Today we’d like to introduce to the team at the Language Learning Market -- Allison Monroe, Hiba Hamati, Leonor Gallegos, & Julian Gallegos.

Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today. You can include as little or as much detail as you’d like.
Our story begins with our CEO and Founder, Allison Monroe, who started an Arabic bookstore because she wanted to teach her children Arabic but couldn’t find many resources. The store began with books but expanded into toys, puzzles, and games. Eventually, the business expanded into digital media with the launch of a successful YouTube channel dedicated to teaching kids Arabic. 

Allison had a vision: If she created a successful Arabic language marketplace, it was time to take that from just one language to the more than 7,000 languages that exist.

In November 2018, Allison reached out to each member of the Executive Team and shared her business plan and vision for Language Learning Market. She asked if we would be interested in bringing it to life, and we all gave her a resounding yes!  

Allison had known each of us for at least 15 years, and as long as we had known her, she had talked about us working together in some capacity. Our team is made up of entrepreneurs, community leaders, and industry experts who have spent their careers working with global corporations to help build, brand, and market billion-dollar businesses. Each of us have always shared a passion for languages and learning. Most of our team members are multilingual and have traveled, studied, and worked around the globe. We were ready to build a community that inspires, empowers, and impacts the world through the love of language and learning.

This year, we officially launched the Language Learning Market! We’ve been excited to see the excitement and engagement with our Marketplace, Directory, and Media Influencer Network.

Please tell us more about your business or organization. What should we know? What do you do, what do you specialize in / what are you known for?
There are 3 pillars of this business model: (1) an online Marketplace for buying and selling educational resources, (2) an industry Directory with curated educational business and school listings and (3) a Media Influencer Network dedicated to providing expert advice to over 1.2 million followers on social media . 

Language Learning Market is a global community of parents and educators looking for the best learning resources worldwide. Last year, the future of education shifted to online learning and digital products, leading parents and educators around the world to scour the internet for the best educational resources. We bring the best in global education to one central location — the Language Learning Market.

Parents and educators purchase digital educational products, like  activities and lesson plans, and  educational toys including puzzles, games and blocks in the 25 most-spoken languages. We empower our Sellers to turn their love of language learning into a profitable business and give them an opportunity to grow their businesses by selling through our global network.

In the world’s most comprehensive industry Directory, consumers can quickly discover the best educational resources with valuable reviews from others. From online videos and distance learning tools to tutors and educational services, parents and educators will find a wide range of learning resources searchable by subject, age, grade, and 180+ languages.

Our Social Media Network connects people who love language and learning. Businesses can spread the word about their brands to a captive audience of educators and parents who are already following us on our social media channels. These media platforms are a source of industry news, information, advice, advertising opportunities, and business development for the global education industry.

Across YouTube and other social media platforms our more than 1 Million followers come to us for language learning, industry news, information and advice.

What sets you apart from others? What are you most proud brand wise? What do you want our readers to know about your brand, offerings, services, etc?
Educational resources and products are plentiful, but there is not a centralized platform where parents and educators can reliably find the best resources in multiple languages. We built a curated, collaborative community designed to be the center of the global education industry. On our platforms, we handpick the highest quality educational tools and products and serve them up in one place, allowing consumers to quickly and easily find the best that education has to offer. We inspire, empower, and impact the world through the love of learning.

Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
As with any global company, we have our fair share of balancing schedules across multiple time zones with team members in Far North Dallas, Mexico, Jordan, and India. Many team members had to dedicate nights and weekends to this new endeavor as they continued to work full-time jobs. Additionally, we created a working environment that truly prioritizes a healthy work-life balance. So, it took some time to find the right working cadence to support our team members as they juggle personal and professional responsibilities. 

The biggest challenge we had was pivoting our timeline to launch the Directory ahead of schedule. Our plan was initially to build out the Marketplace and build the Directory in the next development phase. However, when the pandemic hit, and there was a shift towards virtual learning, we realized the Directory could fill an immediate and critical need for parents and teachers. As kids shifted to virtual learning, they were sent home with unorganized lists of websites, apps, and resources. Parents and educators were left to sift through the lists to hopefully find something to support their distance learning needs. As parents experiencing this firsthand, we knew we had to curate a comprehensive collection of the best educational resources that can be easily searched and filtered. In April 2020, we started building the Directory, and now we have over 3,800 resources with new listings being added daily!

Do you have any advice for those who are just starting out? Anything you wish you knew when you were starting out?
The best advice we can give is to find the right team and make sure you are working in a way that plays to everyone’s natural strengths. It’s important to learn and understand your strengths and capabilities so you can understand how they can complement those of others on the team. As entrepreneurs, you wear a lot of hats and don’t always have the luxury of only working on projects that leverage your skill set and interests. However, you ought to make a concerted effort to give team members the opportunity to own and lead projects that showcase their talents and interests. This will not only create a sense of ownership, but also result in a higher quality work product.  

Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask for help and seek guidance from others who have been down this path. As entrepreneurs, we have a tendency to try to figure out as much as we can on our own. However, there is a multitude of resources available to start-ups and small businesses — especially those owned and led by women and minorities. Join local networking groups and leverage social media platforms like Clubhouse to gain access to mentors and subject matter experts. The more we joined and interacted in these communities, the more support and opportunities we discovered. Doing so also allowed us to share our expertise and knowledge with others who are just starting out their journey as entrepreneurs. Building and growing a business can feel isolating at times, so cultivating a support network is critical. 

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