Today we have Joyce with us from Talk First Baby Signing. Joyce, can you tell us which area you cover with your business please?
Yes of course. I cover Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre.
Oh right, ok. What exactly does it involve?
It is lots of fun for babies from 0 up to about 2 ½ years and we teach them basic sign language. I know that sounds a bit strange but babies, their non verbal communication skills develop long before their vocal skills so if you can teach them basic signs, for example “drink, food” or something like that then they are able to communicate with you which makes for a happier baby, happier parents and cuts out a lot of the frustrations. It is all done with puppets and nursery rhymes, songs, instruments that sort of thing. It is all good fun.
That sounds fantastic. How did you actually get into that, what made you go down that route and how long ago was it?
Right, I actually started my classes in June, at the beginning of June now. I had been looking into it though since last September. I have been a Secretary for over 30 years which is too long, and I was having problems with my wrist, RSI problems so while I was off sick I thought maybe I should be looking to do something else. I actually have the sign language skills anyway and just happened to see a poster. I got in touch with them and it is all history from there.
Wow, so you kind of fell into that route after years and years doing something completely different? Must be a nice change?
Yes, it is and it is much more fun as well.
Can I ask, a lot of people think that setting up a business is always expensive. Was that the case for yourself?
It wasn’t too bad no. It is a franchise that I have bought into so the main costs have been £4,000-£5,000 but that is absolutely everything. You get absolutely everything given to you, all the puppets, you get the training, all the instruments and everything so it is all there, all set up for you. Fantastic.
Yes, I bet it is. It must be quite nice that the Head Office have learnt their lessons along the way and they have passed everything onto yourselves?
Yes. It is. There are quite a few of us around.
So anyway, when you were getting started, with taking on another franchise, did you use any sort of outside resources or did you tend to go mainly from what you were given by them?
I had quite a few contacts that I could draw on from my previous work experience so I used that and my partner is actually self employed himself so I was able to draw on his experience, and also lots and lots of support from Head Office so really good.
Sure, obviously myself I juggle working with a 5 year old, is it the same with you. Do you juggle work around a family?
Obviously the family is around but I don’t have any little ones, my daughter is 20 now so although she is still around and at Uni she is actually helping me out with the classes if she is not at Uni so that is really good.
So it is kind of quality time together, doing something that you both enjoy? Sounds nice.
So obviously you have told us that there is a franchise of the business and there are people in several areas so that is great, that is very useful to know. Do you have a website personally?
There is a website, it is the main website which is www.talkfirst.net and you can find me on there under the tutors if you have a look for Joyce Jones then you can find me there. It gives you a page with all my details and where my classes are. It is all there for you. It gives you my contact details as well.
OK, great, now obviously as you know we are called What’s Good To Do so it wouldn’t be right before letting you go to not ask you what you like doing in your spare time to rewind and relax, if you do actually get any spare time?
I do get spare time. I like to go shopping with my daughter. As I say my partner has his own business which actually is a wine tasting business so I do get involved with that, obviously with it being wine we have lots of wine around all of the time, so we enjoy that, we enjoy good food and good wine.
That sounds like a real hardship, wine tasting. Great, OK well thank you so much Joyce for talking to us today. It has been great and I am sure out listeners will find it really useful.
Thank you for talking to me. Thank you very much.