June 29, 2015
From Big Company Executive to Entrepreneur: Little Ms. Crate Founder Reid Craig Discusses Taking the Leap of Faith

Reid Craig has an impressive background that boasts years of experience in engineering, leadership, and executive roles at top technology companies. Most recently, he climbed the corporate ladder at Attivio, a Newton-based enterprise software company, from Senior Software Engineer to the Vice President of Attivio’s Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) division. 

In 2014 when Craig and his wife learned they were expecting their first child, he began to consider the effects his demanding career would have on his growing family. “For seven years, Attivio was my baby,” Craig said, “But I couldn’t imagine what life would be like having a newborn baby and having to hop on a plane on short notice.” 

Despite the appeal of his job stability, he recognized that it would interfere with the hands-on parent he wanted to be. "At first it seemed insane to consider leaving the lucrative, stable job now, with a baby on the way,” Craig explained, “But it was so obvious that the things I loved about that job were going to be at odds with how I wanted to parent. I could see the collision coming. Eventually it became clear that staying the course in the face of a certain collision was actually the insane choice."

Craig recognized this was the time in his career he would be able to do something for himself, and with a giant leap of faith, left his job at Attivio. 

At the same time, Craig had been thinking a lot about how to be the best parent he could be and how he could raise and empower his child, especially if it was a girl (which he was secretly hoping for). From his experience as a hiring manager in a software engineering role, Craig was aware of the gender gap in the ratio of men and women applying for engineering jobs. This was consistent with the lack of interest and representation of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine) careers. How could he stimulate interest in STEM careers for girls at a young age while empowering his own daughter? 

It was with this goal in mind that Craig conceived of Little Ms. Crate, a monthly subscription box loaded with props, stories, and games designed to expose young girls to STEM and leadership careers, and the real women role models in those fields. Craig pulled together a team of childhood development experts to shape the business plan, go-to market strategy, and ensure the contents of the boxes were appropriate. 

Each box will focus on a different career and will contain an information and activity booklet, bios of women in the profession, and custom-designed games and activities to provide a taste of a day in the life of that career,” Craig said. 

              Little Ms. Crate

He plans to design the props to look and feel as realistic as possible: for example, the Little Ms. CEO Crate will contain an org chart, an interview checklist to help girls interview their friends and build their management team, instructions how to run a board meeting, and a cell phone to take important calls. “I don't want to dumb it down. Kids are drawn to authenticity. It's why they'll crawl over all of their toys to get their hands on the TV remote control,” Craig explained. 

The idea is that having fun learning about and playing at these careers will foster familiarity and comfort with them at an early age, creating the sense that these are all valid options for these girls. 

Fast-forward a few months after his departure from Attivio and Craig and his wife welcomed their daughter, Areni, into the world. Now, Craig is focused on bringing Little Ms. Crate into the world. He plans to start a Kickstarter campaign to help propel the venture, which is slated to launch in August.

Craig plans for Little Ms. Crate to be fully up and running in time for the holiday season. To stay up-to-date with Little Ms. Crate and learn about the Kickstarter campaign, subscribe to their updates here

Sarah Urbonas is a Marketing Manager at Northeastern's IDEA. You can find this and related Blog posts on Northeastern IDEA's Blog here and follow IDEA on Twitter @IDEANEU.