It can be difficult arranging your child’s summer camp, flute class, and math tutor all while juggling a career — a fact Hartsdale resident Amanda Cole knows all too well. “As a busy working parent, I had two or three places in my consideration set for my two children’s birthday parties and maybe three to four options for their classes,” recalls Cole. “And when I would learn of an ‘amazing drama class’ for my 8-year-old or ‘fantastic soccer class’ for my 6-year-old, I would be a bit too late.”
Cole mentioned the problem to Olivia Leon, with whom Cole had already created a successful business: Yummy Mummy. Cole and Leon founded Yummy Mummy in 2009 to offer new mothers breastfeeding products and support. Today, Yummy Mummy “is the largest durable medical equipment provider in the country specializing in breast pumps and supplies,” according to Cole.
Leon sympathized with Cole’s travails, and the two began hatching a plan for a whole new company, now called Pretzl. “We set out to create a single place where parents could go to find just the right class, camp, or event for their child or plan a standout birthday party with everything from invites to party favors,” explains Cole of Pretzl. “We quickly realized that there was no one-stop-shop for kids’ activities in Westchester— and no website anywhere in the US — that met our needs as parents. We wanted to be able to book a class as easily as we might book a reservation on OpenTable or a sitter on SitterCity. Simultaneously, we learned through our focus groups with kids’ venues and youth-focused businesses, that they were very open to finding new ways to reach parents.”
With this knowledge in hand, Cole and Leon focused on developing Pretzl, which went live May 1. The website is what Leon and Cole call the go-to-place for Westchester parents looking for classes, camps, events, and parties for their kids. “The activities offered on Pretzl range from the familiar, like soccer, gymnastics, mommy and me, STEM, and baseball and martial arts, to the less obvious like architecture, sewing, archery, Irish dance, rock climbing, circus performance, sailing, and cheerleading,” says Cole.
Parents are able to search for activities based upon selected criteria that include distance from home, day of the week, time of day, activity type, and others. Parents can also book activities on the spot and find important information such as holiday and weather-related closings in their Pretzl customer account. Cole also notes that soon parents will be able to sync their kids’ schedules onto their phones and, with each purchase on Pretzl, earn Pretzl points.
Above all, Cole truly feels Westchester is the ideal spot to get her new concept up and running. “Westchester parents are busy, but they still want to give their kids great experiences,” says Cole. “Pretzl will help them find those offerings and book them quickly and easily, so that parents spend less time researching ways to have fun with their kids, and more time actually having fun with their kids.”