I was introduced to yoga and meditation in the 70s by my mother. Despite gaining many benefits, I was teased mercilessly by my classmates. I am grateful now for this early introduction to the benefits of relaxation and meditation as without that, I don't think I would have started Relax Kids.
As a children's entertainer in London for 13 years, I spent half my time calming children down as I did entertaining. I noticed over the years a change in behaviour and I wanted to help children relax, concentrate and focus. I researched the area of children's meditation and relaxation and found that there was almost nothing in the UK at that time.
As there was still a great deal of stigma with regards meditation, I hit upon the idea of transforming fairy stories into meditations to help children relax, and in 2001, I wrote some simple meditation stories.
Having found a publisher for my 2 books, I couldn't wait a year for them to be on the shelves and so I used the £45,000 that my mother gave me to buy a flat, to produce a range of CDs. As you can imagine, she was horrified, but I just felt compelled to do it and believed that it was so needed. With very little business experience, I filled my bedroom with hundreds of boxes of CDs, crossed my fingers and started trading October 2003.
For 18 months, I slept in the only available space under my desk, often sleeping 4-5 hours a day as I worked on new ideas and plans for Relax Kids. I moved to Oxford and into Fairytale cottage and was fortunate enough to be awarded Oxfords Best New Business. The prize was an free office for a year. I can't tell you what a great feeling it was to get the CDs out of my house!
Following the office Success, I went on BBC Dragons' Den. Although they didn't understand Relax Kids, it was a wonderful opportunity for national and international exposure. The episode is still aired on some flights to and from the UK!
Alongside selling the products, I started teaching relaxation exercises to a small group of children. I developed a simple 7 step system to teach children to relax with dance and movement, games, stretching, massage, breathing exercises, affirmations and visualisations. After one hour children were relaxed and asleep! Interest was growing throughout the UK for the classes and so I started a training program to allow others to teach the system. To date, i have trained nearly 700 people in over 25 countries as well as running school insets, professional development courses and spoken at conferences.
From my original 3 CDs, we now have a range of over 22 products and I hope to continue the range to cater for adults, teens, babies and toddlers.
IN 2008, I married Stuart who is now the Managing Director for Relax Kids. He writes all the music for CDs, records and edits, designs and programmes the website. As a couple, we live and breathe Relax Kids and are constantly thinking create new ideas for children, families and schools.
Relax Kids has grown almost entirely by word of mouth and I would like to thank all my loyal customers - old and new - many of whom are now friends. Thank you for taking the risk and buying a CD or trying out a relaxation exercise from the website. It is because you did that, that relaxation and meditation are now becoming mainstream.
We have come a long way from the time where I was teased 30 years ago for just learning to relax!