Wendy Shand, award-winning mumpreneur and founder of Tots to Travel has achieved a lot of success since she started her business.
Wendy won the Mother@work Best Mumpreneur Award 2007, the Enterprisenation Home Business of the Year Award 2007 and the BT Essence of the Entrepreneur Award 2007. She was also shortlisted as a regional finalist in the 2008 HSBC Start-Up Stars awards.
She is also featured in an episode of BBC2’s Money Programme (broadcast date 8th August 2008) in a special programme looking at the rise of mumpreneurs. In the programme, Wendy and other mumpreneurs discuss how they’ve managed to achieve business success. The show, presented by Saira Khan (pictured, with Wendy), gives aspiring mumpreneurs insight into what it takes to set up and run a successful business.
Wendy is also expected to be featured in two national papers this week: The Times on Thursday 7 August in an article on married couples who work together and The Saturday Telegraph on 9 August in a feature on deckchair decisions, in which Wendy explains how a family holiday prompted the idea for her business. Jointly, the publicity will boost awareness of the rapidly growing travel company run by a mum from her home.
Wendy, mum of two, decided to set up the company after a near catastrophe when her two-year-old son fell into an unprotected swimming pool on a family holiday.
She had spotted a gap in the holiday market and established Tots to Travel. The concept is to offer holiday accommodation that includes all the baby and child-related kit parents take for granted at home, especially safety features such as stair gates and enclosed pools.
Other services include home-cooked meals, English-speaking babysitters and information about local events, sights and attractions with family-appeal.
The online business, totstofrance.co.uk, launched in 2006 with just nine properties on their books. There are now nearly 50, all carefully vetted to enable Wendy and her staff to match clients with the most suitable holiday home.
In January 2008, totstoitaly.co.uk was added and there is now a team of marketing agents in both countries sourcing and vetting new properties and providing local back-up.
While obviously appealing to parents, the business is also attractive to homeowners who can tap into a new rental market of families who choose to travel outside peak holiday times.
The company specialises in providing accommodation to meet the very specific needs of families with babies and young children. All properties are fully equipped with a range of child-related equipment and safety features. Many of the properties also provide English-speaking babysitters and home cooked meals.
Tots to Spain will be launched in October 2008, with other roll outs planned for the UK, Ireland and the Balearic Islands.