(PHILADELPHIA) Tyler Bausinger has had a life-long fascination with dinosaurs. www.philly burbs.com
There were always dinosaur books around the house, and he still remembers a first-grade trip to a museum to see dinosaur skeletons. It sparked his imagination.
“I think it’s just mind-boggling that they were here so long before us,” said Bausinger.
Bausinger is sharing his love of the prehistoric animals with children through his new venture, Kids Dinosaur of the Month Club, which encourages reading and learning. Each month, kids receive a “dino box” in the mail. It features a specific dinosaur, with educational books, activity and coloring materials, collectible cards and a figurine. Each box costs $19.95.
“The focus is really just on trying to blend imagination and education,” Bausinger said.
Nice work for a high school student.
Bausinger, 18, is a senior at Pennsbury High School. The budding entrepreneur started Kids Dinosaur of the Month Club to gain some real-world business experience before heading off to college.
“People are really shocked I’m going out and doing something like this at such a young age. But the excitement I have for things, I like to be able to spread it to other people,” he said. “I want to inspire kids to go out and to want to learn. My family instilled that in me.”
Bausinger’s family has helped him get the business off the ground. His uncle and cousin invested some start-up funds. Bausinger’s father, Troy, who had experience starting his own business and works in the publishing industry, was able to steer his son in the right direction.
The teen built the company website himself, figuring out a lot of things by trial and error. But it seems to be working: Bausinger has gotten Web traffic from as far away as South America, Europe and Asia, and is taking orders from around the United States.
To date, there are four months available for purchase, featuring tyrannosaurus rex, stegosaurus, velociraptor, and triceratops.
Bausinger is working with figurine and publishing companies to provide the materials for his dino boxes. Some of the company representatives don’t realize he’s only a teenager.
“They don’t ask and assume I’m working for a larger corporation,” he said. Others know and “get very excited about an 18-year-old kid still in high school (doing this).”
Jennifer Carl didn’t realize Bausinger was so young, either.
“Good for him. It’s a great idea,” said the Burlington Township, N.J., mom, whose two daughters, ages 5 and 6, recently received dino boxes as gifts from their grandmother. The books, Carl said, were perfect for their reading levels and the girls love the collectible cards.
“Finding a gift about dinosaurs that excites them and is also educational was a real find,” said Carl, who plans to order more months.
The dino boxes can be tailored to specific age groups, and are generally targeted to customers from toddlers to pre-teens. When Bausinger communicates with his young customers, he adopts the persona of Ptyler Pterodactyl.
The dino boxes are assembled at the Bausinger home in Lower Makefield. Tyler’s younger sister, Allie, helps pack the orders and has her own dinosaur persona, Allie the Allosaurus.
Even with college on the horizon, Bausinger plans to continue Kids Dinosaur of the Month Club for as long as he can. He’s hoping to work with libraries and schools to offer programs.