Dandy Development was created and developed by mum-of-two Nikki Sayers. Dandy Development baby and toddler development classes combine baby sign, music and sensory experiences with lots of fun. The classes are unique as they also teach the parents speech techniques that they can use at home to support communication development. Here she answers a few questions all about her rapid business growth, recent award nomination and plans for the future.
I became inspired to create a new type of classes when our son had delayed speech and I couldn’t find anyone or any class that would help. The health visitors, doctors and speech therapists said that he would catch up but I didn’t want him to ‘catch up’ I wanted him to thrive. I pushed and pushed until eventually I was granted a place on a parent based therapy course. I learnt a great deal about communication development and some fantastic techniques to boost my son’s development. I was amazed that this information wasn’t readily available for every parent and every child and that’s when I came up with the idea of Dandy Development.
You’ve been nominated for a ‘Whats On 4 Little Ones’ Award. Can you tell us a little about it?
Dandy has only been up and running since September 2011 so I am thrilled to have been nominated in the ‘Best Local Activity for the Under 5’s’ in the prestigious ‘What’s On 4 Little Ones’ awards. I had heard of the awards as it is the one that all the national franchises print across their literature and website. Such winners can then use the phrase ‘award winning classes’ and I longed for Dandy Development to compete on a similar level. So, I posted the link to the website when nominations opened in January 2012 on my Dandy Facebook page just to get it out there! Amazingly I received the five nominations needed to go through to the voting the same day! The support from parents who come to my classes was wonderful and made me begin to believe that I could be shortlisted to win. However, the competition is huge with three other nominees from my county alone!
Wow! Just 6 months. How did that happen?
Dandy Development is expanding quickly. In the first term I taught five classes and I expanded to eight in the spring term. The summer term classes are already filling up and two of the classes were full ten weeks before the start of the term. Many parents are now bringing their little ones along for a third consecutive term which is a huge compliment. I can see that very soon I will need to employ someone to run more classes for me so that I can expand to surrounding areas. Further ahead, there is always the opportunity to begin franchising Dandy Development out.
Finally, what would you say to other work at home mums?
I had no business background at all and dealing with the accounts still scares me. I developed the concept and logo, wrote the plans, the advertising literature, the website, bought the resources and even wrote unique songs and had them recorded myself. The business fits around my family perfectly: I can take the children to pre-school and school and pick them up which is really important to me. The one piece of advice I would give to other mums thinking of starting a business that they feel passionate about, don’t let hypothetical excuses get in your way: just get out there and do it!
Such an inspiration. Well done! thankyou for taking the time to answer these questions. Good luck with the competition.
Dandy Development – Talk, Share and Play: We’ll Grow in Every Way!
You can vote for Dandy Development in the ‘Best Local Activity for the Under 5’s’ at http://www.whatson4littleones.co.uk/awards.asp
Written by Nikki Sayers