Hi, my name is Rebecca, I’m married and a Mum of three children, two girls and a boy, aged eight, five and three and I live by the sea near Blackpool in Lancashire. I’m the owner and creator of I’m A Mini. I design and create a range of handmade party bags and children’s activity boxes based on different careers and hobbies for children aged 6 and above.
My story began back in 2015, I had returned to college after giving up work to look after my two girls
I was ready to start getting back into work, the girls were growing up and I needed something for me. However, towards the end of my college course I found out I was pregnant with my third child – this came as a huge surprise and so derailed me and my plans of going back to work, so they had to go on hold. We were thrilled to find out that we were having a boy! I however, found it difficult with the unexpected change and suffered with both pre-natal and post-natal depression. We had not had an easy 2 years prior to having our little boy. We had a miscarriage in our second pregnancy which was an extremely sad time, then I fell pregnant again a few months later all was fine but our daughter was born 6 weeks early and I had complications after giving birth and we were in the process of relocating! So, January 2014 was a very difficult time. Then having our third unplanned, came as quite a lot to handle and I think the past few years and now having three children – it all just got too much for me cope.
Having three children aged 4 and under to look after and dealing with post- natal depression was extremely tough. I remember feeling so lost and isolated even though I had family around me. It was an extremely lonely time. I found stepping out into the world scary but I had to because I had to get my eldest daughter to school. I would put the mask on (i.e. the brave face) and I would pretend I was fine when inside I knew I wasn’t. I finally, reached breaking point one day and cried all the way home from the school run – I rang my mum and from then on I sort help from my doctors and a counsellor. It was a difficult time for me but when I look back now I would not change anything because not only do we have our beautiful little boy but another positive came out of it – my business! I still have tough days and I still have to be mindful of my own mental state and to remember to ask for help when things are getting too much.
Anyway, whilst at home, now looking after my three children, my idea for my business came about. My eldest daughter was coming home from school with nursery rhyme activity packs for the weekend – these sparked my idea – I thought that they could be much more than just nursery rhyme activity packs. I began sketching my ideas and so created activity boxes that were based on different careers and hobbies for example I’m A Mini Astronaut or I’m A Mini Explorer. As my idea progressed, I wondered how I would turn it into a business, then I thought of the Prince’s Trust. In August 2016, I completed their Enterprise Programme and as of October 2017 I launched my business with them!
This was a huge achievement for me – never would I have thought this possible!
I aim to motivate a child’s interest and nurture their ideas through exploring the world around them. We all know technology is a huge part of our world nowadays and it’s incredible what we can now do! However, young children see the world differently from adults, they would rather do than just look. They want to explore, experiment and immerse themselves in another world. My boxes take children on that journey into different worlds and allow them to learn through play using their wonderful imaginations! My boxes cover four different aspects – Learning, Imagination, Fun and Exploring – in other they represent LIFE! I have also recently added a range of eco-friendly party bags or travel activity packs that cover some of the same themes.
Starting my business hasn’t come without its challenges though. My main issue was finding a box! I know what you’re thinking ‘There are thousands of boxes, you can get them anywhere’ that’s what I thought too. However, the type of box I wanted was more difficult to obtain. I wanted a storage type box, so all the items could be stored away when not being played with. I wanted it to be practical, because as a parent, I know how difficult it can be storing your kids toys. It took me five months to find the right box – I did not give up! I cried the day I found it, I was so happy – I mean without ‘the box’ there was no activity box! The best part though is getting feedback from the children that have had one of my boxes and telling me how much they have enjoyed them – that’s what it’s about for me.
Another challenge is finding the balance between my business and my kids – let’s just say it’s a work in progress! My girls are now in school, but I still have little boy at home three and half days a week, when he’s not in nursery. So, I have to juggle my work around them, whether that be a full day Monday when they are all in school and nursery, or evenings when they’ve gone to bed, or sometimes popping them in front on the TV for an hour while I get some work done – I often work while I’m making tea. Pan in one hand, laptop in the other so to speak!
My own children have been a huge inspiration to me and if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be telling you my story
They are even my logo and my eldest has so much input in what goes into the boxes. I just to want to be able to encourage children to follow their dreams, to be what they want to be and to do something they love!
I hope I can inspire other adults too, whether you’re a parent or not, you just never know what opportunities may arise. This opportunity came about because I chose to be a full-time mum. I am truly grateful for my previous experiences because my life has changed and I can show my children you can always follow your dreams, whenever that may be! I am excited for the future of my business and what other opportunities may arise.
I just to want to be able to encourage children to follow their dreams, to be what they want to be and to do something they love!