CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The creators of Playtime Edventures based in Charlotte were looking to expand the reach of their business once the impact of COVID-19 hit. With the help of Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator program, they say they’ve noticed a significant increase in sales.
The company is known for selling interactive play sheets that kids can explore, play, learn and sleep on. Playtime Edventures co-owner Kevin Gatlin says he first got the idea after visiting a friend’s son in the hospital who had nothing to keep him entertained.
“On the way home I was thinking if that was my wife and I and what we would do to keep our sons preoccupied,” Gatlin said.
In 2014, Gatlin and his team launched Playtime Edventures working with hospitals directly to provide the bedsheets that offer more than 60 activities for kids as young as 3 years old to teens. Unfortunately, once COVID-19 forced the hospitals into shutdown, Playtime Edventures was also forced to pivot their business to online retail instead.
“Trying to figure out how to make Amazon work it was very difficult," Gatlin said.
That's when members of Amazon’s Black Business Accelerator program stepped in to offer expert advice in advertising, content and customer communication.
“To be able to have someone to help scale us up faster leads to dollars, and dollars make sense,” Gatlin said.
Playtime Edventures first started selling a couple of bedsheet sets a week but has now grown to multiple orders a day. The business is also expanding to organizations that provide beds to misplaced kids like hospice, foster homes and juvenile detention centers.
“Anywhere there’s a bed and a kid that has high anxiety and is lonely — we want to make sure our bedsheets are there,” Gatlin said.