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FACES MAKING BATH BUZZ


Dawn Burden MY SMALL WORLD


Director Dawn on her new café, overcoming setbacks, and adding to the colour of the city


What will you be doing new this year?


It feels like everything we are doing is new at the moment, which is odd when the store is about to celebrate it’s ninth birthday! Opening My Small World Café next to the toy store has added so many brilliant possibilities for us. Having the space for events is so very, very exciting, and we are really looking forward to our supper and cinema nights, quiz nights for older junior school children, author events and indoor gardening club as well as our weekly book clubs. We are also dallying with the idea of a homework club… ●●


What’s feedback on the new café been like so far? It’s been amazing. I think Bath parents are really appreciating having a totally child-friendly café,


but one of the comments we keep receiving is that they can’t believe how good the coffee and food is – which is music to my ears! I spent a lot of time, back when my own children were small, eating very uninspiring food and drinking terrible coffee. If there is one thing parents really deserve (and need), it is an expertly brewed espresso. ●●


How do you intend to grow the business? We want to keep on doing what we are doing, and do it better. We are led by our customers, and we’re always trying to think up ways we can make life easier, more fun and a little bit special for them. ●●


What was the hardest thing about setting up? We first put an offer in on a property to rent in Larkhall, but the landlords


weren’t convinced that we knew enough about what we were doing to accept us as tenants, and turned us down. But in retrospect, this was the best thing that could ever have happened to me. I immediately enrolled on a three-day starting-in- business course, and this may well have been the most valuable three days of my career. Our fledgling idea became a full-blown business plan, and instead of deciding to open a small shop on the outskirts of Bath we decided to take the bull by the horns and open right in the centre of town. Being newbies to the retail world, probably one of our biggest challenges was creating systems for everything – we are still refining the efficacy of how we work now. ●●


Who would you say you most admire within the Bath business world? Actually, it’s my mum, Iris. She was the very first person in Bath to open a full-time day nursery for working parents, back in 1969. It hadn’t really been done here


Creamy Ivy House Farm milk is proving popular with smaller customers


before then, and she developed an amazing ethos and superb working practice from scratch. The staff she trained have gone on to open other nurseries in Bath, using her methodology and high standards. She was also instrumental in creating The Rondo Theatre in Larkhall, and turning it from a village hall into an amazingly vibrant theatre space, and we opened My Small World together when she was in her sixties… She’s a very quiet serial entrepreneur, and was so before the expression had even been coined! ●●


What’s the best thing about your job?


I get to play all day... I also love our team, who are all amazing individuals with a really broad skill set, which is very inspiring. ●●


What’s the best business advice you’ve learned? The customer is king. It’s a cliché because it’s true. People don’t have to shop with us, so if someone chooses to walk through our doors and spend time in the store then that’s a huge compliment which I’ll never take for granted. ●●


The new café is a totally child- friendly place to grab a coffee while the kids play


What do you like about doing business in Bath? It’s my home town. It’s where I was born, so it is a wonderful feeling for me that I can add to the colour and vibrancy of the city. There is a real sense of community, both in the business world and among our customers, too. ●● For more www.mysmallworld.co.uk


74 Bath Life www.mediaclash.co.uk


Dawn learnt much of her business ethos from her mother, Iris


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