Wynne Tyree and Radames Rodriguez co-created Smarty Pants in 2005. She was a seasoned market researcher and former ad agency brand planner; he managed a qualitative research facility.

The two identified an industry opportunity to provide high quality research and insights to marketers targeting kids and families. They ideated, consulted with dozens of professionals, and ultimately took a leap of faith to quit their jobs and launch Smarty Pants – with a mission to become the go-to resource for youth and family intelligence.

After months of cold calls and emails (on dial-up internet that screeched when it connected!), they landed their first project. By year’s end, they had assembled a diverse team of freelancers to support growing demand. Now-EVP Stephanie Retblatt jumped in to moderate focus groups, lead ethnographies and write reports. Head of Qual Barbara Zamolsky came on board as the “Playground Coordinator” to help recruit participants and handle fieldwork logistics.

Fueled by creativity, passion, and entrepreneurial adrenaline, an impressive first year included seminal work for Microsoft, Girl Scouts of the USA, Hooked on Phonics, Cadbury Schweppes, Cadbury Adams, Hershey, VIZ Media, Procter & Gamble, and Clorox. (Not bad out of the gate!) It was exciting but terrifying. But we couldn’t have been happier to chase a dream as renegade researchers and budding industry leaders.