Women in Business: Interview with Louise Hayton

Louise Hayton and Vanessa Andreassen both run Baby & Toddler Destinations Adelaide. We caught up with Louise to tell us a bit about herself and Baby & Toddler Destinations Adelaide.

Tell us a bit about yourself
The last 3 years for me have been the most defining of my life so far. I’m a Mum to 2 year old twins, Ava and Angus. Prior to having the twins, I was a Banker and worked in Private Bank for one of the major banks.

If I were to describe myself, I would say that I am a people person, an extrovert, an overachiever, a problem solver and at times quite wickedly cynical. I am also intensely private, which in many ways contradicts how I just described myself and really why I am writing this at all. I often think that I am not like everyone else, but honestly, I don’t want to be.

I’ve had Multiple Sclerosis since 2007 and while it does not define me, it does answer a lot about why I do what I do. As far as I’m concerned the clock is ticking and I want to live my life to the full and achieve what I want to achieve now, because you never know what tomorrow might bring. I’m lucky enough to have an incredibly supportive husband and amazing
friends who help make my ideas a reality, even when they border on pure insanity.

Tell us about your business
My business with my friend Vanessa Andreassen (who also is a mother to twins) is called Baby & Toddler Destinations Adelaide. We are a site that shares amazing places to go to with your baby or toddler that are safe, fun and as stress free as possible.

We thought it would be fabulous if we shared the places that we went to with other Adelaide parents via Facebook, as there was nothing else available that was specific to babies and toddlers.

Baby & Toddler Destinations started when our twins were 13 and 15 months old, but the initial work started when our twins were much younger. Vanessa and I, plus a small team of Adelaide mums and dads have put in hundreds of hours and kilometres exploring and creating our database.

It appears that other Adelaide parents were also looking for the same information, and our site has become successful beyond our wildest dreams. Only one year on we have 5400 followers and are in the process of building a website to display and make our database searchable.

We have received so many thank yous from mums, dads and grandparents who say how much their lives have been made easier with our site and that they love to get out an explore Adelaide with their little ones. We are often approached at parks and places by other parents saying that they love our site too.

I think my biggest personal successes from this site is that not only have my babies and my friends babies had the best 2 years exploring Adelaide, I can see the results of the site for myself all of the time and it makes me glad that I pushed through and forced myself to keep going psychically, when so often I didn’t know how I could possibly get through. This site signifies to me what is possible when you try and refuse to stop. It makes me smile, it helps me focus on enjoying each day. I love encouraging other parents to do the same.

What has been your biggest challenge so far?
In August 2014 we coordinated and held a free Baby and Toddler Festival in Victoria Square called A Little Day Out, sponsored by Splash Adelaide. It was the first time that we had ever done event planning and in the early planning stages we were warned that we would not be likely to get more than 500 people.

We took that as a personal challenge to market our event everywhere we could. It became evident as soon as our event page went live that we were going to have a lot more than 500 people. On the day, incredibly we had approximately 10,000 people come! From a business perspective the event was a huge success. Every food truck, cafe’ and market stall sold out (when we booked them we told them we could not promise anything, so it was awesome). The feedback from these businesses was excellent and we had no injuries over the course of the day. So many people sent us positive feedback about how they’d had the best day out with their families and friends. Once again it is thanks to my incredible husband, Vanessa and her husband, and our friends and family that the day was a success.

What advice can you give someone wanting to start their own business?
This is not an easy question to answer, as a business banker it can be hard to take the banker hat off…. I’ll try without it on…

You can’t succeed if you don’t 100% believe in what you are doing. So know exactly why you are going into the venture that you are going into. For me this was 2 fold – offer a service to the community and help myself be fit, strong and active for as long as possible. I am sure that Vanessa would answer this in a completely different way, but it doesn’t matter what the answer is as long as you know why.

Once you know the why, you can work out the how.

Oh and if you don’t like people and customer service, just don’t have a customer service business.

What is your business or personal motto?
Business motto – focus on the positive, ignore the negative and do no harm – We decided from the start that we would just not discuss at all the places that were not suitable, as it would make our site cluttered and a bad review can be crippling to a small business.

My personal motto? Ha ha that’s personal.

How can people get involved in your business?
Like our Facebook Page please… *wink*

Explore Baby & Toddler Destinations Adelaide’s Facebook page and be sure to follow them to stay updated on the latest destinations and events.

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