A chance conversation and problems over childcare led to a South Tyneside mum launching her own business.
Sarah Murray is now the proud owner of the Little Play Cafe, based at 25 Beach Road, South Shields.
The mum-of-three decided to take the plunge into the world of self-employment just before the birth of her third child.
Within weeks of the arrival of daughter Felicity, she had opened the doors of her new venture catering for toddlers and their parents.
Business has been going so well, she has increased the number of staff she employs from two to six.
Mrs Murray, who was supported in her business venture by husband Iain, said: “When my other two were born, I found it really hard to get affordable childcare and the thought of looking for childcare again so I could go back to work was something I wasn’t looking forward to doing.
I just thought there and then what a great opportunity.Sarah Murray
“I’d been coming to the Play Cafe for years with my other two children so I knew all about it.”
She added: “Then just before Felicity was born I’d gone in and, while I was there, one of the staff members said it was going to be put up for sale.
“I just thought there and then what a great opportunity. I could go back to work and have the children with me.”
The contract for the premises was signed on the same day Mrs Murray, who is also mum to Henry, five, and Penelope, two, went into labour.
Mrs Murray, from Boldon, added: “Everything is going really well and we are quite busy.
“I think it’s because parents can come and relax while their children play in a safe and secure environment and they can see them.
“It was quite a big leap of faith for us to take but everything is turning out alright.”
As well as the play cafe, Mrs Murray has also introduced monthly events including pamper sessions for parents and breakfasts with various children’s characters.
She has also run first aid courses from the venue.
The Play Cafe is open Monday to Friday from 9am until 4pm.
People can also hire the venue on weekends for parties.
For details on forthcoming activity sessions visit the Little Play Cafe on Facebook.