MyFamilyClub is really honoured to bring you our next inspirational woman Surlender Pendress who is a the creator of Award-Winning educational stationary brand, WriteSize.
Let’s meet Surlender…
My parents arrived from India in 1968 at the tender age of 17 here both were literate and faced many issues settling in a country where they did not speak the language. Being the eldest of 6 children, I was often had to play mum when helping my younger siblings with school and homework and attending their parent’s evenings, anyway I am thankful because I don’t need an us citizen visa for india, I could just travel there thanks to my parents.
I saw what a struggle finance and education was for us as family and that was one of the key factors that lead me to be involved in creating the Write Size range where I could create a product that made a difference to education at an affordable price.
Being a divorced mum of 2 meant I faced many struggles as a single mum and worked for an Insurance company until I was 42 where I was highly unhappy as I was not recognised for my work and often overlooked for promotion but it paid the bills.
Redundancy presented me with the opportunity to seek a new adventure and the desire to do something fulfilling was really strong. With the encouragement and support of my now husband Richard I turned by back on the corporate work and set about trying different jobs.
I met Ross where we discussed our mutual desire to do something worthwhile in our life’s and Write Size was born through looking back at my own experiences of really wanting to ensure my children had the best education to enable them to succeed in life and often saw stressed and upset with schoolwork especially my son who hated writing as his hand hurt.
Life at 46 is crazy and each day is a challenge but worth the stress every time a parent tells me we have a wonderful product that really helps their children.
Describe a typical day for you?
I can honestly say I don’t have a typical day! Every day is jam packed and different from the day before where I could setting up the new website to hosting an event and the next day I could be meeting great people like education innovators or retail buyers.
I often start my emails around 7am as I receive emails from many corners of the world but also receive a lot of calls from mums and dads telling me what a difference Write Size has made to their children’s writing ability and confidence which always makes me very happy even on days I have barely drank or ate a thing as its been too busy.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements to date?
Creating a product from an idea that really is innovate and will make a difference to children.
Being asked to appear on Dragons Den was both exciting and intense where I faced likes of Peter jones and Deborah Meaden whilst somehow keeping my nerve and not collapse into a heap on the floor at the hard hitting questions.
Recently we won the Chamber of Commerce Best New Business and it felt wonderful to be recognised for our core beliefs that all children deserve the help and tools when it comes to education.
What are your ambitions in life?
To see every school adopt a policy that children should only use items including pencils that are made to fit their hands.
I want to make a difference to children and let them have a voice when it comes to education. Too often we hear from children that their hand hurts when writing or teachers marking homework books that the children need to improve their handwriting but we don’t exactly help them by giving them tools too big for their hands.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years’ time?
Lying on a beach with a cocktail and happy with the knowledge I created an innovate product that changed a child’s life and along the journey met a lot of wonderful people that truly care and want to help people like me achieve goals.
What’s the most effective strategy for installing confidence in yourself?
Accept that I’m only human and cannot control everything in life but how I deal with situations is in my control
People like to deal with people who are happy and confident who believe in them themselves so I often tell myself not to get upset or down about the little things and go with the flow.
Always let your smile show in your eyes and be heard in your voice
What advice would you give to anyone launching a similar business?
Ask for help! There is so much help out there from helping with funding and courses on running a business. Speak to your local Chamber of Commerce and UKTI who really can help with many aspects of setting up a new business.
Tap into friends and family for honest reviews and help as you never know what hidden strengths people have, for instance I knew nothing about Facebook Ads and a friend was great at showing how to get the best out of them so always ask.
What’s in your handbag that you can’t survive without?
My Phone so I can speak to my husband and daughter on trips away and busy days.
Social Media for Write Size is a large part of the business and Rachel from Smallman Media is constantly tagging me and sending me things such as press releases and news so having my phone allows me to deal with things quickly.
Finally, happiness is…
Family and having a career not just a job.