Interview with Sarah Barrett from Lingotastic

When Sarah Barrett’s career as a nurse didn’t fit with her family life she took some time out and (almost by accident) launched Lingotastic – multilingual language classes for children.

What’s your career background?

I trained as a children’s nurse as I was keen to work with families. When my own children came along the shift work did not fit with my family life so I took some time out to be with my family.

How did your career change after having children?

When I had three children childcare was too expensive so I started to think about my skills and where they could take me. I love singing, languages, puppets and crafting with children so these all came in the mix.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

As a German English family we have always brought up our children multilingually. It had been difficult it times to find the support and encouragement we needed. I thought I could help fill this gap.

How did you move from idea to actual business?

Five years ago I launched a mums and tots singing group linked to our church which was a great place to try out ideas of a language learning mums and tots group.

In 2013 there was a surge in interest in primary and preschool language learning so it was great time to start. It was also the same time my youngest started full time school.

I ran some launch classes in local libraries and we lucky enough to be featured in the local paper. From this I gathered a group for my first class.

Who’s your target audience?

My target audience are mums (almost all have worked in teaching or travelled a lot) and multilingual families looking for support and companionship in their language learning journey.

How do you spread the word about what you do?

Word of mouth is the best way to spread word of my classes. I advertise classes at the start of terms on mum’s and tots Facebook groups. Further afield I network on Twitter and blog about our family language learning adventures and great resources for family language learning.

If you love languages and want to share this with your family I’d love to connect with you on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?

Many people think languages are what you do at school. I’ve even had people say that little ones will be confused to be introduced to more than one language.

The research says the opposite as is the experience of many families I know. Many children in my classes are now able to sing and interact in four languages, have a native sounding accent and are quickly able to identify a language they hear a few sentences of either on the radio or out and about.

And your proudest moment so far?

The launch of my first CD, Lingotastic, Mostly German. I finally have a great resource to share with others and encourage them to play with languages. It’s available via our shop and to stream on Spotify etc.

Who inspires you?

My children, and the opportunities multilingualism will give them.

How do you balance your business with your family?

My classes run when my own children are in school. I often work in the evening when the children in bed.

Having said that, The business is very much a family venture, my children helped design my logo, help with fun ideas for classes we record vlogs and songs together.

My son is good with graphics and video editing so he does that. My children are proud of what their mummy does and I hope in that I am a good role model for them.

What are your three top pieces of advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs?

  1. Your giftings and talents are unique to you.
  2. Do what you love so when it gets difficult you’ll still enjoy enough to keep going.
  3. Before you launch, research, research, research. Find out what others are doing, benchmark your prices, check out all costs that may come up so you start as informed as you can.

You can find out more about Lingotastic on their website.