João Ferreira is 22 years old, of Portuguese origin, single. He immigrated to Luxembourg at the age of 7, along with his family. Together with the family, he created his first business (Kindergarten & Day Care) in 2019, a project studied for a few years before. His first business is focused on the well-being and inclusion of children.
The success is largely due to the fact that it comes from a family of 5 siblings, in which the youngest has special needs (Autism).
João attributes his path and way of being in life, due to the experience and education lived in his childhood. The fact of having a special brother brought him the will and need to help children, focusing on the inclusion and well-being of children.
So great to meet you! Please tell us a little about yourself and what business did you start?
Hey, first of all, thank you for the opportunity to do this interview and share my experience. As I might have mentioned, my name is João, I’m 22 years old, originally from Portugal but living in Luxembourg since the age of 7.
I was raised in a big family, I have 4 brothers. We came to Luxembourg all together with no family here so in my opinion, it made us even closer to each other. My mom always had this passion for kids so I think I might have gotten it from her.
At a young age, if I’m not wrong I was 15-16 I started (working) in the kindergarten where my little brother was in. I mean it was not really working, in Luxembourg, we call it a (S T A G E) so I started to become very passionate about working with kids, so I decided to change my studies completely.
From architecture to education. I’m not gonna lie before I thought it was extremely risky and scary but now I can say that it was the best decision I made until today, cause I’m doing my everyday dream job and it came out as a huge success.
When we discovered that my little brother had autism and was being treated differently in his everyday life, that’s when the idea came. After lots of disagreements with the structures and staff taking care of my brother my mom and I said that the only way to change it is to open our own.
With the hope of being able to offer families and kids in the same situation that they must be treated with a little more love and care, cause they have a special need.
What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea of Royal Kids?
Like I said the idea came when we found out that my little brother had autism and was not well accepted in his kindergarten, school, after-school. So we opened our own offerings family who suffered from the same experience. Opening an educational structure with inclusion and the well-being of the children.
Describe the process of launching the business
Like for every business here in Luxembourg, we needed to go through lots of controls. Sometimes with not-so-easy people, people that don’t want you to make history cause of your nationality or simply cause you don’t start the conversation in their language.
The building, the team, the concept of education, the pedagogy project, etc.. are the types of things that need to be perfect to go through all of those steps to open.
Lots need to be done to be able to open something in Luxembourg especially when there are kids including special needs kids.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Without any doubt, the name, service, and quality we provide are compared to others.
What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers? How did your business stand out?
I was lucky, cause when modeling I was able to keep some important contact. It gave me the possibility to have some great push up for publicity and start-up of course introducing our quality of service and that we are one of or the only kindergarten and after-school (foyer) that has the inclusion of kids with special needs.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Today I can say that we are stable. Looking behind all the crazy things that happen because of COVID-19, it really brought us to the point that the only money supporting the loans, 8 salaries, cars, insurances, etc was our private money. I heard from an insider that from 100% of the kindergarten that opened in the same month as we did, only 14% survived. It’s completely insane.
When going through difficult situations like this, hearing such a thing coming from someone with the exact numbers, is incredible. I think that was the moment that we realized that we have build a strong and solid kingdom.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
To always have savings in case of an emergency, like COVID-19. Something that no one was expecting to happen, the world stopped.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Having some kind of influence and experience in private, I mostly use Instagram, Facebook, and Google business.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I’m gonna be honest I don’t like to read that much so my resources were some formations on every type of education, teaching, and of course the experience I had when doing the ( S T A G E). I think is very important to create or have this kind of field experience.
From my perspective I think that theory is just a paper, doesn’t mean is useless but I think that personal experience is just different. I had the case when working. I saw people with high diplomas and people with field experience and you could really tell the difference between both in some cases.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
Never let anyone judge or put you down cause they do not believe in your ideas or dreams. Look I can talk about my own personal experience.
If I had listened to everything I heard to put me down or make me doubt everything.
I would not be here today telling my story.
Where can our readers keep up-to-date with you?
On Instagram, Facebook, and on the news, I’m very socially active.
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