With childhood obesity continuing to rise what could be more important than raising the profile of Kiddy Cook, a business that encourages young children to learn about "good food" and to explore new flavours in an educational and fun way.
The interest that has already been generated through twitter is just phenomenal. Thank you Theo for helping spread the Kiddy Cook word!
My name's Mandy Baylis and I'm wife to Steven and mum to two beautiful daughters Matilda and Sukie.
My background is in Human Resources and I've been working in this field for over 11 years so it came as quite a shock to my family and friends when I announced I was going to set up my own business running children's cookery classes!!
It was actually whilst on maternity leave with my youngest daughter that I knew I wanted to work with children but didn't know in what respect so I spent many a night researching various children's business opportunities. It was at this point I met a wonderful lady called Nikki Geddes who set up Kiddy Cook in 2005 and who decided to offer the business as a franchise opportunity. It had always been a regret of mine that I didn't attend catering college so teaching children to cook was the perfect business opportunity for me! It seriously was like a light bulb moment!
As a mum I knew only too well the challenges parents can face trying to get children to eat a variety of foods and that's why I love spending time with children, showing them how to make delicious recipes, teaching them where their food comes from, how different flavours can go together and encouraging them to try different foods. Kiddy Cook classes whether they be in schools, nurseries, pre-school or even parties are so much fun whilst still being educational and an essential part of their childhood.
I have been juggling my HR job, Kiddy Cook and my family for the past year and am now ready to take the brave step of leaving my long term job in order to develop my business. I can honestly say I'm petrified but so so excited and extremely passionate about what I do. I know in my heart that this is what I am meant to do.
Twelve months in and I have set up 6 pre-school classes 'CookieTots' (I know, very cute!), run monthly workshops for 4 – 11 year olds, run sessions for schools and nurseries, after school clubs and birthday parties. Our food in schools project is a hands on unit of study that uses the theme of healthy eating to enrich the curriculum and develop thinking in a range of subjects.
But running your own business? How do you do that then? The past twelve months have been a steep learning curve for me. There were times when I thought, I will never get the swing of this and I have made many mistakes along the way but I look back over this time and can already see how I have developed as a business woman and how my confidence has grown and now instead of thinking I can't do something, I know I can do it, it's just about spending time thinking about how you can do it and how you can overcome any potential obstacles.
I'm sure there will be ups and downs, twists and turns but I'm ready for it and I'm ready to make a difference to not only mine and my families lives but to so many other children and their families too.
Kiddy Cook is continuing to grow with 18 franchisees across the country. All run by hardworking mums and dads who are just as passionate about teaching children how to cook as myself. So if you have a child aged 2 – 11 years check to see if we are in your area!!
Treat people the way you expect to be treated
Respect decisions made by others, remembering that they too are working hard to make their business/organisation a success. As annoying as the outcome can sometimes be!
Get to grips with social media. It's a powerful tool and can make such a big difference to your business if used correctly.
Persevere Persevere Persevere! Something I've had to learn very quickly. The very well known saying 'If at first you don't succeed try and try again' Corny but so very true!
Don't be afraid of your competition. Just make sure you're the best!
I guess my number one tip given my background is if it's in your heart and it feels right, go for it! Feel the fear and make it happen. Life's too short!
When everything starts to get too much and the stress kicks in just remember the important things in life and why you are doing what you are doing. In my case my wonderful family.