New Houghton mum enjoys bags of success

Nicky Wheeler, back right, pictured with her children Alex Chantry, back left, Harrison Chantry, front left and Archie Chantry, and the picture bags she is producing.
Nicky Wheeler, back right, pictured with her children Alex Chantry, back left, Harrison Chantry, front left and Archie Chantry, and the picture bags she is producing.

A NEW Houghton mum who makes picture bags for children to help them develop their literacy and numeracy skills has been nominated for a business award.

Nicky Wheeler (40) stumbled upon her new career while helping children with their reading and writing in her son’s class at Pleasley’s Anthony Bek Primary School.

When a teacher asked if she would make up a picture bag - a large cotton bag containing a children’s favourite book which pupils could relate to from the picture on the outside - Nicky suddenly found her creative side.

“My youngest child wasn’t settling well in school and my presence wasn’t helping him to be independent so I worked from home and started making the picture bags,” she said.

“I did a very simple bag to begin with and the school liked it and asked me to do more. The more bags I did the more creative I got with the pictures that went on the bags.”

The Rock & Rubble sacks soon proved popular with children, parents and staff and schools from across Mansfield and beyond began ordering them by word of mouth and then on eBay.

“Lots of people kept urging me to sell them and that I should start my own business,” added Nicky.

“It all seemed very daunting at the time but with very little education behind me I knew job prospects would never be great so I spoke with the job centre and they encouraged me to go for it.

“I’ve been selling the bags for almost a year and I’ve never been without an order and I work from home which means I’m around for my four children which is a great bonus.

“I’d also encourage other mums who think they can’t work because their kids are at school that they can earn money doing things they enjoy, be it card making, sewing or jewellery.”

Nicky is helped with the business venture by her daughter Siobhan and they have now been nominated for the fourth annual Mumsclub Business Mum’s Awards.

“It is an exceptional way to celebrate how far we have come as a company,” added Siobhan.

Jane Hopkins MBE, founder of MumsClub, says: “Being nominated by a fellow mum in business is a huge accolade in itself and I hope all those nominated are incredibly proud.”

Go to http://rockandrubble.weebly.com/ for more information.