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Swansea woman finalist in Chwarae Teg’s Womenspire Awards

A talented graphic designer, who gave up her day job to launch her own Welsh language learning products, is being recognised for her success as a businesswoman.

Sian Cartledge is a finalist in the Entrepreneur category at Chwarae Teg’s Womenspire Awards, where her accomplishments in setting up a popular and growing business, will be celebrated.

It was when her son, Max, started at a Welsh medium primary school, almost 2 years ago, that Sian noticed a gap in the market. As a non-Welsh speaker, she was keen to learn Welsh with him and so designed and produced a set of flash cards. Sharing her work on social media, they were an instant hit with 250 packs sold in a week and orders coming from as far as Milwaukee and Patagonia.

At around the same time her mother who ran Cwmtwrch Post Office in the Swansea Valley was retiring, so Sian took on the property as her workshop and warehouse and went online too at www.maxrocks.co.uk. Huge demand has seen Sian expand her MaxRocks range to include more educational resources, greetings cards and home decorations, all of which are eco-friendly and now sold at over 170 stockists across Wales including CADW and the National Trust.

Some greeting cards made by Sian’s company

It was also important to Sian to reach out to her community and she now employs other local mothers to pack and distribute her products, with their hours being worked around school times and when is convenient for them. Sian champions flexible working hours and believes there should be a big change in the usual 9-5 working day, easing the transition for parents (mothers in particular) to return to work whilst also being the parent that they want to be.

Sian said: “I was totally surprised but delighted to be named as a Womenspire finalist. I am living the dream with this business but it’s not something I could do alone and I’m truly grateful to all those who work with me to make it a success.

“I know how hard it can be being a mum and juggling work, so it’s great to employ other mums with hours that suit them. We even have an open office policy here where new mothers and babies can come, relax and socialise with a hot cup of coffee – it really makes a change to their day to day lives.”

Cerys Furlong, chief executive at Chwarae Teg said: “Sian is an inspiration to other women who have a burning desire to set up their own business. At Chwarae Teg we are working hard through our Future Female Founders project with NatWest and Simply Do Ideas to encourage more female entrepreneurs, so we need more role models like Sian.

“We want to shine a light on Sian and other remarkable women like her, across all walks of life who make such a difference to others.”

Chwarae Teg’s Womenspire 2020 ceremony on 29 September will take place online across social media this year, due to Covid-19, but nevertheless it promises to be a night to remember. For more information on the event go to https://chwaraeteg.com/projects/womenspire. 

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