Discover how Nicki Smith achieved the family focus she wanted by swapping pints for paints.
When our first daughter was born, my husband and I had been managing a pub in Bath for many years. We thought that we were blessed that we could arrange our working hours so that we could look after Aimee between us.
We would meet at the pub and swap over the childcare and pub management details: ’We’ve run out of cod, area manager’s on the warpath, Aimee’s slept for 1 hour and she had fish pie for lunch!’
Nicki Smith is inspiring imaginations in Bath, Radstock, Midsomer Norton and Peasedown St John.
It all worked out okay when things went to plan, but as new parents, what we didn’t appreciate was how infrequently that happens! It became common that one of us would be arriving home in the early hours of the morning, getting a few hours’ sleep and then having to do a 10-hour childcare shift before a 13-hour pub shift. Poor Aimee was stuck with tired parents who had no energy to play and a mummy and daddy who had no quality time together.
Something had to change!
"I went to ‘Discovery Morning’, had a real eureka moment, and I knew it would give me a lot more flexibility and time with my daughter."
I came across the details for The Creation Station, an arts and crafts franchise I enjoy playing around with arts and crafts and love doing a few things with Aimee. So I went to ‘Discovery Morning’, had a real eureka moment, and I knew it would give me a lot more flexibility and time with my daughter. I took Aimee with me which gave me the opportunity to experience the taster class as a parent does. Aimee was only 20 months old, but she loved it and this really sold the franchise to me. It also gave me the confidence that it was something I could combine with being a Mum, as Aimee could join me in class. Within 4 weeks I was completing my Creation Station franchise training and working my notice at the pub.
2 years on and Aimee is now a big sister and will be heading to school in September! Cerys was born last May and whilst I took a term off from running classes to concentrate on welcoming Baby Girl #2 to the world, The Creation Station Bath has continued to grow!
I chose to run a Creation Station franchise because after running the pub for 11 years, I still wanted to have the independence of having my own business. I also needed to have the flexibility to work around my family, whilst they are at the preschool stage but also when they are at school.
"I’m just doing what we women are best at doing – multi-tasking!"
I was so nervous when I first started running classes and hosting parties but I soon got great feedback from children and parents . In addition I have seen firsthand the benefits of the programme with my own daughter, who has grown into a confident, imaginative and sociable little girl. It’s also an amazing feeling to be helping other parents to be creative and have fun with their little ones.
I know running a business is hard work, even more so with a baby and a toddler! But I never lose sight of the fact that I am very lucky to be able to choose my own working hours. I decide when to run my classes, when to take my holidays and on which weekends to avoid scheduling parties or events.
I’ve learnt to be more creative with my time and resources and I am sure that this will prove beneficial in the long run! If you’re prepared to fit in work when your family life allows, even if that means evenings and weekends, the whole family can benefit. I have big plans for my business, but being mum to my amazing girls and a friend and wife to my husband is my current priority.
In the meantime, no one needs to know how many texts are sent from the bathroom, emails sent during The Voice or lesson plans finalised whilst my baby naps! After all, I’m just doing what we women are best at doing – multi-tasking!
You can find out more about my art and crafts fun classes by popping over to my Facebook page www.facebook.com/TheCreationStationBath or visiting my page at the Creation Station website. I look forward to hearing from you.