Single mum Leanne Gray says starting her own business was the best thing she has ever done.
The 23-year-old, from Great Gonerby, produces customised designs for young children’s things, everything ranging from prams and pushchairs to baby blankets and bibs.
It was initially a hobby but after struggling to identify a career she wanted to pursue and failing to find a job, Leanne decided to take the plunge last June and Little People Stylish Wheels was born.
Working from home, she is able to work around looking after daughter Scarlet, four, and three-year-old son Carter.
A former pupil at Grantham Church High School (now Priory Ruskin Academy) and the town’s Spitalgate School, Leanne now sends out orders throughout the UK, as well as to family members and friends.
What was it like when you decided to start your own business?
I was a bit scared to start off with. I didn’t know where to go or what to do. I went down the job centre one day and asked if I could start my own business and they said I could and gave me a lot of help. I had been doing it as a hobby for a year and a half. It’s going really well now and it doesn’t take me as long to finish an order as it used to.
How did you come up with the name for your business?
I started off thinking of lots of different names and then my mum came up with ‘Little People Accessories’. I played around with the words a bit before coming up with Little People Stylish Wheels.
How do you find juggling family commitments with running your own business?
I try to work around the kids and it seems to work for me. I have a partner who doesn’t live with me. He helps me when he can. If I get a few orders which I need to rush to finish he says he will mind the children for me while I work. When I am poorly or my kids are poorly, though, the orders have to be put on hold. My customers are always understanding when that happens.
How do you personalise the goods for customers?
I spend about two hours a day sewing different orders. I can design to order, I can customise stuff with names and I can even put someone’s favourite football team on it. I’ve started working on wheelchairs now as well as prams and pushchairs. I really love the work. I sent a blanket to a lady in Stockport the other day and she replied to say her daughter absolutely loved it. It’s nice when you get feedback like that.
Do you have plans to extend your range?
I would like to move into trainers soon. I would buy the trainers and then customise them with prints, pictures or butterflies, for example, and maybe take the laces out and replace them with ribbons. I have lots of ideas.
How do you promote the business?
I do everything through my Facebook page. It’s free and everyone is on Facebook so I thought it would be a good idea to start a page for the business. I have 320 likes from people on there and lots of people have been commenting on it.
Would you recommend other people look at starting their own business?
Definitely. When I was at school I just wanted to be a hairdresser. I trained to be one for a year but my children came along and I decided it wasn’t for me. My mum used to do this for a hobby, making things for family and friends, and when she stopped doing it I took over. You get used to running your own business and I would recommend it. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.
How can people make an order?
If they go to my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LittlePeopleStylishWheels they will see some examples of my work and how to get in contact.