Empowering People
& Revitalizing the Community

A Moment with our EDTP Graduate- Arlene Wray

Posted on 9/25/2023 by Ray Lamboy in LAEDA News

Arlene Wray is the owner and operator of Snorkkel Whalengton LLC. Founded in 2015, Snorkkel Whalengton Company is a Limited Liability company. The Founder, Arlene Wray, a certified Women’s Business Enterprise, a women-owned business, and author, set out to write positive children’s literature and produce bilingual children’s books that children and families will cherish and last a lifetime.

(1) LAEDA: Entrepreneurship is a very challenging path to take with many different possible directions. What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?

I didn’t set out to become an entrepreneur. It was a long time before I knew I was on an entrepreneurial journey. I teach preschool and am a nanny, and my love for caring and reading to children blossomed into a bilingual children’s book. I only wanted to write children’s stories and create kid’s books. Thus, I self-published my first book in the year 2013 and people liked it and wanted to buy it. From there, I began selling to parents, grandparents, friends, and different venues such as at my mom's church, teacher conferences, craft fairs, etc. Afterward, a close friend told me to get an LLC and start a business. At this time, I didn’t know what an LLC was, but my dear friend helped me with the process.

(2) LAEDA: Why did you choose your industry?

I have enjoyed working in the childcare industry for almost 20 years as a preschool teacher and nanny. I believe it was my destiny to write children’s stories that provide daily story time which solidifies positive teachable moments that will last a lifetime. My books are available in the following languages: Spanish, Chinese, and English. Moreover, the topics I write about in my stories are amongst the following: Kindness, Empathy, Inclusion, helpfulness, anti-bullying, and love and care for each other.

(3) LAEDA: Tell me about your experience while attending EDTP. What have the major takeaways been from the program? Have you had any “Ah-ha!” moments? How did the program help you?

My major takeaway from the EDTP program is the business plan. The business plan was an “Ah-ha” moment for me!

My teacher, Sehrish, helped me craft a business plan, which I applied to my business. It worked; I began to network with community outreach coordinators through email and Social Media Posts.

Reaching out on social media, engaging, and interacting with relevant industries have helped solidify connections and acquire business revenue! The instructors/teachers were insightful, informative, and thorough, and I learned about the best practices and procedures to follow to make Snorkkel Whalengton Collection successful.

In addition, my classmates were fantastic, and the LAEDA staff were incredible.

(4) LAEDA: Tell me about your journey on the road to business start-up. What have been some of the challenges, successes, failures, etc.?

Running a business always needs funding and is challenging and expensive if you do not budget carefully, especially if you are a startup. I am blessed and fortunate to have my mother and daughter to help me. They help if I need to purchase inventory or pay bills to help me stay focused on the business and not stress too much. I have faced a few challenges not being able to buy equipment for the company. To illustrate: like needing a new computer, printer, inventory, basic supplies, ink, or print paper and etc.

I have had failures:

Not getting funding from a bank, my electricity was shut off! However, I did not give up and kept on doing my research and working on my goals with my motivation at heart and purpose in everything I do for my business, for the kids, the communities, families, schools and organizations.

Challenges are that I went to a vendor event and did not generate any revenue; it was outdoors, the sun was extra hot, and I didn’t have a tent. We were miserable, and we had to leave early, or we would be baked. I complained to my mother that I didn’t think I would do any more outside events, and she purchased a new tent so I could continue with business. Sometimes challenges and failures often teach us valuable lessons and just make as stronger and more ready for opportunities to come and also to create our own opportunities.

A few successful moments were when I connected through Instagram to Concilio, “which provides a multitude of services for Spanish/bilingual persons,” their development specialist interviewed me to participate in The Philadelphia Puerto Rican Day Parade as an author to sell my bilingual children’s book.

My connection through a vendor /networking event with Co-founder and educational consultant Dionne-who interviewed me to be a guest author at the Hispanic Literacy Festival.

I’ve successfully connected with the right consultants who help translate or design my children’s books.

I surround myself with friends who genuinely want to see me make it! Having that network system and positive support really makes an impactful and positive difference.

(5) LAEDA: Could you tell me a little about where your business is today?

Snorkkel Whalengton Collection has reached a few multicultural marketing milestones with other businesses today.
One of them is that I will participate as a vendor in the YeShi Chinatown Night Market vendor.

The second milestone is that I will be an author at the Concilio 2023 Puerto Rican Day Parade. The third is that I am the guest author at the Hispanic Literacy Festival.

Other current milestones are Snorkel Whalengton bilingual children’s books cataloged in libraries in the United States.

The first-time Snorkkel Whalengton LLC business is booked for every weekend in September.

Thanks to ADC Kid (Owner, Davon Clark also a LAEDA graduate of this program), I will participate in my first Annual Children’s Book Festival.

Furthermore, I will be a vendor at more community outreach programs for back-to-school events.

I meet with my mentor (Joe) from SCORE every month and listen to his invaluable advice, help, and mentorship.

It is one of the best decisions I made for the business.

(6) LAEDA: Do you have any advice for future (or existing) entrepreneurs?

My advice for future and existing entrepreneurs is to work hard and never give up!

Network! Network! Network! Make the right connections to build and move the business forward.

Get a Mentor! Get the necessary help from the LAEDA- Entrepreneurial Development Training Program, schedule and attend your business counseling sessions, and follow the business plan. Keep climbing! Blessings!

More about Arlene Wray and Snorkkel Whalengton LLC:

Snorkkel Whalengton Company sells bilingual children’s books and merchandise. Stories about kindness, empathy, inclusion, helpfulness, love, and care for each other. Books are available in English, Chinese, and Spanish.

Snorkkel Whalengton LLC is a trademarked name with the USPTO. Snorkkel Whalengton mission is to supply bilingual children’s books to customers globally and provide quality, affordable bilingual children’s books, and merchandise. Create and cultivate long-term relationships with children and families.

Where Arlene Wray can be reached:

Website: https://www.snorkkelwhalengton.com/

Email: sales@snorkkelwhalengton.com

Phone: 1 (215) 253-8531

Facebook: Snorkkel Whalengton

Instagram: Snorkkel Whalengton Collection

LinkedIn: Snorkkel Whalengton

About the Entrepreneurial Development Training Program (EDTP):

The Entrepreneurial Development Training Program (EDTP) is a free, nine-week business skills training course offered in Camden, NJ in the Spring and Fall each year. Qualified entrepreneurs receive 72+ hours of training from industry professionals, business planning, and continued technical assistance. Apply online at www.LAEDA.com.