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Local, up to date and current directory for baby businesses in Suffolk.

 

 

Do you have a shop front? Where are you based?

No shop front as such. We have an office in Colchester which is manned by Ian and Rebecca (not to be confused with Bex!). I can be found either sitting in the corner of the office with my laptop , out and about at one of the ten pools we currently swim in or working from my desk at home.

How did your business come about? Did it start as a hobby or did you know that you wanted it to be a business from the very beginning?

I started off as a Water Babies mum back in 2008 with my eldest son Nathan. I loved it so much that I put my second son, Daniel, on the waiting list before he was even born. I was so blown away watching the progress my boys made in the swimming pool that I decided to retrain as a Water Babies teacher in 2013. I quite happily worked as a nurse during the week and taught for Water Babies at weekends…..until I heard that the local franchise was up for sale – and I couldn’t resist!!

Tell me a bit about your business, what makes it special?

Taking your baby swimming has so many benefits on so many different levels. From the most obvious benefit of teaching water safety through to other benefits such as developing coordination, developing their learning skills, building their strength, boosting their confidence and promoting bonding (I could go on). Water Babies is special because it has the knowledge, expertise, innovation and professionalism of being the word’s largest baby swim school (teaching more than 41,000 babies each week) and, being split into franchisees you are also safe in the knowledge that you are swimming with a family run business who cares passionately about what they do and will always do their absolute best to give you the best swimming experience possible. The best of both worlds!

How long have you been in business?

I officially took over Water Babies in Suffolk and North East Essex in July 2015, so we are coming up to our second birthday 🙂 I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone. Having said that, Water Babies was founded back in 2002, so although we are a small family run business here in Suffolk, we have the huge advantage of having a wealth of expertise and experience within our network.

What is your favourite part of being your own boss?

The main advantage is that I can usually mould my working day around taking my children to school and picking them up at the end of the day. This often means that I work late into the evenings and at weekends, but when I was nursing there were 3 days per week when I didn’t see my children as I went out before they got up and came home after they came to bed. I work many more hours now than I did then, but I am there for my children when they need me.

Do you offer products or services? Please give information about these products / services.

Water Babies is primarily all about teaching babies and toddlers how to swim. It is seeing their progress in the pool that makes all our teachers jump out of bed in the morning and look forward to going to work. Having said that, we also hold an underwater photoshoot towards the end of each term, with all our Chapter 1 swimmers receiving complimentary attendance, with any images available to purchase. Water Babies prides itself on taking some of the very best underwater images of babies and toddlers in the world. Our little Water Babies grow up so quickly, so an underwater photo makes for a unique keepsake, a wonderful gift, and a truly beautiful piece of art in its own right – and we know that you’ll treasure it forever! We also have a Water Babies shop, that stocks everything you will need for your lessons, from swimwear for your baby, to goggles, to the toys you use in your classes, to beautiful bespoke Water Babies towels, ponchos, t-shirt’s, hoodies…….the list goes on 🙂

What is your favourite product or service you offer?

As much as I love our photographs (I have a wall full of the photos of my children swimming under the water at home), our main motivator is to teach babies and toddlers to swim. Our lessons have structure with a distinct course progression and yet are fun and just a little bit quirky at times. Most importantly, all lessons are taken by our team of fabulous teachers who are among the highest trained baby swimming teachers in the world – who also all happen to have found Water Babies by joining the course as a parent – a real testament to how much we love Water Babies!!

If I want to hire you for your services, how can I do this/find you?

You can contact our friendly office team by calling 01206 841126 or emailing us at blastoff@waterbabies.co.uk You can also find a wealth of information about Water Babies by checking out our website www.waterbabies.co.uk

Time to get a bit personal…

 

What kind of family commitments do you need to juggle along with your business? How do you find balance?

I have two boys, Nathan aged 9 and Daniel aged 6. I am also pregnant with our third baby – due in September. It can be tricky running a business at the same time as raising a young family, but I am also in a really privileged position of being able to run a family business. My boys are the reason I am where I am today – without them I would never have found Water Babies and my life would not have taken the path that it has. The boys sometimes have to come to work with me, coming out to pools to meet new clients, or go in to the office with Ian – but they love being involved, and I love teaching them that although work can be tough – it is possible to find a job that gives immense satisfaction.

What is your favourite tv shows, food, or song?

I love having a Chinese Takeaway. I don’t enjoy cooking so this has a double bonus – lovely food and I don’t have to cook. Happy Days!!

What can you be found doing on a weekend? or when you have time off?

Every Sunday morning we go for a swim as a family. Nathan and Daniel are now too old for Water Babies and have moved on to mainstream swimming, but I love being in the water with them so we go every week together – just for fun! After a lovely swim we then usually head off for Sunday Brunch – swimming always makes me hungry!

What is your favourite place to get away to? And why?

My favourite place is North Devon. When I was a child we always used to go to Saunton Sands for our holidays and I have so many lovely memories of family holidays there – miles of golden sand and paddling in the sea. I have enjoyed taking my children back there and watching them play in the same rock pools that I used to play in and running in and out of the waves like I used to. There is also the added bonus that our Head Office is in Devon, so if I go there for business, we can usually add on abit of holiday time too 🙂

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About Vicky Barbour-Andrews

The Baby Experts - All round crazy lady, owner of two businesses, two little people and a husband. I am one of those people who just doesn't stop. On both of my maternity leaves I have chosen to start up a new businesses with my new 'spare time'. Some may call me crazy, some may call me stupid but to me I am just me, take me as I am as I do anything for a hassle free life as I believe it is for the living and enjoying - grab it by the balls people as we don't know how long we have here!


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