Amanda Lister, mum to Felicity, 23, and Robert, 16, set up Splatter Make in Beckenham, after years of experience juggling motherhood and a career in Recruitment. Here's her story...
Tell us a bit about your business
Splatter Make is a wonderful creative place that brings life skills to children and adults through classes and courses. In our three studios, we host fun and upbeat classes in cooking, sewing, arts & crafts, messy play, story telling, drama and the list keeps growing! Our classes are suitable for children aged 2, up to adults aged 70 and beyond!
In a world of modern technology, our expectations of finding quicker ways of doing things and buying off the shelf has meant growing, cooking, making and mending are low on our to-do lists. I am incredibly passionate about children and adults being able to do more for themselves. Not only is it practical and resourceful, but it can be so satisfying! We've had a brilliant response since opening our doors in 2015 - we want people to feel comfortable about trying something new. Our tag line is ‘Ordinary people doing extraordinary things’, which says it all!
How have you juggled a career with motherhood?
I have two children and I've had two types of careers during motherhood. With my first daughter, I was just 24, and went back to work after six months, full time. It didn't occur to me how busy and hardworking I must have been! It was just what I needed to do at the time. Having a supportive network of family and friends was important, but an understanding female boss meant that I could also be there for those unexpected emergencies.
Then, when I had my son, I could choose whether I wanted to go back to work. By this time my family had moved away so I took on a Nanny and went back after 3 months, but handed my notice in 16 months later. I realised I had missed those early years with my daughter and wanted to enjoy it with them.
It wasn't until a few years later, when my son started school, that I returned to work. I would only commit to working around school hours - my work in recruitment and training allowed me to have this flexibility and most days I was back online at night planning my workload! So I have the experience of being a mum at home, a full-time working mum and a part-timer.
What tips would you give to Mums who want to work but still have a family life?
My tip would be to have down time from your gadgets! Technology is a wonderful thing but it's so easy to get distracted and pulled into work, just by looking at emails and answering phone calls. If you let yourself be available all the time, you set no boundaries for customers or work colleagues. Be clear when you're available, but be realistic and flexible to handle those emergencies.
Hopefully this means that when you're with your child you're WITH your child. It’s the little things that count - just having fun together, building memories and being in the now. I created Time Together Classes for this reason - parent and children of all ages both love them and so do couples!
Are there any other business mums out there who you admire?
Regardless of your job or position, I admire every mum doing their best to provide and inspire their children. Everyone is individual. Some people need to work, some don’t, but being a mum is hard enough without making judgements or considering a career!
Where do you like to hang out with the family in London?
We love food in our house! One of our favourite restaurants is Benihana – we love the fact the chefs are bonkers! No matter your age, you're going to smile every time you go! It's great for children to see how the food is chopped and cooked; my children are older now but we still ask them to make the smoking volcano from onion rings.
What’s next for you and your company?
We're still working on more features for Splatter Make Beckenham (I have an idea for setting up a little café nearby) and once we're established (and if I have the energy!) we'll look at other sites around London and the South East. My business is ever-changing and we learn to adapt quickly. For example, we weren't planning on having activities for young babies but listening to our audience, we are about to launch baby classes, so watch this space!