Meet Jenny Teale: mother, entrepreneur and supporter of women.
Why You Should Know Her
Jenny is the founder of Bambeenies, award winning multi-sensory play classes for babies and children aged 0-3 which run in Shetland and Aberdeenshire. Aimed at empowering parents, her classes help parents bond with their children in a fun, engaging environment while encouraging developmental skills.
In August 2016 she hosted Shetland’s first baby and children’s show, a showcase for services and businesses across the isles. She also runs dance classes for children of all ages across Shetland and has recently established Shetland Women in Business – a support network for women in business in the isles to encourage support and collaboration.
Jenny balances this with being a mother, to her three children aged 14, 13 and 11. She has spoken openly about her experiences of postnatal depression and ill health, which is no mean feat in a small community. She is a huge inspiration in terms of being an honest working mother, going for your dreams and supporting others along the way.
You’ve spoken quite honestly about your struggles with postnatal depression, on your Bambeenies blog and other places. Did you find that difficult, and what made you want to speak out?
I did find it very scary the first time I put out my blog on my experiences with post natal depression. As an anxiety sufferer too, I had run through so many scenarios of people not being accepting, not wanting to come to my classes anymore, thinking I was not up to my job, that I was a failure… but the reality was very different.
“It’s so important for people to share their experiences with mental health and talk to each other”
How long have you worked for yourself?
For almost 4 years. I’ve always wanted to run my own classes since having my own children, a friend gave me a little push and helping hand a few years ago, I knew I would never go back!
How do you find being a mum and owning your own business?
I’ve found it very challenging. Especially to start with when I was having to put in a lot of hours to get it started. I love that I can take time when it’s needed, for school holidays, concerts, trips out or if they are sick. But I do have to work nights at dance classes and work late to catch up with paperwork which I feel guilty about. But I keep telling myself that I’m showing them that hard work pays off and that they can do anything they put their minds to.
What do you find the most challenging part of balancing having children with work?
Getting the balance right, and I know I don’t always get it right. I feel like I’m juggling sometimes, my own health (because I don’t keep well), kids, work, my husband and just being me! The ‘me’ ball generally drops first! I’m working on this for 2017. It’s my goal to make sure I get a better balance.
What are the best things about your job?
The best thing is getting to do a job that you absolutely love! It doesn’t feel like a job when it’s a passion. And I hope I’m inspiring my children to strive for a living that they are passionate about and love to do.
Are there bits you don’t enjoy?
I’m not great with the admin side and accounts. It’s been a steep learning curve the last year or so since I took everything over myself but I’m getting there and feel proud of myself for learning so many new skills.
What does a typical day look like?
I get up and make sure the kids are ready for school. If I have classes I’ll have prepped the night before and packed the car so I can head straight to the venue. If I only have evening classes, I’ll spend the day working through admin tasks, preparing for that night’s classes, researching and developing further classes and ideas, doing accounts and invoices (not as often as I should!), social media planning and posting and any website updating.
What’s next for Bambeenies? (Or do you have any exciting things lined up you want to share?)
What’s next for Bambeenies…! Now that’s a good question. I’ve got so many new ideas I don’t know where to start! Firstly we are looking at expanding classes in some other areas in Shetland. Then in May it’s our 1 year birthday bash to celebrate our rebrand to Bambeenies! We have so many exciting plans for that but I’ll not ruin the surprise. Then our second Baby and Children Show in September. I’m also looking at further training in possibly baby yoga, pediatric first aid or a few other ideas!
As well as Bambeenies and the dance classes you’ve recently started Shetland Women in Business alongside virtual admin assistant Allison Christie. What motivated you to do that, and what are your hopes for the group?
Shetland Women in Business was something I wanted to do quite early on in starting my own business, but I wasn’t sure how to do it or really what I wanted it to be. I met Allison from Tick the List at a training course and we then started working together, and both realised quite quickly that we had the same passion to start a group to support women like ourselves in business. Really, it’s a space to look for support, build each other up, bounce ideas around, and make friends that are in the same boat.
“I hope that we can create a little community where women in business can empower and support each other.
“I hope that we can create a little community where women in business can empower and support each other. We’d like to have get-togethers – even if it’s just a cuppa and chat to more informative meetings with speakers and information that will help us all grow as individuals and as business women.
Do you have any tips or advice for other mothers thinking about being their own boss?
Make sure you are ready for a serious amount of hard work and sleepless nights. It’s a bit like taking on another baby! I’ve often called my business ‘my baby’. But just like kids, it’s definitely all worth it!
What woman (or women) inspires you?
I have many inspiring women around me, from mummies who enter my classes each day, to family members like my mum, aunties and grannies. All have inspired me and made me who I am today by passing their passions for many things like writing (from my Granny Rhoda Bulter [who was a poet], dancing from my Auntie Caroline. Then there’s parenting and many other skills from my Mum (although she’d argue that there are quite a few I haven’t managed to learn from her yet… like sewing – sorry Mum ha ha!)
“I learnt bravery from my husband Kevin’s mum, who battled her illness with dignity, bravery and love. She was an extremely strong women who taught me never to give up .Then there are women who I’ve met along my way, like the wonderful Malawi women I met in Africa who changed my outlook on life. These women had so little but were gracious, inventive, caring and full of happiness for what they did have. It was truly inspiring.
I’m sure the normal answer would be to pick one of the hugely inspiring women from our past, but I have so many inspiring women closer to my door that I feel deserve to be acknowledged.