Jackie Novels, 37, has been running baby food cookery school Meals for Squeals in Bristol since 2013. She juggles life as a mumpreneur with bringing up one-year-old twins Alex and Sam with her husband, Lee.
How did you get started?
I’d always dreamed of running a cookery school. I used to work at Good Housekeeping magazine, which started my passion for cooking, and spent my annual leave going on cookery courses. After weaning my own twins, and making baby food for friends, I decided to take the plunge and set up my own cookery school teaching parents to make healthy, tasty food for babies and toddlers.
What’s your favourite thing about running your own business?
I like the fact that if I work hard, I’m the one who reaps the benefits, not managers or shareholders. It’s also great to not have to get sign off before I can do things – if I want to post a new recipe on our webpage, I can do it immediately.
What’s the thing you least enjoy about running your own business?
There’s no certainty of a salary at the end of the month, unlike working for someone else. It’s also tempting to focus on the bits you enjoy most (developing new recipes) and not on the bits you like least (accounts).
What has worked well about your business?
There’s very little competition. Lots of parents want to make home-made food for their babies or toddlers, but very few cookery schools cater for that age group. I’ve had parents come from as far afield as Newcastle, Coventry, London and Wales because there’s nothing near them. In the future I’m planning to open more Meals for Squeals cookery schools in other parts of the country, so people don’t have to travel to come on a course.
What was your ‘I’ve made it’ moment?
I was named Business Mother of the Year at the Natwest Venus Awards for women in business at an awards ceremony in March 2014. I was elated to win, it made me feel like all the hours I’m putting in are finally paying off.