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Lyla Black - Teenage Entrepreneur - Lyla Tov Monsters

Featured Story:
Lyla Black

13 year teenager from New York running her toys startup

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Lyla Black, Founder
Lyla Tov Monsters

Image of Sheema Kazi By Sheema Kazi and Mary Olson

Lyla Black from Lyla Tov Monsters standing with awardNEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, U.S.A. May 20, 2020. Creative thinking and imagination are how children express themselves and learn about the world. Creativity fosters imagination and innovation, the common denominators in the world of entrepreneurship. Teen entrepreneurs build ideas. Lyla Black‘s creative mindset was encouraged by her parents at a very early age. She loved drawing and was especially fascinated by characters. 

At age three, Lyla made a toy monster as a gift for her dad. She started with a drawing and asked her mom for help with the character,  Her Mom, a costume designer, showed Lyla how to create a three-dimensional figure. 

The drawing evolved as a prototype for a beautiful monster toy. Lyla’s early-age experience prompted more exploration. By the time she reached age four, when most kids are selling lemonade from their front yards, her parents encouraged Lyla to sell her monsters. They knew she would respond to the challenge and also acquire some business knowledge. The stage was set for entrepreneurship.

She named her venture, Lyla Tov Monsters.  Lyla Tov is a Hebrew phrase that translates to “good night”. Hence it turned out to be a perfect name as it reflects the identity of her venture. The business started in 2010 when Lyla’s parents, Eric and Erin Black became the co-founders of the company. 

She intentionally designed toys to make children feel secure and help them to sleep feeling safe. To some kids, the monster seemed like a guardian angel. Parents appreciated the monsters' effect on their kids, especially since, and it helped them sleep at night.

Lyla BlackLyla is now thirteen years old and an 8th grader in New York, USA. She manages her company effectively with the help of her mom, despite her busy academic schedule. Her mom supported her from the day the very first toy was created. Lyla admires her mother as a role model. 

After beginning her entrepreneurial roadmap with hand-made monster toys, she scaled her business by producing factory-made toys to meet the demand. Growing a business is her most significant achievement. Now, Lyla Tov Monsters is a self-sustained venture that was kick-started with $20,000. A small part of the company’s income is donated to organizations that have similar concepts. Some causes include The Pajama Program, with comforting bed routines for children affected by adversity. Project Night Night donates packages to homeless children.

Lyla believes in collaborative partnerships and creating new growth opportunities. She also sells her products to various shops and fairs. The toys are sold primarily through her website. Since digital business requires strategies to reach more potential customers, Lyla plans to commit more time to marketing. She initially hired a third party marketer, but it didn't work out. "It was a mistake," she says. 

Her honors include the CHITAG Young Achiever of The Year Award and the Inaugural Women in Toys Wonder Girl Award. She hopes to achieve more recognition but is also content with what she has. She told us that her greatest pleasure comes from the process of the work itself, rather than materialistic or personal financial gain. She hopes to set an example for young entrepreneurs.

Logo: Lyla Tov Monsters

Having started her venture at a very early age of four, she has grown throughout the process. She has had second thoughts about continuing to drive her business forward. She said that it was challenging to interact with people at a young age. It was tough to multi-task between interviews and producing site traffic. But she never gave up. She believes that it takes a deep commitment and almost heroic efforts to achieve the unreachable. She said, 'If you hear a voice within you that says, "You cannot paint!", then paint by all means and that voice will be silenced.’

Lyna standing in an event

Her life as a newly minted teen offers many new opportunities. Lyla is interested in public speaking and engages in extracurricular activities at her school. Debate draws her attention.  She envisions a career in law or politics where she can apply her speaking skills. School and outside activities conflict with her business. It’s a balance. However, after an eight-year journey, she shoulders the weight with great skill.

Additional Information:
Instagram: @lylatovmonsters

Sheema Kazi is our creative content writer. She is pursuing her Bachelor's degree in B.E.(Information Science and Engineering) from K.L.E. Institute of Technology, Hubli, Karnataka.Yashika Khurana is our lead contributing writer. She is pursuing her BTech degree from Maharaja Agrasen Institute Of Technology, Delhi,India.

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