Headteacher swaps classroom for carpentry to make outdoor play equipment
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Tamara Hazlehurst swapped the classroom for carpentry to develop products including agility walls, magnetic boards and a customisable mud kitchen – all made using sustainably-sourced timber and sold to nurseries and parents on her website: www.mooangel.co.uk
Having started the business from home in Worksop, she plans to move into premises to fulfil growing orders from across the UK.
She said: “I’ve spent most of my career working in the education sector and it’s always fascinated me just how much young children learn through play.
“I was keen to explore ways of developing play equipment which could stimulate and encourage children to interact with the outdoors. I knew the sector I was planning to enter was an incredibly competitive one, so I began scouring the internet to try and find ways of accessing local business support.”
Tamara accessed one-to-one support from the Sheffield City Region Launchpad programme and took part workshops on innovation and problem solving, as well as harnessing social media.
Fiona Humpage, Launchpad business adviser, said: “Tamara was acutely aware that her business was about to enter a very competitive sector and keen to explore ways of building a customer base for her unique designs.
“The Launchpad programme was developed to help new entrepreneurs develop key business skills, as well as offering support and guidance during the all-important first three years of trading. Since joining the Launchpad programme, she has successfully managed to develop a national client base, as well as setting her sights on future growth, including securing new premises to grow her business further.”
Launchpad is the Sheffield City Region’s key business support programme for new business. Financially supported by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by local authorities within the Sheffield City Region and the Prince’s Trust, its services are free. Since it launched in April 2016 it has helped more than 5,400 people take the first steps towards self-employment and delivered more than 48,000 hours of support.