Starting up my own business was never the plan growing up. I loved the corporate benefits; car, private healthcare, sick pay and consistent pay check
But after 14 years selling alcohol and soft drinks I had an idea that I felt so strongly about, I just had to give it a go. Plus there had to be a better way to balance family and work.
Running Buggies .Com was born on September 30th 2015 while on maternity leave and was trading by December that year. Initially it was very much a sideline hobby, with a 'let's see what happens' approach. In February 2016 I started back in employment, working 3 days a week for a small spirits and beer importer, Love Drinks. I was extremely fortunate to be offered a part time role in a sales capacity (these are rare) and also in a lovely little company. At the helm of that company is Kirsty Loveday. A female entrepreneur who has been in business for 10 years and received a British Empire Medal in the queens birthday honours last year. Here I am commuting on by beloved Bobbin bike and Thule backpack.
But now the time has come to dedicate more daylight hours to my business. The late nights certainly take their toll and that's before managing two children under 5 and the household! Training for two marathons in a month might not have helped my time pressure much either!! Thank goodness I have an understanding husband!
So what's happened in the last few years?! As a 'doer' I spend most of my time multitasking (or the entrepreneurs firefighting!) so here's some nice highlights!
Back in Autumn 2016 I not only managed to finally break the 4 hour mark during a marathon but I also set about making my Mission known! I had a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May and then Tracey Crouch, Minister of Sport and Culture to raise the awareness of buggy running and it's benefits on the UK.
Meeting the founder of parkrun at my local event.... while running in an 80's fancy dress ski suit!
Supporting the Run Mummy Run community (50k women) as their official Buggy Running expert! I was shortlisted in the final 3 of their Women of the Year awards. Pictured here with the founder Lianne and Catherine from their wonderful team.
Being shortlisted in the 2017 Running awards and being up for nomination again in 2018. (Please vote for us in the Accessories category!!!)
I was over the moon to write a double page spread featured in Women's Running in Sept 2017. Further coverage was a double page spread in Run Deep magazine Sept 2017.
In June 2017 I partnered up with Sports Physio expert Ros Cooke to launch the first Buggy Running club with hire option in Berkshire, BUGGY SQUAD!
As my Facebook community (The Original Buggy Runners) grows I have recently taken on board a group of amazing ambassadors to help me encourage even more Buggy Runners to get out there and PUSH IT!!
Boobydoo (an online sports bra retailer) supported our community in the summer by offering us 10 places at the Milton Keynes Women's Running event which meant a group of virtual friends could get together and show other ladies it's possible!
One of the awesome families in this community is the Imrie's. Both Lee and Kathryn are talented athletes with Lee representing Team GB in the Duathlon. When he generously offered up the opportunity to pop my new logo on his Trisuit I jumped at the chance!
My supplier's recognise I'm not a normal retailer, I'm not just selling an item, I'm growing the entire running buggy category and I'm hugely grateful of their support. Particularly to enable me to have a stand at the London Marathon Expo in April, which saw 75k people walk through in 4 days. Mountain Buggy also offered a member of the FB community, The Original Buggy Runners, the chance to become their ambassador, congrats to Mel. Out n' About offered a free Nipper Sport in a competition, just for our community, congrats Tim. And finally the crazy dudes at Thule not only supported me at the London Marathon Expo in person, have offered up bags for our competitions but also had this to say.
'Wendy is truly an inspirational lady! Here at Thule we don’t class Wendy as a customer but as a key Brand ambassador! Her knowledge, enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit means she excels in everything she does.' Emma Peak, Thule Account Manager, Sept 2017.
After I get this small matter of Bournemouth marathon on the 8th October out the way I'll definitely celebrate. Here's is to the next incredible year ahead!