With miles of coastline, marine education is a hot topic for many Los Angeles residents, including children. L.A. based entertainment company Friends With Fins Entertainment is not only dedicated to educating and informing people about the ocean and its resources, it also makes learning fun for all. Founder Jaclyn Friedlander is a former actor and producer, and she uses these skills to make educational tools that are accessible and relatable. Friends with Fins does everything from a web series to a book series, getting kids involved in conservation.
Passion through volunteering
The spark of a small business venture can happen at any time. For Friedlander, the idea came through a volunteering opportunity. "I was volunteering at an aquarium, and I saw a need for educational content that spoke to families on a relatable level. Friends with Fins started as a short film and has grown organically into children's picture books and weekly YouTube videos. I'm in the process of transitioning Friends with Fins from a short form internet show to a weekly television show." When she got the idea for Friends With Fins, Friedlander was working as an actor and a producer. "I've worked in the entertainment industry as an actor and producer for the past ten years, and I have been passionate about the ocean conservation and fish since I was six years old. I figured, what better way to have a meaningful, fulfilling life than combining the two things I love the most."
Branding from the beginning
Friends with Fins works with schools and other organizations, but Friedlander had to start from the ground up to spread the word. She states, "I have always found the best way to build brand awareness is to get out there. I do school author visits, marine science presentations and aquarium lectures all over the country. I recently visited schools in Sylvester, Georgia, and went diving in a tank at the Flint RiverQuarium in Albany, giving a 45 minute family-friendly presentation at their Water, Wings and Wildlife event. I, of course, use social media as well. I use twitter and Friends with Fins has a Facebook business page. LinkedIn has been a great resource for connecting with potential collaborators and customers."
By turning a passion into a business, Friedlander has been able to spread the word about ocean conservation and help spark a whole generation of activists. She has parlayed her experience in the entertainment industry to an educational opportunity that allows kids to have fun with conservation.
This article was written by Alaina Brandenburger of Examiner.com for CBS Small Business Pulse.
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