Lab Tots – A Business that Inspires the Next Generation of Scientists

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
My name is Sophia Mitchell, I had my son Edward in July 2014

What’s your business called?
Lab Tots
I also have Lab Kidz as a place holder for older children

Can you describe it in one sentence?
Lab Tots preschool science brings a world of scientific adventure to you in a fun, enjoyable, entertaining and safe environment.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?
After a number of life changing events (becoming a new mum, being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, becoming an insulin pump user, being made redundant – all whilst on maternity leave) I took a long hard look at what I wanted out of life. Edward was my inspiration. I wanted to do something that would make me a better mum, allow me to spend time with him and to engage with him in a fun, interactive and educational way – and Lab Tots was born!

How did you fund your start up?
All of Lab Tots is self funded and this is ongoing.

How do you manage working around your children?
Edward is in nursery 2 days a week and its during those 2 days (and nap times!) that I work on Lab Tots.

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
I try to balance my days between financial planning, marketing & social media, course content development, sourcing session supplies, making session supplies, testing experiments – basically everything!
I manage my time well – always carrying my note book & to do list with me. I prioritise important items 1st and mix bigger tasks in with ‘quick wins’ so my to do list doesn’t just keep growing!

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
All the usual obstacles you face as a self employed person – funding, sales, marketing, developing your product and brand. I try to keep things realistic, with short term, medium term & long term goals. I am financially savvy so don’t spend what I don’t have. Friends have helped out greatly with creating some of the physical material (as most things cant be brought anyway!) as well as the website. I wouldn’t say i’ve ‘overcome’ these obstacles as they are still ongoing, but I am making progress and 100% repeat business cant be bad!

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?
Being in control of my own destiny, developing things the way I want to and being able to feel proud of what i’ve achieved and developed from a blank canvass.

What are your plans for the future?
My long term plans for the future are to grow Lab Tots into a nationwide brand, whether that’s via a franchise model or keeping it family run with teams operating nationally. I would also like to develop a touring / mobile Lab Tots experience.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Its hard work and you’re unlikely (in my case) to be earning on the same salary scale as you were previously – at least to begin with. So if you can plan financially for this prior to start up, it will take some of the pressure off. The rest is to stay positive & self motivated. Have a plan, (or several!) but keep it / them flexible so you keep yourself open to opportunities as they arise – you never really know what’s round the corner and who you may come into contact with.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
Our mission at Lab Tots is to ignite a lifelong love of Science, getting children really interested in STEM subjects from a young age. So they are not just learning about the world around them, but they are practically experimenting, discovering and exploring scientific principles and concepts as well as their own ideas in an incredibly fun, interactive and engaging way.
Lab Tots bring a world of scientific adventure to you in a fun, enjoyable, entertaining and safe environment. Leave the mess with us and take the fun home with you!
At Lab Tots every session is different, comprising amazing jaw dropping demos like our rainbow geysers and rocket launches, hands on activities like our dino dig and space walk, physical representations like our path of least resistance obstacle course, polymer conga and good vibrations right through to creative, sensory play like rainbow rain, bubble mania and popping sherbet!
We believe that science should not be stuffy, boring or reserved for the class room. Science is everywhere and should be for everyone to explore and have fun whether you are 3 or 103!
So, why should your child become a Lab Tot? Do you want to develop their curiosity in the world around them, nurture their understanding, introduce them to scientific concepts and principles from day 1? Do you want to improve their dexterity, reasoning, team work, communication, creative & imaginative problem solving, do you want them to become truly well rounded individuals – if the answer to any of these questions is YES, then Lab Tots is definitely for you!
twitter – Sophia mitchell@labtots