A mum-of-five is making her mark in the business world after quitting her teaching career to help care for her sons who have a life-limiting blood condition.
Tara Bailey, 39, of Oakwood - who has three boys with haeomphilia and one with a rare heart condition - decided to try and work for herself, to fit around her children’s ever-growing medical needs.
The brave move was given a helping hand by her eldest son Kaeden, 10, who came up with a business idea which has proved so successful, Tara’s company has now been named one of the top 100 small businesses in the UK by Small Business Saturday – and led to an invite to 10 Downing Street.
Dreamee Teepees Slumber Parties was launched in January this year, providing indoor tents and accessories for children’s parties.
The simple concept has been gaining a strong following both in the business commmunity and amnng families – with bookings well into 2018 and five-star reviews on their Facbeook page.
Tara said: “Our parties really are proving a hit and it’s amazing to be able to provide a service for parents that helps put a smile on their faces as well as their children’s.
“This year has been amazing for us. In August 2017 we also won Theo Pathitis’ Small Business Sunday on Twitter which not only has given an amazing boost to our business but also means I get to meet Theo Pathitis himself at an awards event in February 2018 which I’m extremely excited about.”
She said her decision to quit teaching came after she suffered a mental breakdown in 2015 after a stressful period with her children’s complex health issues.
“Three of my boys have a life-limiting blood condition called Haemophilia A which means they can suffer with internal bleeding in their joints and muscles. In January 2014 Kaeden had a particularly bad internal bleed on his hip which meant he was hospitalised and then required months of rehabilitation and quite a lengthy time in a wheelchair. That was the start of a period of haemophilia-related issues for him, which obviously meant I was needed for hospital visits and care during his rehabilitation.
“At the same time, one of my other sons, Xander, now four, had also started with a then unknown illness – which we now know to be a rare heart condition - which caused him to collapse and pass out. The fact he has haemophilia too meant that he required a lot of additional care, especially as we had no idea what the problem was.
“I became pregnant with my fourth son during this time and following his birth in October 2015 it was evident all the stress had affected my mental health and I suffered a serious mental breakdown. I decided something in my life had to change.”
She said the teepee idea came while Kaeden was planning his birthday party.
“He wanted to camp out for his birthday which unfortunately for him is in December. We looked for alternative ways to create his birthday wishes and came up with the idea of Dreamee Teepees Slumber Parties. No one else in the UK was providing the service we wanted to create.
“One of the most important things for us is that these parties are accessible for all children regardless of their abilities or needs. We work with parents to try and make sure that our vision is a reality.
“Kaeden is also an active partner in the business and helps to deliver and assemble weekend parties as well as researching what children his age are interested in to help theme the parties – he does this without me asking and of course only when he is well.”
She added: “It was such an honour to be invited to Number 10 Downing Street. I also feel really humbled to have been named on the top 100 Small Business list for 2017. I never thought for a minute that my little family business would be recognised in such a way.
“With five young boys at home my life is certainly busy, however this shows that being a busy mum and running a business is something that can be done.”