Local (Baby) Business Heroes - Little City & Tiddlers2Wigglers

Two entrepreneurs are making their mark in Colchester with baby businesses that offer local parents something different.

The current surge of so-called 'mumpreneurs' is a reaction to the difficulties so many women face upon returning to work after having children. Regular 9 to 5 jobs (which, let's face it are more often 8:30 to 6:30 jobs!) don't offer the kind of flexibility primary child-carers need and too often the only recourse is to start up your own business. That's exactly what these two Colcestrian mums have done. 

First up, meet Vicki, who runs Little City - an immersive, child-led role play experience for the under-5s, where they can become a firefighter, vet or hairdresser for a day!

What brought you to Colchester? What is your background?

I have lived in and around Colchester for the past 20 years, I have currently live in Brantham, near Manningtree. 

Why did you decide to start an independent business in Colchester? 

I went back to work in central London after my second maternity leave and decided I no longer wanted to commute and miss out on my children so started my own business!

Tell us some more about your business and your vision for your company.

I run a small play business for under-5’s in and around Colchester, Chelmsford and Ipswich called Little City. The business offers the children the opportunity to role play for a morning – they get to role play being a police officer, fire officer, vet, doctors, hairdresser, construction worker etc. I take all my equipment and toys to various venues in the area, with the aim of offering parents and children a new and different play opportunity to the usual soft play options. I also like the fact I have the opportunity to take the equipment to areas such as Brightlingsea, Harwich, Sudbury, Earls Colne that don’t have as many play opportunities – offering the parents the chance to do something local rather than travel into town. 

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What do you like about running a business in Colchester? What are the challenges?

I like the freedom of running my own business, running my own hours and days and look forward to speaking more time with my children. The challenges I am currently encountering is finding the right spaces to hire that are reasonably priced and available. 

Would your business be willing to offer a small discount or free gift upon purchase to holders of the Colchester Life Discount Card?

Yes – I would be able to offer 5% discount on a birthday party booking

All contact details for Little City are in our directory

And secondly, here's Gabrielle, to tell us about her recently launched business Tiddlers2Wigglers, which hosts pre-owned baby good sales. (As if she doesn't have enough to do already!)

What brought you to Colchester? What is your background? 

I’m originally from Colchester but moved away when I was 19 to pursue my career as cabin crew. About 18 months ago I moved back to Colchester with my husband and 5-year-old daughter, as we found out we were pregnant with twins. We quickly realised how important having family nearby was for the extra support needed. Our twin boys are nearly 18 months' old now and life has certainly become more challenging! I'm still crew for Virgin Atlantic and a hard-working mummy of 3 children!

My mum (and business partner) is an amazing support for us. Originally from Romford, Mum settled in Colchester with my dad and along came myself and my brother. She is now retired and gives so much time to helping us and looking after her 97-year-old mum.

Why did you decide to start an independent business in Colchester? 

Before I moved back to Colchester I used to attend lots of pre-loved baby sales in Surrey (everyone loves a bargain!) and didn’t really know of any in Colchester other than the NCT sales. Once the boys became a bit "easier" (we're still waiting) Mum and I decided to go for it and jump in feet first with our 1st sale on the 16th December 2017.

Tell us some more about your business and your vision for your company. 

As Tiddlers2Wigglers is a family business consisting of me and Mum we really want that to be reflected in our sales as somewhere with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere: Somewhere people want to come along to, not only for the bargains they can get but to have a slice of my mum's scrummy homemade cake and a cup of tea. Maybe even chatting to other mummies at the same stage of pregnancy or going through similar trials as you are with your babies/children.

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What do you like about running a business in Colchester? What are the challenges?

What we like about running the business in Colchester is the fact that it's our hometown. We've met a lot of lovely local mummies so far and also have had the chance to chat to other parents that have started their own playgroups etc. Through meeting these people we are also learning more about the area we live in. For me this is fantastic as I'm learning what Colchester has to offer for young children, instead of needing to know the best bars from when I was a teenager! The challenges have been advertising and getting our Tiddlers2Wigglers name out there as we appreciate not everyone lives on Facebook!

Where is Colchester ‘best kept secret’ in your opinion? What do you like to do most when not running your business? 

We love Caffé Sala - it's an independent, family-run coffee shop. It always has a lovely atmosphere and delicious food (try the breakfast bar!). They also have a childrens' area upstairs with a stairgate, so the children can play with a few toys and books without you worrying about them escaping They even have space to park your buggy and an area to advertise any events.

Would your business be willing to offer a small discount or free gift upon purchase to holders of the Colchester Life Discount Card? 

We would offer cardholders a free hot drink.

All Tiddlers2Wigglers contact details are in our directory.