TWO SISTERS from Coventry have planted the seed for a new business aimed at bringing nature to the homes of children all over the country.
Louise Leng and Nicola Shingler are combining their skills and experiences of horticulture and teaching to create My Nature Table which offers seasonal gift boxes and bags.
They give three to eight-year-olds a range of activities from growing food and flowers to quizzes and crafts delivered to their door.
The pair came up with the idea when they were on holiday in September last year.
Louise, who has 30 years’ experience in horticulture including working with the National Trust and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, had a lightbulb moment.
They then sought help from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce start-up team through the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme.
The scheme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Trial boxes, created in February last year, were tested by families and the business was officially launched in November.
Louise said: “I’d always wanted to start my own business but wasn’t really sure what route to go down.
“We were away staying in a shepherd’s hut in Norfolk for my 50th birthday and I realised it had to be something that came naturally to me and something that I loved.”
Louise has a degree in Countryside Management and Royal Horticultural Society certificates while Nicola has been a 30 years teaching experience.
She added by combining their skills and experience they could bring the fun and excitement of British flora and fauna to children and ensure it was educational and followed the new 2021 Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (for three to five-year-olds) and the National Curriculum (for years one to four).
Louise contacted the Chamber the day she got back from her holiday and was assigned an adviser, who helped nurture the business idea.
Louise attended a start-up course eight years ago so knew about the Chamber’s services.
Wendy Brown was assigned her adviser and guided Louise through the initial stages of starting a business, via video calls, brainstorming ideas, product feedback, registering with Companies House as well as setting up an email address and website.
Online workshops – including ‘Thinking of Starting a Business’, ‘Writing Your Own Business Plan’, ‘Introduction to Marketing’ and ‘Getting Started with Finances’ also helped.
Keely Hancox, Operations Manager of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We often find people coming to us either after their summer holiday, Christmas or a key moment in their life because they have had time to think and have decided they want to start their own business.
“Very often, that is around a passion or interest they have and our team can then help with some of the fundamentals of starting a business to ensure it gets off on the right footing.
“This is a great example of individuals using their creativity and skills to launch a business, which is something we really want to see more of.”
Anyone wanting to find out more about the Chamber’s range of start-up workshops to help people build sustainable businesses can click here.
The My Nature Table nature gift boxes and gift bags are available at etsy.com/uk/shop/mynaturetable or from Farmers Fayre, Stoneleigh – farmersfayre.co.uk
Follow My Nature Table on Instagram or Facebook.
Alternatively, email Louise at firstname.lastname@example.org