Sotiria Spantidea, a busy mother of two, decided to turn her back on her successful IT career in the City to start an online children’s boutique store.
Why I quit my city career to set up Butterfly Occasions …..
My journey into entrepreneurship started as simply an enjoyable hobby, as I loved to search online for unique and unusual items for my children’s bedrooms. I have two little boys aged 3 and aged 5 years old, and like many mothers, I had ideas of the quality and designs I wanted but often couldn’t find them on the high street or from mainstream retailers.
Soon, I realised that I was pretty good at researching and collating ideas, and decided to share them with friends and family. After receiving positive feedback about my choices of toys and furniture, I decided to take the plunge and turn my hobby into a fully-fledged business!
The result is ButterflyOccasions.co.uk, which provides a collection of some of the finest ideas for children, including toys, gifts, furniture and even wallpaper, from the UK and beyond. It is designed to provide the more discerning parent with a one-stop shop for great ideas that aren’t available on the high street and most of the items I stock aren’t available from the big online retailers either.
Most of the furniture is designed by smaller manufacturers and talented individual designers. The furniture in particular, has been chosen for its innovative designs and quality materials, with many items offering fabulous space saving or multi-usage benefits too.
I only handpick the highest quality toys and gifts. To provide additional help for parents, the items can also be categorised by their educational and developmental benefits, as I particularly wanted to help people to better understand which types of toys stimulate different aspects of their child’s development.
As a mum myself, I believe in a real back to basics approach when it comes to children’s play. My mission is to steer children away from the games consoles and gadgets and to encourage them to use their own imaginations to play together and interact with friends and family.
Another important core value is to teach children to care about the world they are growing up in and so I always strive to feature toys, gifts and furniture that are not only beautifully crafted but also environmentally friendly.
I created Butterfly Occasions so that I could help other busy parents to have access to these fabulous products without having to spend hours researching the web like I used to. Having launched Butterfly Occasions just over a year ago, my online boutique is already experiencing lots of website traffic and orders. I’m planning to raise the profile of the business further during 2015, as well as regularly adding new products lines from talented independent designers and suppliers from all over the world.
The biggest challenge however for 2015 will be trying to juggle my business and family life! It’s not an easy thing to do, but I always try to find time to do the things I love and to be with the people I love. I’m trying not to steal the time I spend with my children to do my business as my family comes first. I might be checking emails while I’m doing breakfast and often stay up late working once the kids have gone to bed. I’m happy to leave my city career behind me for now!
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