0
Votes

Playtodaydc.com Launches Vienna Partnership

Website connects moms looking for activities with local groups and businesses.

— It really wasn’t much of a leap for Vienna systems engineer and mom Elisa Kepner to apply her capacity planning expertise to creating a website that connects local mothers and businesses to one another. In fact, www.playtodaydc.com is rooted in her skills at capacity planning. The website www.playtodaydc.com rings of a Travelocity or Orbitz model:

Invite local children-oriented businesses to promote unsold inventory directly to busy moms looking for activities to keep their young ones entertained or enriched, while, at the same time, providing resources and calendars that are free to access by parents.

To celebrate the launch of www.playtodaydc.com, Playtodaydc is sponsoring a free fun fair on Feb. 4, open to the public, at Westwood Country Club in Vienna. Moon bounces, martial arts demos, face painting, music sing-a-long, and soccer and golf are among the free family activities planned. The fun fair starts at 10 a.m. and runs until 2 p.m.

"I have solved some of the most complex problems but being a mom is, by far, the hardest, the most demanding and draining, of all the things I’ve done."

— Elisa Kepner, systems engineer and founder of www.playtodaydc.com

"Playtodaydc [PT] is a connection between moms and businesses," said Kepner. "On one side, we give parents everything there is out there, free and not free. On the business side, we partner with the businesses to help them sell space they haven’t sold and to introduce new ideas to the community.

"There is no site out there that consolidates all the things we do," said Kepner.

Here’s an example of how the business/consumer partnership works. Let’s say there is a creative movement center for little kids with classes not fully sold out. The business knows how much revenue it needs to take in to break even and to make a profit. When the break-even point is reached, if space remains unsold, the business can elect to sell that space on www.playtodaydc.com at fees of its choosing. Forty-eight of the 50 businesses PT staff has approached have signed up for inclusion in PT’s program. Vienna-Oakton, McLean, Great Falls, Reston and Herndon areas are currently pulling partners. "We’re spreading across Northern Virginia and hope to have 80 percent of Northern Virginia covered in the next four months," Kepner said.

THE MODEL for www.playtodaydc.com sprang from Kepner’s own experiences. She had considered opening an indoor play facility, a place where energetic kids could burn off energy, about three years ago.

photo

Elisa Kepner, founder, www.playtodaydc.com

Kepner saw, however, a greater need to inform parents on what is already available with young children. That idea morphed into her online business/consumer partnership website. "I needed more time with my kids and I needed something to do with them when I’m with them," said Kepner. "That’s what other moms are looking for, too."

"I have solved some of the most complex problems but being a mom is, by far, the hardest, the most demanding and draining, of all the things I’ve done."

To browse and find free activities on www.playtodaydc.com, a user needs not be registered. To buy space from a business provider, however, does require registration. Sales go through www.playtodaydc.com via authorize.net, a payment processing gateway similar to PayPal.

Playtodaydc’s primary staff is either stay-at-home or part-time work moms who are already looking for activities for their kids, Kepner said. Like Kepner herself, who was active in Vienna Moms, many in her network are part of the Vienna Moms resource tent. FlexForce of McLean also sends employees to Playtodaydc. FlexForce staff goes out to moms’ groups and recruits from there, Kepner said.

"Our lives are meant for our families," said Kepner. "Families come first, and a full-time job in downtown D.C. just won’t work. Our PT moms want to work part-time but they want to have time with their kids, too."

Kepner holds a patent in capacity planning. As a busy mom herself, she wanted a short-cut path for finding activities for her young children. Until the launch of her website on Jan. 14, there was no umbrella for pinpointing activities and entertainment resources. The calendar, alone, saves time and effort. But here’s the best part of www.playtodaydc.com: its calendar of events is not dependent on organizations or groups finding PT. The company works inward out. Its staff reaches out to groups, businesses, schools and other organizations that focus on children.

"PT is a team of 12 to 13 of us now," said Kepner. "I founded it, created it and funded it, but, I have a great staff to execute it."

KEPNER PLANS on taking her concept across the country over the next few years. PlayToday Dallas will be operational within the next six months and Denver before the end of the year.

"I’m a mom with kids, and no time to spend finding things for my children to do," Kepner said. "I need one place to go where everything is listed and is available. PT makes better use of a mom’s time and helps local businesses, too."

See http://www.facebook.com/#!/playtodaydc on Facebook and www.playtodaydc.com for more information on the website and the Feb. 4 fun fair at Westwood Country Club.