21st century parents are often confronted with aggressive and selfish behaviour in all aspects of society and increasingly in children’s media, such as television, video games, online and even in children’s storybooks. In 2012, renowned celebrity vocal coach and award winning songwriter Roxanne Kiely recognised the demand and need for an educational entertainment series for young children. She created Busy Izzy, which encourages friendliness, co-operation, compassion, generosity and a healthy lifestyle.
This “edutainment” series of books, songs, videos and app is endorsed by the World Literacy Foundation and has been praised by Bec Hewitt and her family. It focuses on a range of learning areas suitable for children of all ages, including childhood development, education, social interaction and musical development. Since the release of the first book Busy Izzy and Friends six months ago, over 5,000 copies have already been sold. The valuable ethics and use of playful rhythms and rhymes of the series have already proven to be a hit with children around Australia as the second book, Busy Izzy and Newly Truly – The Big Surprise! already has a pre-order of over 2,500 copies.
Roxanne has and continues to make a marked contribution to the music industry with accreditation from Music NSW and as co-director of well-established music school ‘ScoopFX Music’ with husband Stephen Kiely. She is also President of songwriting organisation, Songsalive! Australia and singing teacher to a number of well-known stars, such as Delta Goodrem, Hayley Warner and Marlisa Punzalan (Winner of X Factor 2014), just to name a few. With the release of the Busy Izzy series, she is now changing the world of learning for children too.
“Throughout my life, I’ve written songs about everything – from heartache to happiness and have found songwriting to be a great outlet,” says Roxanne. “At seven years of age, I started writing songs, stories and poems. I was raised on a farm and enjoyed the organic way of life which inspired the healthy recipes and songs in the Busy Izzy series. Being a songwriter and co-director of ScoopFX Music has built the foundation for me to create the Busy Izzy brand. From very early in my career as a vocal coach, I noticed that to help each student achieve their musical goals involved understanding their reasons for singing. It is through songwriting and music that our students can write and share their experiences.”
“Fear of public speaking, singing and performing are the most common phobias our students face. Stephen and I have taught and still teach many students who have anxiety and ADHD, among other conditions. Subconsciously I may have drawn from our students’ variety of conditions and circumstances when creating the Busy Izzy characters, who also experience ADHD, bullying, gender politics and even the fear of odd numbers, which are addressed in a positive and supportive manner in the series. It is also through our careers at ScoopFX Music that Stephen and I have been able to co-write and produce all the songs for the series. We’ve found that music, particularly playful rhythms and rhymes, helps children develop their reading and learning skills,” says Roxanne.
Roxanne’s top five tips on how to successfully build a new brand:
- The Networking – don’t underestimate the people within your immediate circle and who they might know. If you have a project that people can relate to, that energy can be quite infectious and exciting to interact with.
- The Passion – ensure you surround yourself with like-minded, passionate people who share your vision.
- The Why – understand ‘why’ your customers will be interested in your product or service, and more importantly ‘why’ you’re doing it.
- The Big Picture – analyse all the attributes you and your team have to offer when it comes to ideas, skills and attributes, as individuals, and as a group.
- The Reach-Out – as the old saying goes “you can’t sell a secret”. Consider grass-roots style marketing by reaching out into the community and gauging feedback. You’ll be surprised by what you will hear and learn.
“By understanding the ‘why’ behind Busy Izzy’s existence, I’m able to focus my energy on what the brand stands for and our path to make a difference in children’s lives, with positive reinforcement and friendship, creating engaging songs and music, promoting healthy eating and growing organic food. It is also through ‘networking’ and ‘reaching out’ within the wider community that we were introduced to Andrew Kay, the Founder and CEO of World Literacy Foundation. This enabled us to get Busy Izzy out to thousands of disadvantaged children and hear first-hand how they feel and relate to the characters we have created,” says Roxanne.