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Oh Snap!

Local Mompreneur Makes Learning Fun at Snapology

Liberty Township mompreneur and engineer Nikki Norton knows the power of science for the kids in our community. She’s on a mission to make sure families have the opportunity to discover it as well, through her new endeavor as co-owner of Snapology’s West Chester location. Offering year-round science, technology, engineering, art and math programs in schools, community facilities and homes, Snapology is a creative programming center, teaching children through fun. 

You can find Nikki and her team of Snaplologists leading children through lessons like “Create a New Superhero,” pushing their imaginations to their limits as they work with their hands at COVID-friendly, independent workstations and through virtual endeavors. While it may seem like kids are just building LEGO® structures, they are learning lessons far beyond that, including public speaking, creativity, problem solving and more. One lesson, a superhero project, prompts kids to choose specific powers, the hero’s colors and allows their imaginations to run wild. 

“We often get super creative builds and amazing stories behind them from the kids,” Nikki says.

Nikki has a successful career in engineering, and works in operations management as her day job. Opening this franchise was a labor of love, not only for her 2-year-old daughter, but for all of the kids in the community looking to expand the constraints of their minds in a creative way. 

“I love the hands-on application of science and math and teaching these subjects to others, particularly children,” she says.

She recalls her own graduating class at Notre Dame being around 50% smaller than the number of enrolled students who started the program.

“An industry problem is there aren’t enough students in careers in STEM to fill the jobs in the industry,” she explains.

Part of choosing where to focus her talents as she pursued a mompreneur side hustle was considering what would also benefit her daughter, who would undoubtedly tag along to whatever new business she built. 

“Now, having a young daughter, a franchise where we are able to supplement our income and ultimately look to transition out of the 9-5 aligned with providing something that she will benefit from as early as now,” she says. 

While some may think 2-years-old is too young for a structured STEAM program, Nikki proves differently every day. 

“We not only form the educational component, but also the social component of meeting other kids,” she says.

Nikki was attracted to this franchise because of its educational philosophy—learning through fun. This is proven true, she says, when parents may have doubted how she’d be able to hold their kids’ attention for a whole hour through a virtual program, such as a birthday party, during the pandemic lockdown. 

“The kids are truly learning and they become more creative and confident as a result of our programs. I have 4-year-olds doing robotics,” she says.

The most rewarding aspect for Nikki is seeing how positively the kids respond to the learning and how much fun they are having. 

“I’m getting feedback from parents about how much their children enjoy the programs and they refer others to us. The biggest feedback is the creativity and confidence that the kids develop. We encourage that no design is better than anyone else’s. There’s no sense of ‘this is what it’s supposed to look like,’” she says. 

For her, enjoying science and learning is about getting just enough guidance without having creativity stifled. Nikki and her teachers find this balance through their personal interactions with the students.

“My first all-nighter was on a two-page paper because I didn’t know what to write on. We have those kids like me who need some more structure,” she says.

Nikki has some advice for those who are looking to start their own businesses.

“You have to pick something you are passionate about and something that is beneficial to your own children. It makes it easier. You have an instant reward, particularly if things aren’t going as well as you’d hope,” she says. “You have more purpose, not just doing a business to do a business.” 

She also warns other moms that it’s hard work, and takes time and patience to flourish and succeed. 

“Set boundaries and limits...you always feel you can be doing more, and it’s hard if your mind doesn’t sleep and is always going,” she explains. 

Nikki recommends the franchise option for other mompreneurs looking for a bit more structure and guidance, as well as a ready-made community of other business owner peers to help you along the way. She is excited to see Snapology continue to grow and flourish as she sees the summer camp schedule already booking up.

For more information on Snapology, visit Snapology.com/location/westchestertwp.

  • Nikki Norton