Mumpreneur Profile: Melanie of Sizzling Science

Name of Business: Sizzling Science, winner of the Mumsclub Mumpreneur of the Year Competition

What You Do: Sizzling Science provides fun and interactive science workshops for children. Our workshops are suitable for schools, out of school care, community groups, corporate fun days and even birthday parties!

Tell us about your family:

I live in the Highlands of Scotland, with my husband Stuart and our two daughters, Freya (7) and Erynn (6).

What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?

I previously worked as a scientist in the biomedical industry for a large corporate organisation. After the birth of my second child, I was keen to spend more time at home and work more flexibly. My husband and I bought a guesthouse; this allowed me the breathing space to formulate my science entertainment idea, without losing the security of an income.

How did you get started? When did you launch?

I enjoyed playing “Labcoats” with my pre-school children. After successfully trialling my ideas in their nursery schools, Sizzling Science was launched in June 2006.

What research did you do before launching?

I researched the formats of other types of children’s entertainment (such as music, yoga and drama) based businesses to see how they operated. I found researching and devising the experiments fairly straightforward. Researching insurance, supplies, potential customers, market size, pricing structure and profit margins was much more challenging and very time consuming.

How have you funded the business?

I started on a very small manageable scale and bought supplies and equipment as I went along. I re-invested all the profits and this along with winning a local business competition helped me grow the business.

How do you promote your business? What has worked best?

Currently, I don’t do any advertising and all my workshops are either repeat bookings or word of mouth. As I move into online trading, I aim to advertise on parenting, childminding, homeschooling and work at home forums. I’ll also need to look into specialist magazine advertising and learn more about search engine optimisation.

What has worked well about your business?

Sizzling Science will soon launch an online store to complement the workshop service. The store will sell science toys, children’s laboratory clothing and downloadable science experiment packs. This expansion has come about from direct feedback from customer requirements.

What has been your biggest challenge so far? How have you dealt with it?

Lack of time has been my greatest challenge. In the early days I was often researching the Internet until the middle of the night. Things are easier now my girls are in school. I’ve also been too eager to say, “Yes” to every request, often for very little return. I’ve learnt to become more selective and focussed on what we can offer.

How do you fit in work with the family?

I do a lot of my preparation and admin at night, once the girls are in bed. This works well for me as it means I have the flexibility to be around and generally be much more hands-on than when I worked in industry.

What advice would you give to someone else wanting to work in this area?

Learn to switch off to noise! Seven year old boys can become VERY excited learning how to mix a batch of slime!

If you have a flexible working business opportunity, please explain briefly what you offer and how people find out more.

Sizzling Science is currently looking at expanding and will possibly have flexible working opportunities.

Your website link: www.sizzlingscience.co.uk

 

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