Hari’s World is embarking on an ambitious expansion plan to introduce its products to 30,000 schools and nurseries.
The business at Watermillock, on the western shore of Ullswater, publishes 10 illustrated story books to convey safety messages to children aged 3-7.
The books are complemented by ‘safety sacks’ containing books, board games, soft toys and guides to reinforce the safety narrative.
Sue MacGee founded the business 13 years ago with her husband Tristan Paul and their son Tristan Sean who are joint creators and authors of the books.
She has a background in sales, retail and management while her husband is a barrister specialising in personal injury cases and their son spent 12 years in the Army, rising to the rank of Major.
Sue said: “It was the birth of our grand-daughter Harriet that inspired us to start Hari’s World.
“Hari is short for Harriet. The importance of keeping her safe and all children safe was the cornerstone of our thinking.
“The books aim to educate children about everyday hazards they might encounter in the home, crossing the road, on a trip to the park, beach or in other environments.
“They help children to spot hazards and avoid them.”
She continued: “Children aged 3-7 are like sponges – they want to know everything. These are the most impressionable years for instilling safety messages, which is why we have focused on this age group.
“What could be nicer than sitting down with mummy or daddy, aunty or uncle, granny or grandpa, or teacher and reading a fun-filled book and learning through wonderful characters how to play safe?
Customers can order through the Hari’s World website.
The business has sold more than 25,000 books to date and given away many more to charities all over the world. It also does readings in schools and bookshops.
But it hasn’t all been plain sailing.
Sue said: “Our customers include schools, nurseries, parents and anybody who wants an amazing gift for a child.
“We used to be in all libraries but sadly many libraries have closed in recent years because of spending cuts. Likewise school budgets are tight. We had agents taking Hari’s World to world markets but this fell on stony ground.”
The business is now embarking on a new phase of expansion after engaging with the Chamber’s Cumbria Business Growth Hub.
It benefited from funding provided by Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership to provide one-to-support to businesses that aren’t eligible for European Regional Development Fund schemes.
Sue said: “I called the Growth Hub and asked for support saying that I am a dinosaur in IT and wanted to learn new ways of marketing for our books and spread the word of child safety awareness.”
She received one-to-one support from adviser Gail Gravett who helped Hari’s World refine its marketing strategy.
Sue added: “Gail has been extremely supportive. She listened to my needs, loved what we have, liked the fact that I am devoted to the cause and so wants every child in the world to be safe.”
Gail is also providing guidance to Hari’s World to help revamp its website and to develop an app to complement the books.
The big push starts next week, which is Child Safety Week (June 4-10), when Hari’s World launches a major marketing campaign.
Sue said: “We have employed marketing companies in the past and presently have a new company introducing our message and books to 30,000 schools and nurseries. This is a step change for the business.”
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