Many times your past career will lead you right into your own venture. That’s what happened with Candice Frankel. She had been a college counselor to high school students for 20 years before going out on her own to offer her guidance privately through her own firm. During her time in the field, Candice had developed a system for the students she worked with. “I saw that students needed to begin to get organized as early as 9th grade. I felt that if they waiting until junior year, they might miss out on key opportunities for figuring out what kind of college would be the best fit for them.”
Candice believes in the distinction that rather than picking a college and trying to get in, figure out who you are and then find a college that fits your goals and learning style. “I help my students become deeply connected to who they are before they even begin to look at where to apply.” With that in mind, Candice created an organizational product that captures what students need to know while going through the process. “This is effectively, a college counselor in a folder. It’s a four year plan with a timeline to follow.”
Candice named her process “The EDWIN,” short for Educational Winners. Candice intended to use her system for her own clients. However, when the private school where she had worked, bought The EDWIN for each of their 9th graders, she realized she had a product to sell.
Not only does The EDWIN keep track of essential documents, such as report cards, standardized tests results, awards and summer program info, each pocket contains tips to de-stress and de-mystify the entire process. Candice says, “The EDWIN transforms the college application process from a confusing maze to a streamlined organized system.” The goal is to empower teens to take control of finding the right school for them.
“I wrote content, sourced the perfect folder and hired a graphic designer who could see my vision for the product. That took close to 3 months.” Her first prototypes were cumbersome and had to be assembled by hand. Finally she was able to find a manufacturer that could create the functionality and look she wanted, and be cost effective at the same time. “When I saw their samples, I knew I had found the right company.”
Candice began marketing The EDWIN to friends who had high schoolers. “The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. It felt so satisfying to see my concept come to fruition.” Now she’s ready to roll it out to the country and the world.
With two girls who are 10 and 12, they can’t wait to use The EDWIN themselves and are very proud of their mom. “Developing a product and building a business around it, has been a great learning experience for me. I’m using my brain in a different way and I feel challenged every day.” Many times struggling to work on something new and figuring it out can be very rewarding.