Our Third Door Winner is Jessica St Clair – Green Families
Jessica has always had a passion for green living and once she became a parent to her son Henry (now 18 months old) she was more determined than ever to help other families live a greener life. She plans to set up Green Families, ampoule a business that will help families – particularly urban families – connect to nature. ?The company will provide awareness, click access, networking and educational activities to promote eco-friendly and holistic living for families throughout London.
The company is still in the very early stages, with Jessica attempting to look after her son and set the business up, all on a shoestring budget. She’s also a recent expat trying to learn her way around a foreign market. Not only will the Third Door space give her the workspace and childcare she needs to get her fledgling idea in motion, but it will also give her the networking opportunities she needs to spread the word amongst other local parents.
We asked Jessica how winning the Third Door prize would change her life. She said:
“It’s not so much how the prize will change my life as much as it will give me one. I currently have no other choice right now but to be Henry’s mother 24 hours of the day, which is great, but means I get no sleep if I want to launch this business. All the other resources out there are not efficient for me to work properly – there is no workspace at home if we hire a babysitter to watch Henry, and there’s nowhere for me to hold meetings other than a public coffee shop. While everyone likes the idea of a small business, they’re sceptical of supporting something that’s run out of Cafe Nero!
“Ultimately, the Third Door prize changes this because it gives me a life – I’ll be able to work in a proper work space, I’ll be able to put Henry in a nursery where he can interact with other kids and without having to commit to a year or a term of nursery fees, and I’ll be able to gain the support and network of a community that is encouraging not only of local businesses, but of those run by women. It would completely change my life.”
Our vision for Third Door is to create a ‘green’ company where recycling is the norm, and where there is no waste. We hope that Jessica can help us create a very environmentally friendly company.
Our five finalists
Gabriela moved to the UK from El Salvador two years ago. A talented graphic designer and illustrator, she started up a company called Gabriela Larios Creative Studio specialized in packaging, illustration and greeting cards. But her sector is highly competitive and fast-moving, and as someone new to the country, she doesn’t have the contacts or network needed to build up her business. What’s more, she has to look after her two year old daughter who she is very nervous about leaving with strangers while she heads out to work. With no family in the country to rely on for childcare, she has to find an alternative solution if she is to make a success of her business and start contributing to the family income. Third Door offers her a space to work with the comfort of having her child close by and well taken care of. And it offers her the chance to meet other parents and business contacts, building the network she needs.
We are planning to put Gabriela’s fantastic work on our ‘art gallery’ in the Office Space this week. Can’t wait!
John Garcia John is currently a TEFL teaching part-time, and helps look after his energetic 10 month old in the afternoons. His wife, a lawyer who works long hours, will shortly be returning to work fulltime. He is about to set up his own translation agency, which will allow him the flexibility of being a ‘stay-at-home-dad’. He and a colleague will not only do translations themselves, but will source contracts and outsource various languages to other translators. But to do this, he needs somewhere he can work when contracts come in, get the business up and running and find clients, while having someone to look after his daughter. As Third Door is just a short walk from where he lives – and only three minutes from his daughter’s favourite park – it’s the ideal location for him to work when he needs to, without giving up his role of being a fulltime dad.
Unfortunately, John could not make the launch party but we met his lovely wife, Sinead. We can’t wait to meet John, especially as he will be one of the first dads to use Third Door facilities!
Having spent 10 years working in public relations in large agencies (her last job saw her running a divisional portfolio of £1.2million managing six staff), Emily decided it was time for a change after having her daughter a year ago. She has set up on her own, providing PR tools and advice to start-ups looking to raise their profile. But like many freelancers working from home, Emily is working from a hastily transformed box room, holding calls while her daughter sleeps and hiding toys if a client comes to her house for a meeting. Emily is desperate to still spend as much time as possible with her young daughter, but needs a professional space to work and some childfree time to get her website set up and clients on board.
Emily is lovely and we hope that Third Door is the answer she’s been looking for to help launch her business!
Japanese Megumi lives in Battersea with her British husband and their 5 year old son and 14 month old daughter. Her mother, Yoko Arimoto, is a well-known Japanese cookery book writer, with more than 100 titles under her belt. This year she launched her first English book – ‘Simply Japanese’. While Megumi has always worked in food-related media, she is now officially in charge of building her mother’s brand of La Base cookware and books in the UK. But she’s struggling to juggle motherhood and the business. She is still breastfeeding her daughter so needs a solution that lets her do this. She’s tried another membership club for families, but they required all under 3s to be supervised, which impacts her ability to get any work done. She believes Third Door will give her the solution she’s after – a great workspace to build the business, while having her daughter near enough for feeds as and when she needs them.
We are also hoping that Megumi can teach us a few signature Japanese dishes, especially as we have a weakness for Japanese food after our visit there four years ago!
A dad to three year old Max, Angus was made redundant. He set up a playgroup called Ruggerbeez (www.ruggerbeez.com) that enabled him to spend quality time with his son but also gave other dad’s something they could do with their children on a Saturday morning. The group provides rugby skills for children aged 2 to 7 that is fun and relaxed, yet organised and professional. The business has a huge amount of potential, with partners like Gilbert coming on board (the only rugby playgroup recognised by Gilbert as being professional enough to partner with). But it’s still a back bedroom operation. Angus wants to use Third Door so that he can work on growing the business, potentially franchising it, while someone looks after Max on site. Several work-from-home mums have joined him and they too will use the space.
Yusuf and I are hoping to send our little munchkin to Ruggerbeez classes inthe summer!
So you can see what a difficult decision we had onour hands in choosing a winner from these amazing entrants. We can’t wait to see their businesses and children grow as they use Third Door!