Dyslexia is no stumbling block as mum opens second baby store

Published on: Friday, 29th November 2019

An Ilkeston businesswoman says having dyslexia has not stopped her in achieving her dream of opening her second store.

Kelly Carter struggled with reading and writing throughout her school years - being placed in non-mainstream classes and getting through her education by being “naughty”.

It wasn’t until she was diagnosed with the learning difficulty at 16 that she was able to understand why she had not been able to make sense of words or numbers like her friends.

But she did not let dyslexia get in the way of her ambitions.  Her company had an annual turnover of over £2m last year and she is now set to open her second baby store in central Nottingham.  The mum-of-two opened her first store in Ilkeston five years ago.

It came about as she was pregnant with her youngest son, Owen, now five, and couldn’t find a pushchair nor the advice she needed from the big stores she'd visited.

But Kelly, who is married to Terry, 41, and also mum to nine-year-old Connor, said: “On my first day in Ilkeston, I’d managed to set everything up, but I didn’t even know how to use a till.  I had to run over the road to the flower shop for help. I had all these ideas flowing, but I was quite naive.”

But within three years, the business moved to bigger premises, also in Ilkeston.

However, even after five years in business, Kelly, 31, still has difficulties.

The former pupil of Kirk Hallam Technology and Sports College in Ilkeston said: “When I look at the till, it’s very difficult for me to grasp where things are.  My mind goes into panic when I see a lot of writing.  I do tell customers I’m dyslexic, we laugh and nobody cares.”

She says she has a supportive team behind her, including Kimberley Kirk and Rebecca Marshall, who will be managing the new shop, alongside two further new posts, in addition to the four staff employed in Ilkeston.

Inspirational Kelly, of Ilkeston, said: “With dyslexia, you can either be ashamed of it or embrace it. I joke about it. If you take the awkwardness out of the situation, you have already got past the first hurdle.  I just take a little longer to work things out.”

The company has a new store off Radford Boulevard in Nottingham with 5,000sq ft of space, whilst a warehouse is based in Kirkby-in-Ashfield boosted by an on-line webpage too.  The Ilkeston shop will remain open, becoming more of a factory retail outlet.

The new store looks to take off just days after Mothercare, which has a local branch a mile and a half away at Castle Marina, entered administration.

Kelly said: “It’s so sad to see such a household name disappearing, and devastating for all the staff.  As an independent business, we aim to provide a professional and personal service for Nottinghamshire’s parents and parents-to-be.”

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