What do you do as a parent when your 3-year-old daughter says, “You need wine”? Or what about when she’s 4 years old and, when asked if she needs to take a nap, responds with “No, I wanna power through.”
If you’re most parents, you laugh and wish someone else was in the room with you. Or maybe you tweet it out. Or text your friends.
For mom Joy Moeller, those moments with her daughter are incredibly important and she does what she can to keep them organized creatively, in volumes, using Shutterfly and other applications. But she gets excited about LittleHoots, an app first started at the April 2013 Startup Weekend in Kansas City that she participated in a focus group for.
After winning the event and receiving encouragement from the judges to keep plugging, co-founder and CEO Lacey Ellis (right) has carried through the vision—with the rest of the founding team of Stephanie Lashley, Wade Burris and Kim Flaherty—nine months later to build out an app that hopes to act as a streamlined place to “capture, create and archive” funny or moving moments parents have with their kids. And they have taken to Indiegogo for support to get the product ready to launch this April.
For parents like Moeller, most of whom struggle to sanely keep track of daily tasks, let alone memories, Ellis envisions it as “scrapbooking on the go” that removes the hurdles. Parents will have one place to compile photos and quotes that quickly can be designed into beautiful “memory tiles,” which can then be pushed out to their networks within LittleHoots and the typical outlets, like Facebook and Twitter.
Dedicating a social network to quotes and photos of kids may help everyone, too. For some, streams can be overwhelmed by what all their friends’ kids are doing. For others, they’d rather be tuned in to everything their neighbor or nephew is up to and lose the other noise.
Arlo Oviatt, a single dad and LittleHoots focus group participant, sees that benefit and can’t wait to be able to use the app.
“Sometimes I do worry that it’s overkill on social media that is broadcast to a larger audience,” he said. “Do all of my friends really care that my kids made a fart joke? Probably not, but the grandparents always appreciate that kind of thing.”
Beyond the intimate network, what separates the app is in the details, Ellis said.
“It’s sophisticated design, with Hallmark-like quality,” she said. “We believe the more beautiful the memories are, the more likely you are to share them.”
How it works
Parents can snap photos of their kids and jot down whatever crazy quotes come from them, either to create a “memory tile” with one of the many design templates or store it using the “quick note” feature, where it’s logged with a time stamp and geotag to be grabbed later.
“All of those things need to be easy for busy parents,” Ellis said.
After its been designed, parents can share directly to their circle in LittleHoots. It won’t be available at launch, but soon after Ellis hopes to have the functionality to allow other approved family and friends to post memories of a child, such as a grandparent or teacher. If users want to then push out memories to Facebook or Twitter they can, or they can keep it to their LittleHoots network—private postings are an option, too.
Ellis said the sweet-spot audience for their product are parents with kids ages 2-7 who want to share and preserve the smaller moments before they’re lost—they also can sort all the memories by kid. She has a great vision for preserving them, too, with some components available at launch.
The team is working with companies in the region to provide the option of highly personalized hard goods for memories parents want to have live beyond the digital realm. Black River Imaging in Springfield, Mo., will help turn digital memories into items such as mouse pads, mugs and key chains, with more options coming down the road. They also may work with KC-based 3D printing startup Handprint to create toys and other goods, Ellis said.
At the end of the year, Ellis said users will be able to click one button to see all of their memories in a yearbook. Favorite memories will rise to the top and be larger in the layout based on shares and likes. Ultimately, she believes LittleHoots will allow the same sort of one-click functionality for every type of event—birthdays, holidays, etc. Which would mean a lot for parents like Oviatt.
“The ‘keeping track’ part is the challenge,” he said. “It’s hard to find one or two particular photos when I have thousands saved. And quotes just get buried in my Facebook feed. I considered starting a Twitter handle just for stuff my kids say and do, but even the thought of it just seemed like too much work.”
Help LittleHoots, hop on Indiegogo
The team has put their current funding to good use so far, but Ellis said it’s time to accelerate development and add key features. Digital Sandbox provided proof-of-concept funds to get development rolling and Ellis has put forth the rest, but LittleHoots has a $10,000 Indiegogo goal it’s hoping to reach 25 days from Monday.
Funders can help out at a number of different levels, with perks ranging from $5 for the VIP Early Adopters Club to an $8,000 family documentary shot by a professional videographer. In between those ranges are a number of Kansas City staple gifts, many Valentine’s Day themed, such as Christopher Elbow chocolates and BBQ gifts.
Credits: Video from LittleHoots‘ Vimeo. Photo from LinkedIn.