November 21, 2021
‘I used my skills to start my own business’
Lottie Trump, 35, is a teacher turned entrepreneur. She lives in Dorset with her husband Ben, 32, and is expecting their first child.
When I announced to family and friends in July 2019 I was leaving my career as a primary school teacher, with no job to go to, the reactions were mixed. Loved ones were confused, especially when teaching had always been my dream.
But after 11 years in the classroom, I felt unfulfilled and my life was consumed by my job. For a decade, I’d been teaching at a preparatory boarding school, and although I loved seeing the children flourish, being a ‘house parent’ as well as a teacher meant I only left work once or twice a week, and every other weekend. I was in my early 30s and couldn’t shake off the feeling that there was something else out there I could be doing with my skills.
By the summer of 2019 it felt like a ‘now or never’ moment: if I didn’t make the leap out of teaching, I never would. The only problem was I didn’t really know what I wanted to leap into. With Ben’s support, I quit my job anyway and started work as a private tutor to continue bringing in an income while I worked out my next step.
When the pandemic struck, and families all over the country were home-schooling their children, I was busier than ever tutoring, and by then had employed a team of teachers to cope with demand. Parents were asking for extra work they could do with their children between our sessions, and I realised there was a gap in the market for maths provision for younger children. Something that would provide daily reinforcement of the basics, in small chunks that children could handle, and all in a screen-free format.
Ben – who was working as a teacher at the time – and I began to design a product, along with the tutors who were working for me, and my company Cubie () was born. It’s an early years and Key Stage 1 maths programme, in the form of a monthly subscription box. Child-friendly, it has workbooks, a guide for parents, a reward poster and stickers and practical resources like a pencil, ruler and counters. It is the maths equivalent of reading for 15 minutes every day.
After months of market research and planning, in September this year I sent out the first subscription boxes. It’s early days but the feedback from families has been fantastic, and Ben has also left teaching to work with me running the business. We invested our savings to get the company off the ground so it really has been a joint leap of faith in many ways.
To know I’ve taken my passion for educating and my teaching skills, and used them to create something new that helps children and parents, feels wonderful. Running my own business is so different to being a cog in the bigger machine that is a school – and I love it.