Continuing our “Inspire Me” series, I’d like to introduce a very special lady. Gina Kane, the owner of diddi dance West London. Now, she may be playing her success down, but let me tell you, this woman totally rocks! She has been running diddi dance West London for 8 years, and she now has 6 teachers working under her, 11 classes and 15 weekly nursery sessions - WOW! If you know Gina, you’ll agree that she is simply incredible and her smile and bubbly energy is contagious! This is what Gina had to say when we caught up with her…
What is diddi dance and what sets it apart from many of its competitors?
Diddi dance is a pre-school dance class for girls and boys aged from
18 months - 4 years of age. We hold classes in various locations across West / North and South West London. We also deliver our sessions to a number of nurseries, pre-schools and primary schools which are a big hit as our lesson plans have been designed with guidance from EYFS experts. Along side this we have a number of party packages for 1-7 year olds, super fun, engaging and affordable!
We're different from many of the other classes on offer as our sessions are taught in a relaxed manner that allows little ones confidence to blossom at their own pace. It's a gentle and fun introduction to the world of dance.
How did you end up running diddi dance West London ?
Before running diddi dance I was a nanny (which I loved!), I took the
children to their weekly dance class and was really turned off by the
pink and girlie portrayal of dance. For some that is great but there was one little boy in this particular class that wasn't having the best time. It was so sad to see, he wanted to dance and have fun but it clearly wasn't the right vibe for him. The image of him sad and not joining in stayed with me for days. I started researching other dance classes and they all seemed to be along the same lines. Until I stumbled across diddi dance - the website looked promising, an inclusive ethos that wasn't swayed too girlie or too boyish, just fun for everyone. I went along to a class in South East London, taught by the founder and I totally loved it. High energy yet gentle in delivery - boys and girls with their adult all up dancing and having fun together.
A couple of months later I had set up my first classes in West London, that was 8 years ago and now I have 6 teachers, 11 classes and 15 weekly nursery sessions and I haven't looked back!
How did you find the transition from nannying to running your own business?
The transition from nannying to running the business felt pretty
smooth. I had a ready made client base which was obviously helpful. I
knew my area from the perspective of someone looking for activities and I was able to do it all at my own pace. It was a gradual build up over the years - classes here and there alongside nannying. Then 2.5 years ago the leap into running diddi dance full time.
Obviously there have been mistakes made along the way - I've not taken any business courses so everyday is a learning curve for sure. However, being so passionate about our classes and brand makes it feel easy, and dancing with toddlers is literally the best, so most of the time it doesn't even feel like work!
What was the scariest thing about starting your own business venture?
The scariest thing is criticism. Ultimately people are buying in to
me and my teachers - how we engage and enthuse their little ones. So if I receive negative feedback its hard not to take it personally. All
feedback comes with an opportunity to grow though, and their is always room for growth.
What advice would you give to other nannies thinking about changing their career and maybe setting up their own business?
Go for it! Starting a business is all about taking risks, the only
failure is not trying. And network! Make sure you network with your competitors! This is a big city with lots of opportunities and working alongside those in your field is always better than working against them.
What do you think the secret to your success is?
Hmmmm, the secret to my success? Everyone weighs success on different scales but for me, it’s how happy you are at the end of the day, and doing what I do genuinely makes me happy, super happy in fact. So I guess my secret is doing something that I’m passionate about and truly love.
You are a mummy to a gorgeous little boy, how do you find being a working mum?
In one word; HARD. I think every parent feels the strain of the juggle.
It's particularly tough running your own business and juggling family
life as the boundaries are so merged. Sometimes I think it would be
easier to go to work for 7 hours and leave work at work - whereas
working for yourself you're constantly on the clock.
However for me the positives of working for myself far outweigh the negatives, and having a job that enables me to prioritise my child is what’s most important for our family. I am learning to be more disciplined, I try not to be the mum always answering emails when my little one wants to play. Obviously important things come up but mostly I work when they are napping / at nursery and in the evening after the whole dinner / bath / bed fiasco!
Working with children, you must have had some expectations.... are you the type of mum you thought you'd be?
I think it's really easy to "armchair" parent when you don't have kids. One thing I've learnt is that all my preconceived parenting ideas quickly blew out the window. One thing I am sure of is that I love being a mummy as much, and probably even more than I thought I would.
What advice would you give to other working mums out there?
Take it easy on yourself - no one has it all planned perfect!
And finally, what is next for diddi dance West London?
We have new classes opening up which is always exciting - we've just
launched at 3 House Club in St John's Wood, new classes at ParentHood in Chiswick opening after Easter and Bishops Park in Fulham! Our nursery sessions are really growing too which is fantastic, I love being part of extra curricular activities at early years settings, the children get sooooo excited to see us!