard and Wiz -I can-read Cards.
How does the ordering process work?
Currently, we process orders on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Customers can inbox us for details and we offer our recommendations and deliver the products to their doorstep.