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Enterprising Mums Launch Picture Perfect New Baby Business in South Shields

Kelly and I both believe that we couldn’t possibly have got this far without Nicky and TEDCO supporting us every single step of the way Hayley Dixon

Two enterprising women from Jarrow are giving new mothers the chance to get an early peek at their little ones with a revolutionary new pregnancy scan service, thanks to help from the Start & Grow programme, delivered by TEDCO Business Support, and finance through Virgin StartUp.

Kelly Thompson (33) and Hayley Dixon (29) have launched Baby I Love You, a unique 3D and 4D scanning studio based in Cookson House, South Shields. The ultramodern scanning equipment comes direct from Los Angeles and will give expectant mothers the chance to see their little bundle of joy up to 30 weeks before the baby’s due date.

Baby I Love You has been launched following a £25,000 low-cost business loan via Virgin StartUp. The loan helped to fund the high-tech equipment, bespoke fit-out of new premises and the chance for Kelly and Hayley to receive hands-on training from the best professional sonographers in London.

Kelly comments: “Hayley and I have four children between us and our experiences when receiving scans during our pregnancies varied hugely. We know how much mums and dads look forward to seeing their baby during the three and five month growth scans but it’s not always possible to get the best image during the sessions and in some cases, they can be over very quickly. We know first hand how disappointing this can be for parents eager to see their baby once again.”

Kelly, a former dental nurse for 10 years and Hayley, who works in the banking sector, were looking at ways to bring together enjoyable experiences for new mothers with a new business opportunity when they came up with the concept for Baby I Love You.

Kelly continues: “We looked into the training and equipment required to successfully deliver the kind of scanning service we wanted and we began to see how we could use our own experiences during our pregnancies to create a more rounded service, which offered something a bit different to potential customers.

“We see ourselves as a complimentary service to the NHS medical scans and have welcomed NHS sonographers to also join the Baby I Love You team to strengthen our service. Our packages are tailored towards people who want some reassurance that all is ok with their baby before the three month mark, learn the gender or perhaps want a clearer and more accurate picture of the baby with a 3D or 4D scan which is not available on the NHS.”

The entrepreneurs have developed a range of packages for new mothers, which can be arranged direct or as a gift experience for expectant parents. They range from reassurance scans from 10 weeks to gender scans at 16 weeks and 3D and 4D scans available right up until 32 weeks. The team also have a range of VIP extras, including a baby shower experience with catering options.

Hayley adds: “We try to make the scanning process more of a celebratory event in our contemporary studio which has been designed specifically to make women feel comfortable. We also have a unique gift range offering pictures, DVDs and a baby heartbeat bear, which records the heartbeat in the womb to act as a comforting toy to aid sleep when the baby is born.

Kelly and Hayley worked with TEDCO Business Support via the Start & Grow programme to help make Baby I Love You a reality. The start up support agency introduced the duo to Nicky Gray as their personal business advisor to help get the business investment ready for launch.

Hayley comments: “I can’t thank Nicky enough for everything she did to get us to this point. As a business owner herself, Nicky has the experience and skills to work tirelessly in helping us not only refine our business plan and teach us the basics of running an enterprise, but also help in sourcing premises and getting the business ready to successfully apply for the Virgin StartUp loan which was essential to our launch. Kelly and I both believe that we couldn’t possibly have got this far without Nicky and TEDCO supporting us every single step of the way.”

Kelly comments: “We have now launched and our faith in the business concept has been rewarded with a very busy order book for January. Clearly there is a demand for the type of service we offer and we are looking ahead with excitement to a new year as business owners for the first time.”

Nicky Gray, business advisor at TEDCO Business Support comments; “Kelly and Hayley had a very interesting business concept and their extensive market research had already shown a demand for the kind of scanning service they intended to offer. As mothers themselves, they knew how they wanted to deliver their service and in what kind of environment, but having never run a business before, they needed help with the administrative side of launching a start-up. I worked with them on very much a one-to-one basis through the start and grow programme to give them the support and guidance they needed. As their confidence grew, the business really took shape.

“I’m absolutely delighted that Baby I Love You is now up and running and I’m looking forward to continuing our working relationship as I help Kelly and Hayley through the next stage of their start-up journey.”

Under the Start & Grow scheme Hayley and Kelly received 43 hours of support and advice, 1 days training, and leveraged finance for the business of £31,800.

Hayley and Kelly received business support and advice through TEDCO.

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