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Thinking Outside The Box During The Holidays

The holidays can be a tough time. Family, that you only see on holidays, coming in and spending extended periods of time with you, present buying, holiday parties, you name it it’s stressful.

For many, the holidays also means going to see Santa Claus in a mall.

Author Mark Chalifoux, on The Dad website, writes:

Taking your kids to meet Santa is a wholesome family tradition. You get to drive to an always-crowded suburban mall, spend 10 minutes circling for a parking spot, wait in a long line to meet Santa, and then take a picture of your kid crying when he comes face to face with the most magical person in their world. It really is pretty special.

This experience is daunting for anyone with kids. But it can be much harder for families with kids who are on the Autism Spectrum.

In malls across the country, Autism Speaks is making it easier for children with Autism see Santa in a calm environment. This is an example of a partnership between a great nonprofit and businesses who gets it.

Autism Speaks made visiting Santa a more enjoyable experience for everyone.

This example of thinking out of the box is a great example of how businesses can get people in the mall to see an attraction like Santa, but without the stress and bad memories. This brings in a segment of the population who would might otherwise skip the situation all together.

So it’s a win/win. The family gets the memories with Santa and the mall gets people who are really appreciative in their establishment to then spend more time there and possibly spend money.

What do you think? Post you thoughts below.

Image Credit: Mike Arney on Unsplash

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Posted on Medium

The Startup Journey

This post was originally posted on Medium

So I met the founder of a great new startup called My Sensory Locations (MSL) back in January and loved the idea so much I became their Chief Marketing Officer.

The idea behind it is to give the special needs community the ability to venture out of their comfort zone and try new restaurants, visit new businesses, and get a sense of what to expect when they get there before they ever venture out.

This idea has never been done before, that’s what drew me in and why I’m investing so much time into getting the application through the Minimal Viable Product (MVP) stage. We’re still chugging at it, with the goal to have a working MVP by late September of this year.

I’ve done the startup thing before. I’ve started and I am currently running my own digital marketing agency, which after 8 years (or so) is still very much a startup. Yet, though I know how to bootstrap and hack my way through getting a product or service to market, this MSL project is completely new and exciting for me. Oh, and did I mention, totally scary?

Like everyone involved in project they are invested in and passionate about, I want to see MSL succeed and be wildly successful. Not for the riches or the fame, but to make a difference in a grossly under-served and growing demographic.

The unknown is what gets me. Putting all this work into something, that you know will work… you think will work… you hope will work.

So this journey is really only beginning. I’m excited to see where it goes and how it progresses, but I’d be lying if I said I’m a bit scared and nervous.

If you’d like to learn more about My Sensory Locations go to GetMSL.net or email the team at info@getmsl.net. MSL is launching in the Philadelphia-metro area in late September. If you would like updates on our progress, please send us an email and we’ll add you to our “Updates” list.

Seth Goldstein is the CMO of My Sensory Locations. His views are his and don’t necessarily reflect those of MSL or the rest of the team.