Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Mother on business awards shortlist

A WOMAN from Wargrave who started her own business making activity boxes for children has been shortlisted for an award.

Sarah Lewis founded ExplorerTots with her husband Tom last year. The business offers packs of outdoor activities based around science, maths and the environment.

Their first product, ExplorerBox, has three types — space, science and woodland — and has proved so popular that the couple plan to expand the range.

Mrs Lewis is a finalist in the the Mpower National Business Awards, which celebrate parents across the UK who juggle their businesses with family life.

She is one of 10 people in the self-belief category and will also have a chance of being named Mpower Woman of the Year 2019, which is awarded to a mother who is “an inspiration to all women in business”.

Mrs Lewis, 36, said: “Setting up ExplorerTots has been an exhilarating and exhausting rollercoaster ride so being shortlisted for this award is an amazing reward for all the hard work.”

She and her husband, also 36, live off Victoria Road, with their sons William, four, and Benjamin, two, after moving from London.

The couple had discussed starting their own business for years and decided to take the plunge after Benjamin was born. Mrs Lewis left her job as a business consultant to build the company.

The couple wanted a business they could run online from home while looking after their children. The idea for the brand came from having adventures with the children and watching them interact with nature.

Each box has four activities based on a theme, encouraging youngsters to explore the world and learn. The activities include making a rocket which is propelled by stamping on an inflatable pad, growing cress on a model of a head and building a bird feeder with seeds.

They are focused on STEM subjects — science, technology, engineering and maths — and aim to get children outdoors.

The boxes cost £23.99 each and include fact sheets and booklets for children to fill in.

Mrs Lewis said: “I’ve always dreamed of running my own business so that I can create something great for customers and be in control of my own work and around for my family.

“The world is totally and utterly mind-blowing for little ones and it’s incredible watching them see or do something for the first time.

“I feel passionately about spreading these magical moments through our ExplorerBoxes where all of the ideas and equipment are provided so families can focus on exploring, talking and making memories.”

Mrs Lewis is one of more than 130 women to have been shortlisted across 14 categories. The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Birmingham on June 29.

Nicola Huelin, founder of the awards, said: “We believe these women’s efforts and successes in overcoming the challenges of combining business and motherhood, particularly in those first few years when it’s the hardest, deserve to be recognised.”

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