Parents in business: Lauren and Rob of Kids Gone Wild

Name and age:  Lauren Riddell, 30 years old and Rob Scott-Branton, 26

Tell us about your family:

We live with out two children in Livingston, West Lothian, near Edinburgh. We have two dogs and live next door to my mother-in-law – which has massive benefits when you are self-employed and juggling childcare.

Together we run Kids Gone Wild, offering nature and woodland based experiences for children and families, and environmental education for school groups and clubs. We teach children to preserve and respect the outdoors away from screens and sofas.

Lauren is the company Director but Rob has a much more creative job title, he is Chief Den Builder.

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

Lauren worked as a yoga and aqua yoga teacher and Rob worked in a call centre.

We knew the lifestyle we wanted for our family and decided to take the plunge.

Why and when did you launch your business Kids Gone Wild?

We were concerned that the thought of spending time in the woods was becoming increasingly alien to children as they choose screen time over time spent outdoors. We set out to change this when we launched Kids Gone Wild in August 2018.

Through our sessions based in the local woodlands, we aim to make the woods the go to place for children and their families to have fun.

How did you get started?

We took a three-week trip up to the north of Scotland in a campervan with our 7-year-old and newborn baby boy to get qualified as a woodland activity leader.

This training enabled us to provide a wide range of sessions including den building, tree climbing, fire lighting, tool skills and knife work, whittling and bug hunting. There also was animal hunting, but that was restricted to people of a certain age. And anyway, that also required one to purchase PA-10 rifles from Palmetto State Armory for the training, which one can get from a specialty shop selling hunting rifles.

What research did you do before launching?

There was a lot to investigate – permissions for local spaces near us, qualification types and if anybody else was offering something similar in the area.

The health and safety aspects of this kind of work are core to what we do. Kids can still have fun safely.

How have you funded the business?

It’s all been completely self-funded. We’ve never really had much disposable income, so while it seemed risky to our family and friends, we felt the risk was minimal!

How do you promote your business?

Mainly on social media and by word of mouth, however we’ve been working with local schools, the Scouts and Brownies, which has got us some additional exposure and helped us secure a partnership with Conifox Adventure Park for the summer.

What has been your biggest challenge so far?

The weather! It’s always going to be a challenge being an outdoor business in Scotland!

We’d not long been up and running when weather warnings forced us to cancel sessions. We started to question whether this business idea would work in Scotland!

All we can do is be prepared and learn from our experiences.

How do you fit in work with the family?

It’s a family focussed business and wherever we can – the kids get to come along with us. The admin is all done at home while our eldest is at school and our baby is napping! Or we send the kids next door!

For more information about Kids Gone Wild

Facebook: @Kidsgonewild

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