Two Coventry sisters have planted the seed for a new business that they hope will help bring nature to the homes of young children all over the country.
Louise Leng and Nicola Shingler are combining their skills in horticulture and teaching to create My Nature Table, a seasonal nature inspired gift box and gift bag business offering three to eight-year-olds a range of activities from growing food and flowers through to quizzes and crafts delivered to their door.
The idea was born during a holiday getaway September 2020 when Louise, who has 30 years’ experience in horticulture including working with the National Trust and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, had a lightbulb moment.
After having the initial idea, they got help from Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.
They created trial boxes in February 2021 which were tested by families and launched in November 2021, during Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture.
Louise said: “I’d always wanted to start my own business but wasn’t really sure what route to go down. We were away staying in a shepherd’s hut in Norfolk for my 50th birthday in September 2020 and I realised that it had to be something that came naturally to me and something that I loved. It was my lightbulb moment – or my midlife crisis!
“I have a degree in Countryside Management, Royal Horticultural Society certificates and 30 years of hands-on experience. Nicola has been a teacher for 30 years and now runs her own tutoring business.
“By combining our skills and experience, we can bring the fun and excitement of our British flora and fauna to children through nature boxes and bags, but also ensure that it is educational and follows the new 2021 Early Years Foundation Stage Framework (3–5-year-olds) and the National Curriculum (years 1-4).”
Louise contacted the Chamber the day she got back from her holiday and was immediately assigned an adviser, who has helped nurture the business idea.
“I was also able to access online workshops too such as: Thinking of Starting a Business; Writing Your Own Business Plan; Introduction to Marketing; and Getting Started with Finances, to name a few.
“This knowledge and support was invaluable in getting us underway.”
Keely Hancox, Operations Manager of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We often find people coming to us either after their summer holiday, Christmas or a key moment in their life because they have had time to think and have decided they want to start their own business.
“Very often, that is around a passion or interest they have and our team can then help with some of the fundamentals of starting a business to ensure it gets off on the right footing.
“This is a great example of individuals using their creativity and skills to launch a business, which is something we really want to see more of.”