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A Berkshire Mumpreneur // Hannah Brewer, Little Muddy Boots

Hannah Brewer, founded Little Muddy Boots back in 2014 and in 2021 franchised the business. During this Berkshire Mumpreneur interview Hannah tells us a little more about the Little Muddy Boots journey to date and also about her future plans for the growing company nationally. I have attended Little Muddy Boots classes and highly recommend them.

Hannah Brewer Little Muddy Boots
Tell me briefly about your business?

Little Muddy Boots sessions are a unique way to engage children, in outdoor play and discovery. By combining gardening, nature exploration and forest school, we have something for every child, whether it be the quiet bug hunter or the energetic den builder! We work hard to ensure the children have a wonderful time playing, exploring and learning outdoors. We have a vast collection of ideas and activities (which all link to EYFS and Key Stage 1) to dip into, from animal tracking, campfires, story led games, outdoor arts and crafts. 

Tell me briefly about yourself and your family?

I am married and we have three children, aged 10, 7 and 2 years. As a family we are at our happiest outside – whether that’s pottering in the garden, cycling in Windsor Park, camping by the seaside or climbing the hills in Shropshire. 

When did you set up your business and why?

My childhood was a typically rural one, where I spent long happy days roaming the countryside, rescuing wildlife and building dens/climbing trees. When I became a mother, I realised how important this upbringing has been in building my confidence and resilience, as well as giving me opportunities to practice both problem solving and making friends through shared interests. I have adored introducing my own children to the joys of playing outside and in 2014, this extended to creating a space for more children to do the same. Little Muddy Boots and regular outdoor play for all children is my absolute passion and one I can see myself doing for many years to come.

Hannah Brewer Little Muddy Boots
What do you see as the benefits of being self-employed?

I love my work and the ability to be creative in designing new lesson plans each week. Running my own business has allowed me to focus on what I enjoy doing the most, making decisions and pushing forward on new projects, and I relish the opportunity to work with other self employed individuals who are also passionate about early years education. Lastly, and most importantly, the flexibility of being self employed means I can make sure I am there for my children whenever they need me.

How do you manage to run your business and look after your family?

The only downside of self employment (and being passionate about what you do!) is that your brain never switches off. So I am always thinking about how to grow the business most effectively from strategic planning to managing employees and marketing the business plus designing lesson plans and of course running classes. At the start, this meant that juggling family and work was tricky but I now have various strategies to make sure there is a balance. When my children are little, I only work during nap times or when they are with the childminder. When they are at home with me or it’s the school holidays, I put my phone on aeroplane mode so that we are not interrupted by emails/messages coming in constantly. Once bedtime stories have been read and they are tucked up, I switch my phone back on and fit a couple more hours of work in. Luckily my husband also runs his own business so we understand the need to work at slightly odd times of the day! When we can, we do try and have the odd night off and often leave our phones/our work at home at the weekend when we go outside to play as a family!

What are your top tips to other parents considering setting up their own business?

Identify your passion and work hard to make it into a business opportunity by doing your research thoroughly. Try and start something that has minimal set up costs so that you can grow it at the pace that suits you – rather than jumping in at the deep end. You’ll need lots of support at the start (whether that’s emotional, childcare, or sounding block when problems need to be solved!) so surround yourself with a strong network of family and friends. When you can, work with other small business as collaboration can generate new revenues and customer networks. Be kind to yourself – make sure you take breaks, focus on what’s important (your family!) and if you get stuck I always find a good brisk walk in the fresh air helps your brain reload/fix the issue!

Hannah Brewer A Berkshire Mumpreneur
What’s next for your business?

After being on maternity leave with my third and having to take Little Muddy Boots online during the lockdowns I realised that I had a fantastic team behind me, alongside the market shift of more families wanting to play and learn outdoors than ever before. This made me appreciate that it was possible to expand the business to new sites, with new products and new groups of children. In 2021 Little Muddy Boots launched its first franchise in Woodley, Berkshire alongside the first site in Bracknell and Little Muddy Boots Windsor is opening its garden gates in spring 2022. The target now is to franchise the business nationally throughout the UK. This is such an exciting time with lots of challenges as I navigate a new business model and create more jobs. If you know anyone interested in running a Little Muddy Boots franchise please do ask them to get in touch via email.

In 2021 I also launched the Little Muddy Boots Activity Cards to help families get outdoors and play, I can’t wait to see what other products we produce and sell under the Little Muddy Boots brand – watch this space!

Little Muddy Boots Activity Cards
Finally, what are your top three things to do as a family in Berkshire?

We love cycling through Windsor Great Park – often spotting kestrels flying above, seeing the Queen’s cows in the fields and finding many sticks and other nature treasures along the way.

Packing a picnic and a flask of hot chocolate and heading out for a walk by local rivers and lakes is another favourite past time. The boys love to find the ‘best’ picnic spot and often build a den for us to sit in while we eat our food. Apparently Daddy’s hot chocolate is better than Starbucks!

Not quite Berkshire, but we do enjoy our membership at RHS Wisley as there is always things to do and see, and the new nature playground is great fun.

If you would like to find out more about Little Muddy Boots do visit their website and follow on their Instagram and Facebook pages.

Click here to also read other Berkshire Mumpreneur blog post interviews.

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