Mum swaps retail role for flexible family care after joy of having IVF baby

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A mum who was inspired to open a nursery after having a daughter through IVF is celebrating two years in business – and has taken on another five mums as staff.

Haylea Osborne now employs 14 staff including five women whose children all go to her Fleximinder nursery which has just moved into a modern new purpose built premises, at Stretford Mall.

It comes just two years after Haylea swapped her high-flying career in women’s fashion to go into business and open Fleximinder with just five staff, at the busy shopping centre.

Haylea, 38, from Stretford, set out on a mission to achieve the perfect work-life balance, after having her daughter Tallulah through IVF.

She decided she didn’t want to spend a minute longer than she had to away from Talullah, who is now aged four and a pupil at St Matthew’s school in Stretford.

She wanted flexible working hours to enable her to spend as much time as possible with her precious child, while helping other parents strike the difficult balance between the demands of work and family.

Now the staff numbers have almost tripled in size from five to 14 staff and she has been able to offer the same flexibility to her growing staff – including six mums whose children all also go to the nursery.

Among them are nursery manager Lucy Allcock, from Stretford, whose one-year-old son Harrison goes to Fleximinder; and deputy manager Grace Speakman, from Urmston, who has a son Lucas aged 2 at the nursery. Both were former early years teachers and made the move into nursery care thanks to Haylea.

Early Years Practitioner Sarah Lewis, from Stretford has two sons Harley-George (aged five) and Blake (aged two) who attend the nursery, and fellow EYP Gemma Kilday’s daughter Amelia, aged two also attends the nursery.

Fleximinder’s story teller Georgie Grzesiak also has a daughter in the nursery, four year-old Sydney.

Fleximinder has recently moved into newer, more modern premises at Stretford Mall, and is now located near Pure Gym off Chester Road, round the corner from the Malls popular Kingfisher fish and chip shop.

Fleximinder’s new purpose built premises at Stretford Mall has allowed her to recruit a further three staff taking the total number of employees to 14. The open plan space features special areas for eating, walking development, and sensory play.

Haylea said: “It’s been a fantastic couple of years. All the things I set out to do when Tallulah was first born have happened.

“I’m able to take Tallulah to school every day and spend time with her in the holidays. I’ve been able to get the work life balance I always wanted.”

Haylea said: “I feel that I want to share my story and put it out there to inspire people. My message would be it’s not easy, but it is possible to run a business and be a parent at the same time.

“For me, taking the risk to become self-employed was what gave me the opportunity to manage my own work-life balance.

“As an employer it’s been important for me to make sure my staff get the chance to also have a good work life-balance. It’s a myth that employers can’t offer staff a good work-life balance, but you do have to work at it.

“It’s been tough at times, but now it feels it has all been for something. Now the business is expanding, I’ve managed to go part time.”

Haylea has supported several of her staff members including some of the mature mums, to train in child care qualifications.

She said: “Every member of staff who has a child brings their child to the nursery.

“The fantastic thing is we have a really great family atmosphere.”

The new nursery premises means Fleximinder to increase the number of children who can attend at any one time from 24 to 30.

The nursery focuses on children aged 9 months to 5 years old.

Haylea said: “There’s more space in terms of square footage which will allow us to increase the number of children who come, and lots more natural light.

“The nursery is open plan, we have an areas sectioned off for babies,  and all of the children eat together.

“We do foodie Fridays, and sensory play sessions. We’ve tried to make it as homely as possible.”

She added: “The expansion has created three new jobs. I’ve almost tripled the size of the business, I started off with five staff and now we have 14.”

Gareth Wilkins, centre manager at Stretford Mall, said: “It has been wonderful to see Fleximinder grow over the last two years at Stretford Mall.

“Haylea is an inspiration and we are delighted that the new premises is allowing the business to continue to expand, in particular providing jobs for local people.”

Haylea previously headed up ladies fashion departments in stores such as Top Shop, Selfridges, Flannels and Jigsaw.

She said: “I had a lot of sleepless nights when I was pregnant and suddenly thought, ‘what’s the point of going through all this to then just hand the baby over to someone else?’

“The jobs I’d had before were always quite full on and long hours, as they are in retail and we don’t have family on the doorstep so there was no way I could continue the way I was.

“I cooked up this idea in the middle of the night. I’d never done anything like this before so it was a complete change for me.”

Haylea retrained as a childminder, looking after up to eight children in her Stretford home, before eventually setting up Fleximinder in 2015.

She said: “The idea was to offer a flexible solution, because there wasn’t one. I offer Saturday childcare, evenings, overnights, ad hoc sessions and emergency care. Everything you couldn’t get, I offered and it became popular straight away.”

Haylea’s simple approach appealed to many and through word of mouth and recommendations she was soon busier than ever and looking to expand.

“I had a core group of parents who are all people like me. They work in retail, or on a freelance basis, and find it hard to get the right childcare for them.

To find out more about Fleximinder visit or call in to the nursery at Stretford Mall. You can also find Fleximinder of Facebook @FleximinderManchester.

To find out more about Stretford Mall visit or find the shopping centre on social media @stretfordmall

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