Interview with Emma Morgan....
Where did you begin and what motivated you to start your own business?
I attended vocational ballet school from the age of 12 and trained as a professional Classical Ballet dancer. I am also an experienced primary school teacher. After working as a primary school teacher I was keen to develop a creative curriculum in which children could learn through movement, express themselves and develop their natural creativity. Ballet as an art form is traditionally seen as very disciplined. From my experience ballet is full of so many attributes that are beneficial to the development of the whole child. I wanted to bridge this gap and make ballet accessible to all children. When my son was only 5 months old he was communicating to me through movement and music before he could talk. I believe all babies are born to dance!
Whilst working full-time as a primary school teacher I started the first tiny toes ballet classes in 2011 with a handful of pupils in a hall in Swansea. Through mouth of word the demand for classes soon grew and within a year I was teaching over 100 pupils each week and had requests for classes as far as Carmarthen, Brecon and Cardiff. I never dreamt that the business would have grown so much or so quickly. It is because I am doing what I love and always striving to deliver the best possible service to our pupils that I have found myself in this position. I continue to teach classes once a week and I have a wonderful team of franchisee’s and tiny toes teachers. Every franchisee and tiny toes teacher must attend training with me and pass a rigorous assessment, they also have continual CPD and observations throughout the year. They are also all passionate about teaching and developing young children. We all follow the same belief which is our motto ‘learning through dance’. All children are born with innate creativity and an inquisitive passion to learn and develop their talents. We strive to give our pupils the opportunity to develop their natural abilities.
How many children do you have - tell us a bit about your family I have three sons. Osian aged eight, Elis aged six and Ioan aged one. They love to attend our tiny toes holiday workshops and experiment with all the class resources, instruments and tap shoes whenever they get the chance! I have been married to my husband Gareth for twelve years- he is my confident and unpaid business mentor, patiently listening and advising me on my endless ideas and plans for the business on a daily basis!
How do you juggle childcare?
Osian and Elis attend school full time and Ioan goes to a childminder two days a week so I have a couple of days to work and then I usually finish the rest of the work late into the night when the children are sleeping. I am very lucky to have a close and supportive family who also help with childcare when I am teaching classes or visiting.franchisee’s across the UK.
What do you do to relax?
I like to be outdoors walking or cycling. I have recently taken up running which I find very therapeutic and it’s nice to be able to exercise straight from my front door. If I had to drive to a class or the gym I’d never make it. I also like holidays when I leave the phone and laptop at home to completely relax and spend quality time with my family.
What's been your biggest challenge in business and how have you overcome it?
I studied History at university and then trained as a primary school teacher so I have no business experience. I would say the biggest challenge for has me has been learning about all aspects of running a business. I have had to reacting quickly and make important decisions to ensure the successful growth of the business. I have met some great individual business consultants who have helped and advised me. At some points it has seemed quite overwhelming but I have learnt to take one step at a time, to reflect and to ensure common sense prevails.
What's one piece of advice you would give to other mums wanting to start their own business?
Make sure you invest only what you are prepared to lose. I began with a passion, an idea and £1000. If you do something that you love your business will becomes a passion and a vocation rather than a job. I love running my own business and feel a great sense of achievement and satisfaction. Since the age of 8 I was determined to be a professional ballerina. Although I have taken a different path that determination and focus is still with me today and the same advice that I was given when training to be a classical ballerina remains “you must eat, sleep and breathe it!”