Hello and welcome back to another week of Mama You Can, a series started to started to share inspirational stories of Mama’s who have changed career direction, started their own business or negotiated a more flexible role to fit in with family life.
This week we have Lisa from What2buy4kids a fantastic online toyshop. I’ll hand over to Lisa to tell her story…
Mama You Can: Lisa from What2buy4kids
Hi – I’m Lisa, a full- time working mum. I’m married to Jeremy and I have 3 wonderful children, Chris, Emma and Katie. I live in Appleton, a small village in Cheshire. I now run my own business, what2buy4kids, an online toyshop selling good quality toys and gifts for children up to 12 years of age.
Before I had my own children, I was a primary school and early years teacher. I really enjoyed teaching, and truly believed that I would continue with a teaching career until I retired!
So why did I decide to change direction in my work life?
The main reason for the change came about, because I was becoming so frustrated at the amount of paperwork that teachers in general had to do. I was spending less and less time in the classroom and felt that the increase in admin duties was taking away the enjoyment of teaching. It wasn’t an easy decision, but once my kids started school, I put on my thinking cap, wondering what I could do as an alternative to teaching. The most important factor to me, was to find something to do that I felt passionate about and I also wanted to use my knowledge and expertise as a teacher (as well as a mum),
So, having mulled lots of different ideas around in my head, I came up with setting up a website selling fun and educational toys and gifts for kids, where I’d be able to help customers find just the right presents for the right age of the child they were buying it for. So,7 years ago, what2buy4kids, was created.
To begin with it was all a little scary to be honest. Even though I was confident that I would be able to find great gifts for kids, the biggest challenge for me was actually setting up a website and learning all about how computers and how the internet world worked., From the outset, I was having fun but I even surprised myself on how keen and excited I was to take on new challenges each day. At the start, there was just me, working from home. I did just about everything, from buying stock and fulfilling the orders to designing and developing my website.
Last year, my business had grown so big, that at home we were bulging at the seams. I had no alternative but to move to bigger premises and to find a warehouse with some office space. This was a challenge in itself, as I decided to take on an almost derelict warehouse, and to build offices within it. By doing this though, I could design my new office space and warehouse, just as I wanted to. The 4 month building programme began and after many long days, weekends and evenings, we were ready to move in.
My top tips for working mums are to do something you enjoy and are passionate about – then it really won’t ever seem like you are actually working!!!. Also, keep persevering even when the going gets tough. Have confidence in yourself and convince yourself that you will succeed. Finally try to challenge yourself each day by taking on something new and exciting.
Thanks so much to Lisa for sharing her story.