America’s SBDC Iowa is an outreach program of Iowa State University’s Ivy College of Business and the Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations. Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Joujou, Des Moines
Joujou started with two moms seeing the need for an appropriate environment where their younger children could play in. They opened their doors in May, 2022 and introduced a new way to play!
Amanda Wiebers and Jenny Johnson came from different backgrounds but their common core as parents and love for learning that is not tied to the standard, made Joujou possible. Joujou is an indoor play space for children ages 0-5 and their caregivers. They also provide classes and community for both children and caregivers.
Joujou is Montessori-inspired, meaning the play space is focused on fostering self-paced and whole being learning. Amanda says, “Every single part of Joujou was designed intentionally, for both children and caregivers, and that shines brightly.” Focusing on both the children and caregivers allows them to provide a safe space for their children to play and to listen and support the stages that each person is at. Joujou is helping their community by providing discounts to families who need financial assistance, offering scholarship for their adult-focused classes and during the holidays they donated 50 play passes. As a new business, they are continue to find the best ways to provide a meaningful impact for their community and the families in it.
Amanda came to the Mid-Iowa SBDC with an idea of starting Joujou in March of 2020, shortly after everything shut down due to Covid-19. Although excited and ready to start planning, she realized it would likely would not be able to move forward until the pandemic had passed. In 2021, after finding her business partner, she reached out again ready to move forward with the idea. Jenica Johnson, Regional Director, worked through their projections and business model to get them to a place where they felt comfortable talking with banks and seeking financing. Joujou also partners with local small business, including SBDC Clients The Collective and Storyhouse Bookpub.
When looking to the future, Amanda and Jenny plan to continue to bring play to as many families as possible through their equity goals and projects. Amanda says, “That is in our immediate future, but we are always eyeing growth”. They are excited to see what the next few years brings Joujou and hopefully expanding throughout the Metro and maybe beyond.
For more information: www.joujoudsm.com