The Curious Mummy Meets Mumpreneur April of Prenderland Books
I love women doing it for themselves so this week I am shining the Mum Boss spot light on April Prendergast of Prenderland Books. April’s passion for supporting children through their reading journey is truly magical; She is inventive, passionate and has bundles of drive. Not only has she come up with some inspiring ways to make reading fun. She has recently produced the Prenderland Alphabet flash cards. April is a Mummy, a Chartered Accountant and Mum Boss too. Her talents do not stop there, as this wonder women is also raising money for two of the most severely injured victims of the Manchester Terrorist Attack, Martin Hibbert and his young daughter Eve. April’s kind hearted nature spurred her onto launching an online Instagram auction where she will be raising money for Martin and his daughter.
There is so much to say about April so I’ll let you enjoy her fabulous interview.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I am mummy to Rosie (2 years 10 months) and Eloise (4 months). I live in a small village called Chapeltown on the outskirts of Manchester and love being involved with the local community. As well as running Prenderland Books I also work as a Chartered Accountant four days a week (although currently on maternity leave!). I love books, walks in the countryside and time with my friends and family.
Tell us about Prenderland Books and what gave you the idea to start?
My inspiration for Prenderland Books came one day when I was tidying Rosie’s bookshelf. She was about 18 months old at the time and already had so many wonderful books – yet there were so many others I wanted to read to her too. It made me think about Book Swaps and the fact that although we know lots of people with children we never say to them “would you like to borrow some of our books and we’ll borrow some of yours?”
It was then that I decided to set up a website to promote the idea of sharing books using book swaps. The content of the website developed overtime and when it launched it included top tips and stationery for Book Swap Play Dates, Book Swap Parties and Book Swap Events. It also included lots of ideas for how to have even more fun with books, free activities to download and a free Book Ladder Challenge.
As well as providing lots of free resources to inspire children to read and have even more fun with books, I now sell some Prenderland products. Our current products are alphabet and number flash cards, alphabet and number mounted wall prints, a height chart wall decal, reward charts with stickers and a range of greeting cards.
Describe your typical day?
I can honestly say that as I am currently on maternity leave with my lovely baby girl Eloise, there is no such thing as a typical day.
Weekends involve spending time with family and friends, going on lots of adventures and having great fun. Most recently we have been to London, Trentham Monkey Forest and Bicester.
On Monday’s we spend the day with Rosie as that is the day she doesn’t go to pre-school. We often end up baking together, doing crafts or playing at the park.
The rest of the week is a real mixture of activities (and rest!). Baby sensory, lunches, swimming, music classes, meeting friends, seeing family, reading, shopping, train rides, trips to the library – we like to keep busy.
The trickiest part of each day is bath time. If anyone has a fantastic method for bathing a toddler and a baby, getting them ready for bed, doing books and the last feed please let me know! I’ve tried lots of different combinations but still haven’t cracked it! It definitely works best when Daddy is at home for bath time too!
What do you think it takes to be a Mum Boss?
This is a really good question. I think the main thing is that you have to believe in yourself and your dreams. Don’t let anyone make you doubt yourself – if you’re enjoying yourself keep going and prove them wrong!
I also think you have to be motivated, organised, be able to prioritise tasks and more importantly – know when to say “No”. There have been too many times when I have agreed to do things that I should really have said no too. I didn’t really have the time but the guilt kicked in so I said yes! Saying no isn’t a bad thing, it just helps you get done what needs to get done.
What would you say the most important thing is in running an online business? What has been the greatest lesson you have learnt?
For me the most important thing is knowing your audience. This can be quite tricky when you are running a business online as you don’t have that same face-to-face interaction which usually helps you to build relationships.
The greatest lesson I have learnt is to tell your story, not try to sell. If you tell people what you are about and what you are trying to achieve they are more likely to want to come along on the journey with you.
How do you find the balance between running a successful business and raising a family?
It is very difficult to get the balance right and something I am definitely still working on. I spend too much time on Prenderland social media on my phone when I am with the girls and this is something I need to get better at. I need to set aside allocated “Prenderland” time during my week and stick to it.
Who are your Mumspirations?
The lovely Nicky Raby has been a massive support to me, she is brilliant at what she does and wears so many different hats. She does amazingly to juggle everything.
Anna (aka Mother Pukka) is also a true inspiration and I love everything she does for Flex Appeal. Without flexible working I wouldn’t be able to do what I do and spend so much time with my girls. It is so important for businesses to be flexible and I hope there will be lots more of it in years to come.
Izzy Judd is an incredibly inspiring person too. Her book “Dare to Dream” is written so honestly from the heart. She has been very brave to share her story and is helping so many other people that are struggling with fertility, IVF and miscarriage. She is a very lovely person too with a kind heart.
After work, how do you find time to relax?
A good film and a glass of red wine. Perfect!
What are your top five tips for starting a business?
- Decide what you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it
- Believe in yourself and your ideas. Dream big!
- Develop a strong brand – logo etc. and keep it consistent across your different platforms
- Ask for help when you need it, it is impossible to be an expert in all areas. You will have your strengths but you will also have things you struggle with. A great way of getting help is to collaborate with others.
- Do something you enjoy!
Can you recommend your all-time favourite childrens book?
This is the hardest question of all – there are so many that I love!
I think my childhood favourite has to be Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. I love all of his books but I particularly like this one because of how close the family are!
I also used to really enjoy reading the Famous Five Books, Judy Bloom Books and the fantastic books by Dick-King Smith (Sheep-Pig was a particular favourite)
Now that I have two little girls myself I have developed a very strong love for picture books. My absolute favourite is Julia Donaldson’s Paper Dolls. The rhythm of the book is wonderful and it is such a heart-warming yet sad story.
If you would like to find out more about April, Prenderland Books and her amazing online auction, please click on the links below.