Today we’d like to introduce you to Victoria Jennings.
It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?
As the owner of what is the fastest growing children’s activities franchise in the UK, (and the USA), I never imagined the path my life would take. Little did I know that becoming a mum would lead me to create an award-winning business that’s turning over 1M and growing. I’m still amazed at how just a small idea has become so successful. I had always been interested in entrepreneurship and hoped one day to have my own brand.
Initially, I worked in small start-ups learning the flexibility needed to be an entrepreneur and got involved in every aspect of business, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I eventually worked for an entrepreneur who featured in the Times Rich List. Having little education he grew his business to PLC status and I was in awe of his achievement.
When I became pregnant in 2008 I planned to take four months off work then go back full-time, This didn’t work a blessing in disguise.
My labour was difficult. Forty-eight hours in and the doctors intervened. I lost blood and the exhaustion meant I struggled to bond with my daughter. What was wrong with me?
My mental state was in tatters and once back at work I soon realised being a full-time working mum was not for me. I had to support my well-being.
I retrained as an early years educator and became a home-based childminder. The children loved being with me and I pondered on how to turn this experience into something bigger.
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
By the time my youngest of three daughters started school I had a plan to create a baby class business that would give me the flexibility to only work during school times.
I knew a lot about the types of baby classes available at the time. There was not one single class where I felt totally at ease. None of them was benefiting me or my babies so the idea to create something very special was born. Bonding and parental wellbeing would be at the core of what I did.
So in June 2017 I decided on the business name Bloom Baby Classes and began researching a fun range of musical activities that would help parents to bond with their babies whilst helping them sleep too.
It didn’t take long to get the first baby class up and running and they were popular from the start.
The parents would tell me how comfortable they felt when attending classes and it was clear from the babies faces that they were enjoying it too. One of the things I now believe is that everyone can achieve big things with their business if they are committed to their vision.
I learnt to not be afraid to seek opportunities to scale and to say yes to more things. Distractions were a challenge and I had to learn to be focused, prioritise the most important tasks but take time to be creative too. Support is important I couldn’t have done everything myself.
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
My business is built on very personal experience and I am very committed.
The classes quickly became a hit and by January 2018 I had three teachers on my team running over 36 classes a week. I soon started getting enquiries from across the UK and decided the best direction for the business was to turn it into a franchise with classes available across the UK. It was the fastest way to help other parents like me have a better work-life balance whilst running a highly profitable business doing a job they loved.
It meant we could have many more parents and babies attending classes, offering the support I wish I’d had when my girls were young. Our first four franchises launched in January 2019 and in just three years, despite many Covid setbacks, we now have over 44 UK franchises and a number overseas, of which I am extremely proud. Our model allows parents to have a business that fits with their family lives.
The activities and classes themselves have also evolved over time with new ones being added every year.
With many national awards now under our belt, we are seeing over 10,000 parents at our classes each week alone. It makes me proud to see my network grow their franchise in a very short space of time, taking on teachers of their own just like I did, and to see parents from across the UK share videos/photos and reviews of their time spent at our classes
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
To never give up! Success takes hard work and some days it is hard to get and stay motivated.
When I first started my business kept a journal and would list my aims/goals/plans for the week/month/year/decade. Staying positive and believing in myself helped me reach these goals. I am a true believer that if you want something enough it can really happen.
I used sticky notes and would stick them around my work and personal space such as the refrigerator or dishwasher. They would say things like ‘grow to 10 franchises by April’ and ‘launch overseas by the end of the year.’ This continued focus spurred me on to achieve the success I was aiming for.
I read a lot of motivational books too which gave me some great advice and insights. One author said to not just write a goal down but to imagine you are already there. Feel that moment, smell it and visualise it. So I did. I imagined being in Dubai on the beach on a work trip. I could feel the sand beneath my feet and the sunshine beaming down on me. That month we signed our UAE franchise it really works!
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
Success is not just based on how much money you earned last year. It’s about achieving the goals you set yourself and living a life you love.
Everyone should have both short and long term goals. These don’t even have to be business orientated but can also be around your personal well-being.
Being happy in what you do is down to you and only you can make that happen. If you have to make changes in your life, make a plan and truly believe in it and yourself and you will see success come your way.
Only you can make things happen for yourself, no one else. Waking up each day positive that you will tick off some tasks on your to-do list will help you achieve inner peace, contentment and have a major effect on your overall well-being.
What’s next for you?
Our long term plans are to roll out our franchise model into Canada, Australia and beyond. In Bloom Baby Classes we offer lots of personal support, education and inspiration to the people who join our franchise, and this is one of the reasons they are being so very successful. We hear all the time about how being part of our network has changed lives.
We truly believe every parent should be able to access the joy of one of our classes where they can bond with their child and create lifelong memories to cherish.
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more.