(l to r) Rebecca Riley of Kalma Baby and Jamie Ollivere of RTC with (front) Laura Horsley and daughter Ava
A North East entrepreneur’s business is set to grow nationally after expanding throughout the region.
Sunderland-based Kalma Baby was launched by Rebecca Riley in 2014 to offer mother and baby yoga classes.
Since the launch, Rebecca has built up a network of 14 franchisees across the North East, from North Northumberland to Darlington – with further expansion now planned.
In the next 12 months Kalma Baby franchises will begin operating in several locations throughout Yorkshire, while discussions are also underway to take the business into London.
The company runs baby, toddler and junior yoga groups, baby developmental massage classes and yoga classes for pre and postnatal mothers. It also works with schools to offer classes designed to ease anxiety and stress among pupils.
Kalma Baby’s success has been aided by business support company RTC North, which provided grant funding and expertise through its Innovation Pathway programme to help Rebecca to grow her company via digital marketing.
RTC director Jamie Ollivere says: “Rebecca has harnessed a personal passion to build a business that taps into growing demand for both baby yoga and flexible ways of making a living among busy parents. She quickly recognised that the franchising model was much better suited to the company than employing full-time staff, and her decision has paid off.”
Yoga is increasingly being recognised as an alternative therapy for common ailments among babies and children, like colic and constipation, but Rebecca says there is also a benefit for parents.
She explained: “When children come along there is often a necessity for mums to work flexibly, especially given the astronomical cost of childcare. They can miss out on lots of things with their children if they work nine-to-five, and therefore there is huge demand for career opportunities like ours. Of course, we have strict criteria for franchisees, while we also give them a lot of support, including ongoing yoga and marketing training.
“Baby and young people's yoga is growing immensely around the world, as evidence of its healing, health-boosting and relaxing powers increases. Through our ongoing expansion, we hope to help many more parents and children experience yoga’s many benefits in 2018.”
Kalma Baby currently works in 25 North East schools on a regular basis, and many more ad hoc. The company was recently awarded the Gold Standard accreditation from the regulating body, the Children’s Activity Association.