Gemma & Charlotte interview inspirational women Maryhan Baker as part of MyFamilyClub’s Inspirational & Aspirational content series.
Dr. Maryhan Baker is a psychologist with over 10 years experience working with children and the founder of Brainboost, an educational subscription box for 2-12 year old children on a mission to bring families together learning through play.
The idea for Brainboost came to Maryhan all the way back in 2008 when her children were still very young and she used to run ‘mummy and me’ play groups in her home. Every week Maryhan would raid her children’s toy box and create new ways to play with everyday toys like shape sorters, stacking cups, wooden trains, and whatever else she could get her hands on. Parents loved coming to these sessions and would often tell her how much they had learnt themselves about their own children through play.
This became the start of a passion for play and Maryhan’s mission to get more parents back on the floor encouraging their children to learn through play. It took her nearly seven years before she realised her vision but Brainboost is now delivering new games and activities every month to children all over the UK, Europe, and the US.
Describe a typical day for you?
I’m an early riser so I wake up at 5am make myself a cup of coffee then go out for a long walk with my two Labradors, Coco and Grace, to get some head space. I often come up with my best ideas when I’m out on our walks. Then it’s getting children to school and into the office. I’m lucky to have an office space at home too so some days I don’t leave the house, but I always get dressed for work, I think it’s important for setting the right mindset, I always make sure to have the best office national filing cabinets at home because it helps me to get organized. I typically spend 2 days a week working directly with children, two days creating new games and activities, and two days on paperwork, which leaves me Sunday as my day off. Wherever I am and whatever I’m doing I always like to eat my evening meal with the children and talk about their day. My children are older now at 13, and 16 years but I think they need me now more than ever. We talk about friendships, parties, clothes, and what’s trending on social media. I always go to bed with a book, although some days it’s a struggle to read just one page before I’m asleep and then the routine starts all over again!
What do you feel are your biggest achievements to date?
To be honest I think my children are my two biggest achievements. They are my loyalist fans and so accepting of the various balls I juggle on a daily basis. Workwise I feel a huge sense of achievement to have found something I’m passionate about, which I can also earn a living from. It’s something which I am grateful for each and every day.
What are your ambitions in life?
My biggest ambition is to see Brainboost become a truly global subscription box company bringing fun and learning to children’s lives all over the world. I’m so passionate about the power of play and allowing children to stay young for longer. To have played a small part in this would be an amazing achievement.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years’ time?
I’d like to think I’d have my foot off the gas relaxing somewhere sunny but my friends would probably say I would never be able to sit still long enough! I do like to be busy so I suspect I will be still working on something to do with children and play, whether it’s still with Brainboost I’m not sure.
What’s the most effective strategy for installing confidence in yourself?
It can be really tough when you are running your own business, particularly at the beginning when you are on your own. I always make a point of focusing on all I have achieved each day, week, month, rather than what I have yet to do. I also start each day by writing down three things I’m grateful for as a reminder of all which is already great in life, this gives so much confidence to tackle whatever the day has in store. Being kind to yourself is key.
What advice would you give to anyone launching a similar business?
Just do it, be brave, take the plunge and give it a go. If you don’t try you’ll always be wondering what if. Subscription, as a business model, is very popular and profitable. We all busier than ever and anything which makes our lives easier will be marketable. Make sure you do your research, ask your potential customers whether they would pay for your service, how much they would pay, and what they would expect. To create a profitable business you need to keep your customers at the heart of everything you do.
What’s in your handbag that you can’t survive without?
I’m a little embarrassed to say it’s my mobile – I’d be lost without it! I check work emails and Brainboost’s social media channels all the time, which is so bad but I really struggle to switch off as I’m so passionate about what we do. I make a point to personally answer as many emails and social media comments as I can as I feel it’s important to stay in touch with our subscribers.
Finally, happiness is…
Sat in front of a roaring fire with my children, eating chocolate and watching a great film with our dogs.
Brainboost Box is an O2 Business Ambassador.