When Stephanie Choi’s children were little she realized that she needed to get them out of the house to classes that would fill their days with interesting things to do. She would research classes online and had a difficult time finding the right things she was looking for and often did not know if the classes would be any good. When she would find a class she would often have to book in person and with a check. The process was not as simple as it could be.
So Stephanie and her former colleague, Marissa Evans, founded Sawyer, to help make parents’ lives easier by finding kids’ classes in their area and helping them make the booking and payment process frictionless. Users can subscribe for a monthly fee or buy semester and camps directly to the best, vetted classes in the neighborhood. The platform also helps parents keep track of their children’s schedules which in this ever busy world is always a huge help.
We spoke with Co-founder and CEO Marissa Evans about her journey to create Sawyer, how they vet their classes, and what’s next for the platform.
Why did you start Sawyer?
We founded Sawyer because as local parents we realized that there was a critical need for making it easier to discover and book classes for children. We felt like all the incredible unique classes that exist in the community are fundamental to childhood development and provide children with more specialized learning opportunities (outside of what they get in school) and making it easier to find, and then book these classes is critical!
How does the platform work?
Today Sawyer offers a customized software product to our educational partners to manage their entire class schedules. From there, they can list on our marketplace and parents can browse by neighborhood, age, date, time for the best classes for their children!
How do you make sure the classes you offer are good fits for your audience? How do you research and connect with the companies on the site?
We have a robust sourcing team that helps to vet our educational providers (which includes interviews and customer references). We also often send one of our own to check out the class. We look for educational providers who share our values of spreading education, high quality service and attention to families and their unique needs.
Do you have any user success stories that you can share?
We have a great story of a dad and son who tried out a theater class in Brooklyn for the first time… After class, the son told the father, “I didn’t know you could have so much fun in a room with no toys!” We think this speaks to the incredibly robust and important types of learning that is happening in these classes. Focus on imagination and creative thinking is going to be the most important skill children learn for their futures.
Do you have plans to expand out of Brooklyn and Manhattan?
Yes! We are launching in LA on March 21st!
Interested in trying out Sawyer?
Receive a 20% discount with code JOYST.