It’s the best of both worlds

It’s the best of both worlds

09 March 2016

Liz Edwards is Director of Muddyfaces, an outdoor play and learning resources for the education and private market. Sheffield offers the perfect back-drop for this business as Liz explains.

What were your early ambitions?

As a kid I spent most of my time climbing trees, wandering hill sides, building dens, being out on my bike and very much following my older brothers about. We were really lucky growing up in a semi-rural location so my drive has always been the outdoors and nature, rather than setting up my own business.

My love of the outdoors and adventure led me to work as an outdoor pursuit’s instructor in the UK and abroad. I also worked as an environmental leader where I worked with schools for the Peak District National Park. When I was 26, I became a Forest School Leader and felt so passionately about Forest schools that I went on to set up one of the first Forest School training Companies.

My mother had a market stall when I was little and progressed onto running her own shop when I was older, so I guess my entrepreneur spirit comes from her. I think another influence was being dyslexic, as working for yourself gives you freedoms to work around any difficulties as well as the opportunity to be creative.

Why did you choose to open your business in Sheffield?

I came to Sheffield as a student.  Sheffield is a fab place and so friendly. Coming from North Wales and being close to the natural environment is really important to me, and Sheffield offers this as well as all the city has to offer. It’s the best of both worlds and ideal for my sector. Muddyfaces offers Den building, Forest school, Outdoor cooking, Natural UK grown wood, Children’s outdoor clothing & Outdoor related books – where better to do this than in The Outdoor City.

What is the most challenging thing about your job and what is the most rewarding? 

Keeping the work/home balance is a challenge. We try to work smartly - quality over quantity. Most of the employees have children and so we run the business to support parents - we all take a flexible approach.

I love helping people to get outdoors; we create lots of resources that we distribute through our newsletters with activity ideas and tips. It’s so rewarding when I get feedback from people saying how they have got out and done cool stuff as a result of this.

If you were giving careers advice to your 14 year-old self, what would you say?

I think your experiences and path through life build the resources you need to achieve (whatever it is you want to do). I started working when I was 12 and have always put a lot of effort into my career. So be prepared to get stuck in, grit your teeth and be determined.  With the caveat: On your deathbed, I can guarantee you will never say I wish I had spent more time at work and less time with my family. Or I wish I had stayed at work and not taken time out for an adventure. So work smart and live life!!

You can get free and impartial advice to help you set up and grow your business here in Sheffield. Contact Business Sheffield on 0800 043 5522 to learn more.