Local Flair is back and this time with a unique reading subscription box that brings age specific books for your children every month to your door. Charlotte Perret, the mastermind behind the idea of Kitabox, is here to share with us more about how the business began and what she hopes to achieve with it, as well as an insight into her own favourite book. P.S. Giveaway at the end of the post!
An insight into Charlotte and how Kitabox began.
Born and raised a French national, Charlotte studied Business and Marketing in France and carried on her education in London and Italy. Three years ago she decided to make the plunge and move to the UAE, exploring Abu Dhabi before finally settling down in Dubai, working in the Marketing field. In November 2015, almost one year ago now, the idea of Kitabox was formed.
Since her childhood, Charlotte held a special place in her heart for books and reading them. She feels that in the UAE books are mainly found online or in bookshops, and she wanted to make them more accessible to children here so that they can immerse themselves in the world of books just as she did. She knew of a similar concept of a book subscription back in France and wanted to add her own twist to it and bring the idea to Dubai. Charlotte knew that she needed to create more excitement in the UAE as well as be able to adapt to the multicultural society of this country and wide range of curriculums offered in all the schools. Thus, Kitabox began.
More about Kitabox
Kitabox is a monthly subscription box that is age specific and delivers books both in English and Arabic. Each box contains a reading book, an activity book, a newsletter as well as a few gifts and surprises for your little one to enjoy. All this comes at a very affordable price of only AED 60 per month for a one year subscription, packed in an easy to carry and lightweight cardboard box! The name Kitabox combines English and Arabic in itself as the word Kitab is Arabic for Book. “Make reading a habit” is their motto, with a brightly coloured geometric feather for their logo. Charlotte chose it to be colourful, highlighting the word Kitabox in a vibrant Orange not only because it is her favourite colour, but also an inviting colour for children.
How does Charlotte find regular new themes and inspiration for the Kitabox every month?
Charlotte ensures that the books within every Kitabox are not classic or well distributed books that the children may already have in their library at home. Instead she carefully goes through a selection process of books that are high quality, include beautiful illustrations and have primarily positive values that each child can take away from when reading them. Charlotte also ensures that the books are school specific, and her themes each month go hand in hand with the academic calendar. For example, in October the overall theme will be spooky, November will be all about Science and December will educate the children about UAE, as this is the month that begins with the National UAE Holiday. As for the summers, she concentrates on an underlying theme of Family and Friends as this is when all the children are off from school for their summer holidays.
What’s so unique about Kitabox that makes it stand out from the rest of the chidlrens’ subscription boxes?
Kitabox is the first and only reading subscription box that delivers high quality books along with small gifts for your children to enjoy. The books are original and include fun attention grabbing content. With this subscription box, children are able to expand their own library of high quality books and help promote reading as an essential activity of pleasure amongst themselves.
Sourcing books for Kitabox
Kitabox partners with a range of reputable publishers in order to offer the best reading material. The English books chosen to be inside Kitabox are majorly by British publishers including Penguin Random House, Nosy Crow and Candlewick Press, whereas the Arabic books are locally published by Middle East publishers including Kalimat, Al Salwa books and Alaalm Alarabi.
Charlotte’s proudest achievement since starting Kitabox.
The very first box that was sent out in early May this year was one of the proudest moments, as well as having her interview published in The National to raise awareness amongst institutions about the importance of encouraging reading amongst children.
The most challenging aspect since starting Kitabox and overcoming it.
Charlotte finds that convincing parents that books are the best tool to invest in is the most challenging aspect. She has found that parents often relate books to education and school, and not a means of pleasure and enjoyment that children can benefit from. The mindset of giving your child the iPad or toys to play with all the time instead of handing them a book to read, or even reading with them, is an all too common sight that Charlotte feels very passionate about and wants to change. Many parents raise concerns that a book is of not much use if it does not have educational content, but what we forget is reading in itself improves the language and the positive values that the books within Kitabox contain are of just as great importance.
A day in the life of Charlotte
Charlotte’s usual day starts off with checking emails, ensuring the website is running smoothly and ensuring all new subscriptions are dispatched. Throughout the day, she ensures she is on top of the Kitabox social media in between meeting new schools & nurseries to pitch her idea, as well as hold presentations for parents within schools to spread the word about Kitabox and its many benefits.
Charlotte’s favourite book as a child
Charlotte’s favourite childhood book that she still fondly remembers was titled “We Love You, Charlotte”, authored by a family friend of the same name as the book and herself. This French book became close to her heart due to the emotional story line of an orphan that struggles to find her place in her new adopted home, but does so in the end. Just the kind of happy ending that warms your heart.
Charlotte’s advice to other women in the UAE planning to start a business.
Charlotte says it is surely quite a challenge to start a business, and that is no different whether you are a man or woman residing in the UAE. However, if you are convinced and passionate about it, you will do well. There will always be people ready to give you advice; however Charlotte believes that sometimes going with your gut instinct serves you best.
Kitabox in 5 years time?
Charlotte would love to partner up with all the schools in the region as well as expand her business all over the UAE in the coming years. She would also like to expand on the collection of English and Arabic books provided.
Mummy On My Mind’s Opinion
Charlotte was kind enough to provide us with a September issue Kitabox (as pictured below) tailored for my 2 year old Baby Z. He was so happy to carry the box home on his own, and eager to open it as soon as we stepped through the door. At bedtime when I pulled out the book, “Mouse’s First Night at Midnight School”, he quickly began pointing out all the different animals he could see. I found that Baby Z was able to follow the story easily and was excited to turn the page to find out what happened next. As with all books I read with Baby Z, I tried to make it interactive by asking him questions along the way and pointing out different objects on the page, and there was definitely plenty to name in this beautifully illustrated book. What I also loved is that there is the concept of numbers and alphabets within the book, which Baby Z is beginning to recognise and thus a great way to reinforce this educational material. Baby Z was just as thrilled to colour inside the Activity Book provided. Even though some of the pages inside the Activity book need parental guidance, it sure keeps the little one busy.
Being quite the book worm myself, I truly appreciate Charlotte’s efforts of making books more accessible to children, and think this is a really great way of engaging children in something they love and can benefit greatly from. I, as a parent, have often been shocked at the prices of many books on sale in the Book shops, and to hear that Kitabox is providing so much at an affordable price is a breath of fresh air. It is apparent that Charlotte is striving to provide books of the highest quality catered to all ages, and would therefore highly recommend Kitabox to all parents.
Kitabox and Mummy On My Mind are holding a giveaway for your chance to win a Back To School Kitabox, specific to the age of your child. The giveaway will run from 3rd October to 15th October. All you have to do is:
- Follow mummyonmymind and kitaboxuae on Instagram
- Like, comment with the hashtag #KBgiveaway and tag three friends on the photo of the Kitabox giveaway.
The winner must be living in the UAE and have a UAE postcode that the item can be posted to.
If you are interested in ordering your Kitabox, head on over to the Kitabox website, drop them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or stay updated through their social media as linked below:
All photographs in this post are the property of Kitabox, and have been used by the owner’s permission.