Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
My name is Katie and I’m married with two children – Daisy (6) and Indie (3).
What’s your business called?
Can you describe it in one sentence?
Sensory & Messy Play, Craft Activities and Soft Play for children’s parties, social occasions, events and private bookings.
When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?
I started Sensory Sensations in 2015 and I was inspired by my eldest daughter. When she was 4 months old I started making her treasure baskets, which led to themed sensory bins when she got bit older. I loved how much she benefited from sensory play and for her 2nd birthday party I offered different sensory and messy play stations for her and her little friends and I enjoyed it so much I decided to start doing weekly classes and parties for other little ones and then it’s followed on from there!
How did you fund your start up?
I funded it all myself. When I started I was still teaching so had a regular income to be able to buy materials and equipment (and luckily a very supportive husband!) For the first year everything I made from classes and parties went back into the business and then eventually when I had all the equipment etc I needed I started to make a profit and was able to take a wage from it.
How do you manage working around your children?
At the moment Daisy is at school and Indie is at nursery full time so I get three days a week to focus on Sensory Sensations (I teach part time for the other 2 days) so I try to get as much as I can done on those days. I try to keep weekends free and if I need more time I’ll work into the evening. It was harder when they were little and at home. I would work around naps and when they went to bed or I’d get them involved if I was making play dough or moonsand (for example). Again, my husband is fantastic and will take them to the park if I need to do some prep or admin, he’s self employed too so he understands how precious time is! The most important thing is to try and be ‘present’ when I’m with my girls – not answering enquiries or updating Facebook, staying in the moment and giving them my attention.
Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
A typical day would see me taking the girls to school and nursery, coming home, washing up, doing some laundry, prepping for a party (this could mean cleaning equipment, ordering items from Amazon, making resources – coloured spaghetti, rice, play dough etc, packing the van) then lunch, then the next few hours is spent answering messages, sending emails, tweaking website, sending invoices etc Then I will pick up the girls and either take them swimming or do Daisy’s homework, dinner, bath, then if I need to finish off prep or admin I’ll do it until 8:30-9ish and then my husband and I will watch some TV then bed! Phew! I like to make sure I’m doing bit of everything during the day, the bigger things in the morning then things that can be done sat down with a cup of tea in the afternoon!
What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
The biggest challenge has been moving my business to a new location. I started my business in Ashford, Kent and spent three years building it up there and it got to the point where I didn’t really need to work ‘on’ the business. Parties were coming in thick and fast and my classes were doing well.. then in June last year we relocated to Oakham, Rutland where I had to start all over again. It was difficult but it’s made me more determined to make Sensory Sensations as successful as it was in Kent and grow it even more!
What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?
I think my job is the best in the world – creating experiences and memories for children is something I absolutely love, so being able to do it on MY terms and being my own boss is wonderful. I enjoy supporting other mumpreneurs and small businesses and there’s a wonderful community out there which makes you feel like you’re not alone 🙂
What are your plans for the future?
I’d love to continue offering parties, but also I’d like to branch out into schools, offering resource making and sensory workshops. Working with charities and collaborating with more local businesses. My ultimate goal at the moment is to be able to franchise Sensory Sensations so it’s offered in different counties.
What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Just keep going! It really is a rollercoaster and I’m learning all the time. Make sure what you’re offering is the best it can be, take time to figure out your target audience and try different ways of advertising. If you get a setback, don’t give up, learn from it and move on. Offer discounts when you first start out and ask for testimonials. Get involved in the local community and see where your products or services can be used. Find out who your competition is and see how you’re different from them, think of why customers will come to you and not them? And above all enjoy yourself!