About Jana Hallam, CEO & Founder, WonderWell Toy Co.
Jana Hallam has spent the greater part of her career in media and marketing communications. Ever since she could remember she has had an entrepreneurial drive. It’s the feeling of being able to bring a vision to life and offer something that is valuable to others that drives her. She has dabbled in startups and ran a video production business for 10 years. Jana started WonderWell Toy Co. when her twins were 3 years old and WonderWell is a brand that couldn’t be more aligned with who she is, who she aspires to be, and the impact she would like to make.
What is WonderWell Toy Co.?
WonderWell Toy Co. offers tools for parents that will help them promote good values and support their child’s social & emotional well-being through playful adventures. Our first product - The Kindness Mouse™ is a playful adventure for kids focused on fun, empathy, and inspiring the good within.
How did WonderWell Toy Co. get started?
It wasn’t long after Jana’s twins were born that she was inspired to create a product that she longed for as a parent but couldn't find. Frustrated by a popular children’s Christmas tradition that didn’t align with her parenting values, she decided to create a new toy option — one that would inspire good values, mindfulness, and empathy in kids — all year long.
She wanted to design a play experience that would enable early childhood learning of vital core values such as kindness, gratitude, self-esteem, authenticity, and mindfulness. She also wanted that play experience to be fun, shareable, memorable, and lasting. A form of play that would spark meaningful conversations and foster loving connection.
It was from here that WonderWell and The Kindness Mouse™ were born.
And so we’re starting with kindness but we’re looking at additional tools for parents to support topics such as gratitude, self-esteem, mindfulness, and authenticity. It’s really about using play as a driver to strengthen mental and emotional wellness in early childhood.
What is the Kindness Mouse?
The Kindness Mouse™ is a purpose-driven play experience consisting of a storybook, plush mouse character, and activity cards, It inspires children and families to explore empathy and acts of kindness through a fun adventure.
How does the adventure work?
Families will introduce the adventure by reading the story “When a Mouse is at Your Door”
As part of the adventure, the mouse will travel around the home to be revealed in fun or hidden spots within the home
Each time the mouse travels, he will have an activity card in his backpack with a kindness prompt for the child as well as conversation prompts for the caregiver
Through this adventure, children are encouraged to learn empathy and practice their acts of kindness and pass it on.
This adventure comes with a series of activity cards, can be used at any time of the year, and has a flexible duration and pace.
We believe that through expressions of kindness, our children feel connected, happier, and have a greater sense of belonging. If there’s one thing that Covid taught us, it’s the overwhelming and timely need for more kindness in our world.
How has this region supported you as an entrepreneur?
This little startup has been supported in ways I couldn’t have imagined. There is a tremendous amount of support for entrepreneurs in our region, for me, it started with the EPICentre through the University of Windsor, Wen and her team are doing great work through important programming and it was through one of their programs that really gave me the skills and confidence to move forward with the startup, we have other organizations in the region such as WeTech Alliance and Yvonne PIlon and her team, who are also doing great work in supporting entrepreneurs in our region and have also supported us in a big way.
Most recently, WonderWell Toy Co. has been accepted into the second phase of the Accelerator Centre Studio program. This is a hybrid venture studio program out of Waterloo. This program has supported WonderWell for the last 8 months with incredible support, resources, a network of mentors, and partnerships. Through this, we were also fortunate to receive seed funding through the government from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.
We look forward to officially launching the product this summer!
Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Ever since I can remember I’ve had an entrepreneurial drive. I recall being 9 or 10 years old and creating a children’s newsletter, I remember the very first house I went to that gave me $1 in exchange for my newsletter. It was that feeling of being able to bring a vision to life and offer something that is valuable to others and this feeling stuck with me. I’ve dabbled in startups and I ran a video production business for almost 10 years. I have to say that WonderWell is a brand that couldn’t be more aligned with who I am, who I aspire to be, and the impact I would like to make. It just feels very timely and aligned with who I am.
Who else is involved in the company?
My twins are six now and I get them involved as much as they’d like to be, we’re always talking about the mouse whether it’s the design, the packaging, or kind activities, they’re excited to be involved, I’m always asking for their feedback and they’ve been my biggest inspiration and key play testers of the product.
Where can you find more information?
Visit wonderwell.ca where you can learn more and sign up for our email list to get launch updates along with our first giveaway coming up very soon. You can also check out our Instagram page @wonderwelltoyco to be part of the conversation.
See full resolutions images on Google Drive here:
May 2, 2023
September 27, 2022
The Accelerator Centre Announces the Top 50 Companies Moving into Next Phase of its Venture Studio Program
Accelerator Centre Announces 100 high-impact Canadian startups selected to participate in innovative new program, AC:Studio
WonderWell Toy Co. moves into Phase 2 of the AC’s innovative AC:Studio program, see the full release here.
WonderWell Toy Co. is accepted into the AC innovative AC:Studio program, see the full release here.