Having worked for large companies in health and safety management for most of her career, Sue Shackleton was suddenly faced with redundancy at the age of 53.
Sue had spent the last 14 years at QinetiQ (a technology company) where she was a facilities manager, dealing with building maintenance and staff premises for 2,000 employees. Following redundancy in April 2012, Sue was keen for a change of direction. She decided to work with her brother Roger in his new business – selling clocks that help children learn to tell the time.
Roger lives in Australia and 20 years ago he observed the struggle his daughter had learning to tell the time using normal clocks. He designed a clock face and a simple teaching method to help her. Its success made him realise there was a need for clocks to help children learn to tell the time more easily. It took 20 years for the idea to develop into a business, but in late 2012 the brother & sister pair took delivery of their first batch of EasyRead Time Teacher clocks in the UK & Australia. The products proved to be a hit and despite the distance, Sue and Roger have gone on to develop a successful business together, selling clocks around the world.
As this was Sue’s first business venture, Sue attended a ‘Preparing to Run your Own Business’ course run by The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME). The course was pivotal in helping Sue and her brother put together their business plan and costings. Prime also provided a business mentor to help with any questions and advice that Sue needed in setting up the business.
“PRIME were fantastic, the course they provided was great in helping my brother and I put together a business plan and prepare for the launch of our new business EasyRead Time Teacher.”
EasyRead Time Teacher Ltd was formed as a UK registered company in 2013. To help finance the business and start the ball rolling, Sue used her redundancy money and took a part time job. She also contacted her local authority, Malvern Hills District Council, for a business start-up grant of £500, which she received. Sue continues to attend events run by PRIME and other business support groups, to network with other business owners, promote her business and build up contacts.
Since its launch 18 months ago, EasyRead Time Teacher Ltd has grown and is now starting to show profit; enough to start earning a living. The clocks are available in Australia, UK, Europe & the USA. They are sold online, direct from the company website and other outlets such as Amazon and eBay.