Life for Faye Peacock is hectic but she wouldn’t have it any other way. She talks to Claire Dunwell about her new venture and how she is determined to make it a success.
Being a busy mum of three whilst running a successful business is all in a day’s work for Faye Peacock.
The ‘mumtrepreneur’ is the wife of Leeds Rhino’s rugby league legend Jamie Peacock, 35, and isn’t afraid to get her own hands dirty.
Aside from the daily demands of family life with the couple’s children, Lewis, eight, Lilly, four and two-year-old Freya, Faye recently became the new owner of Cottonbudz playgym in Rodley, a soft-play centre designed for under fives. Faye combines it with working a three-day week as a marketing manager in the city centre.
“What I love most about Leeds is its diversity. Jamie and I have a park within walking distance where people always stop to chat along the way. I love how the city centre, with its great shops and restaurants, is just a 15-minute drive away.
“I was 15 years old when I got my first job as a sales assistant at the Dolcis shoe shop in Leeds city centre. I absolutely loved it and although I only worked one day a week, I thrived on being the top Saturday sales person! I left school at 17 and went for two interviews - and was offered both jobs. I started my career at a software company called BACG in Leeds on Water Lane.
“I relocated to Bracknell in Berkshire and completed my diploma in marketing while I was there. I was 26 when I came back up to Leeds and joined a company called Pancredit, which develops financial software for lenders, as marketing manager in 2002. I used to work full-time, but since having the children I’ve reduced my days to three.
“I’m a big believer in treating everyone as I would expect to be treated. An old colleague gave me great advice once when I was feeling nervous about delivering a presentation: “They (the audience) sit on the toilet just like you...” It still makes me smile.
“Weekly gossip magazines are my biggest guilty pleasure as well as the TV programme, One Born Every Minute. I know Jamie and I won’t be having any more children, but watching OBEM reminds me how lovely it is for other people. Our son Lewis was conceived naturally but then I had an ectopic pregnancy and couldn’t conceive, so we started IVF. Three years later, Lilly was born and 14 months on, we had an amazing surprise - I was pregnant with Freya.
Rude people, and people with no manners are my pet hates - oh, and ugly feet.
“It might sound obvious but I couldn’t live without my iPhone.
I use it to keep in touch with the staff at Cottonbudz and I’m often up late at night doing my online supermarket shop for the playgym.
Jamie and I had talked about investing in a business for some time then I was at Cottonbudz with the children one day when I saw it was for sale. We were both already very busy, but we knew it was an established, successful business which could run itself.
“We became the new owners in July and if I’m not up late doing paper work, I’m washing tea towels. “We have to put in the hours because our aim is to the keep the same values - quality home-cooked food especially - but we’ve also asked our customers how we can improve. Simple things like opening a bit earlier so mums can go straight from school and having “proper” coffee on the menu.
“As well as my iPhone, I couldn’t live without my black Yves Saint Laurent liquid eye liner because I feel bare without it.
If I could meet anyone, it would have to have been Margaret Thatcher. Not necessarily because of her political views - I just like strong women.
“My philosophy in life is to always be honest. People don’t always want to hear the truth but in my opinion, it’s the best policy in the long run. My friends would agree with me on this statement and I’ve had the same set of close friends for 30 years.
“It might come as a surprise to know that I was once held hostage in a Thai airport for 18 hours whilst 30-weeks pregnant with my daugter Lilly. Lewis was four at the time and we were in transit from Australia because Jamie was touring out there with the England team. Protestors had made their way in and managed to shut down the airport. We ended up stuck in Thailand for a week, and bearing in mind I was only supposed to be there for three hours. Jamie flew back with his team on a different flight and thankfully, avoided Thailand.
“I had a lovely childhood, although my dad worked away as an engineer on the oil rigs and my Mum and Nana essentially brought me, my sister Kim and brother Paul up. I went to Calverley Parkside Primary School and we lived in the same village where I now live with Jamie and the children.
I’ve lots of fond memories of holidays abroad, mainly Majorca in the 1980s. I remember going sledging one winter and I went so fast down the hill I put my hands down to try to stop myself. The pain was excruciating, but when I rushed home to mum she told me to stop being soft. When I finally took off my three pairs of gloves, my thumb was hanging by my wrist.
Needless to say, mum stopped making tea and took me straight to hospital.
“I had my first crush on Ralph Macchio, AKA the Karate Kid.
“I don’t know any jokes, so here’s one from my husband: “I looked out of the bedroom window and saw a man stealing my gate...I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want him to take offence...”