I started a business with kids: Louise Villis of KidsDoTravel.co.uk

  • Tell us a little about your business

We offer a complete solution to travelling with children offering everything from practical advice to some very innovative ideas such as the inflatable BubbleBum car booster (the booster seat in a bag), not forgetting the all important fun games to entertain young (and old!) minds during the journey or in the restaurant.  Other travelling essentials included in our product range are children’s suitcases, travel games, towels and towelling robes, car organisers, lunch boxes and child safety ID bracelets.  In the spirit of mum friendliness we have also included a section headed treats for mums. 

  • What was your job before starting your business?

I worked full time in Sales and Marketing for a fibre optics company.

  • How did you go from your old career to your new business?

I took some time off when my children were very young, so I didn’t go straight from one career to another.  I think this probably helped with the transition which I found relatively easy to make.  My previous sales and marketing experience has definitely helped I have just had to adapt it.

  • What were your reasons for starting a business?

I was under no illusion about how hard it would be to re enter such a fast moving industry like fibre optics. When I worked for this company, I was very privileged, back then, to have a mobile phone, it was the size of a brick, but at the time, it was the latest technology. With this thought and the fact that a full time 9-5 job would not really suit our family life, I decided to look for ideas that I could fit in around the children and their many endless sporting activities and my general taxi service duties.

  • Did you use any childcare?

My children are now both at school, but when I needed childcare my in-laws were very amenable.  If I needed more time I would also work in the evenings when the children were in bed.

  • How did you get your business idea?

When my youngest daughter Becca was going on a school trip, we were missing one vital component, a suitcase to put everything in, we had large bulky suitcases in fairly boring colours but not something unique, different and manageable. Having seen what was available online and on the High Street in my search, I realised I had found the perfect idea – a one stop shop for children’s travel products.

As a mother of two children and a husband who in their early years spent long periods of time abroad, I would often take the girls on my own to see him.  As a parent, taking a two year old and four year old on a plane on your own, can be a very daunting experience, I think the key is organisation, and I did manage to get it down to a fine art.

I also felt that one of the hardest times to entertain your children is when you go to a restaurant, this is a pleasurable family event, but can end up with both parents very stressed, so within our website we have tried to cater for this too with our travel games and restaurant fun.

  • What were your challenges and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge has definitely been producing the website, this was my main concern because my computer knowledge definitely didn’t extend that far and through perseverance my knowledge now is infinitely wider.

  • What training, information or advice did you need to get started?

I have been fortunate to have a couple of computer boffs as friends, and their advice has been invaluable.

  • If you could give one piece of advice to a mum of a baby or toddler starting a business, what would it be?

Life is very busy, manic at times but to any mother with similar aspirations, the effort is definitely worth it. There are also very supportive mumpreneur sites whose resources have been invaluable. To achieve a balance between work and home life from a mother’s perspective is the ‘ideal’ and possible.

For more, see www.kidsdotravel.co.uk

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