Crouch End Mum Founds Lingotot Language Business. Get to Know More About The Founder, Karen, In This Q and A
Posted: Wed, Mar 10, 2021 3:16 PM
Starting your own business can be a daunting task. We've been chatting to Karen, founder of Lingotot Crouch End, about her experience of establishing and growing a language business in her local area.
Tell us a little more about yourself
My name is Karen and I operate Lingotot Crouch End, in London. I offer Spanish, Italian and French classes in Crouch End itself (where I live), as well as in Stroud Green and Hampstead. I am the proud mummy of one little girl, Lucinda Rose, and French Bulldog Fulgencio.
My professional background is in law, but I also have an extensive background in European languages through my early years' education and my further education. I was born in Cartagena, Colombia, and moved to London in the early noughties. Upon moving to London, I practised in the legal profession, initially in criminal law, and then as a litigator in the area of International Travel Litigation, dealing with foreign legal cases for some ten years, all the while using my foreign languages' skills. I then co-founded (with my sister) and was responsible for the international operations of a leather accessories’ brand until I started a family. I have since thoroughly enjoyed providing a bilingual upbringing for Lucinda.
Where did you hear about Lingotot?
I heard about Lingotot while looking for bilingual activities to do locally with Lucinda. I noticed there was a Lingotot centre not too far, but not in the immediate area. There seemed to me to be a gap in the market in my immediate geographical area in foreign language activities for her age (she was then 2), which struck me as a missed opportunity because Crouch End is such an urban, multicultural community. I really wanted and needed support with her language education and I felt that she needed to hear the language from different sources out in the community, not just from me. I also felt compelled to pass on my love for languages to other little ones who might feel the same way.
So, once Lucinda started going to nursery I began my research into how I could potentially bridge the gap I had spotted. I loved the look and feel of Lingotot. It immediately felt like a family and somewhere I could really fit in and feel at home.
When did you launch your business and what has happened since?
I opened Lingotot Crouch End with a launch party on 19th December 2020, and quite literally I got home from a really successful opening event to be greeted with the news that London was to go into Cat 4 COVID-19 restrictions. That meant the immediate closure of my live lessons, which at the time was devastating. But I wasn’t going to let that dampen my passion for my new business, so I immediately set to work on setting myself up to teach online.
I have been supported by the most incredible community of hispanic parents in my area, who signed up for my lessons and remain loyal to my business. Though teaching online offers its own challenges, it has meant I have been able to carry on with my classes through lockdown, and build a budding clientele. I now offer Spanish lessons for native hispanic children, as well as for Little Lingotots at different times during the week.
I also offer LingoBaby classes in Italian and French. My baby and parent lessons have been free throughout lockdown, because it seemed to me that parents of new babies and babies themselves have been greatly affected by lockdown and deprived of social contact and support that is so utterly necessary in the early days of parenthood. I have also been offering online Spanish to two local schools, whose feedback has been fantastic. I cannot wait to get into schools to offer in-person sessions.
I have also been offering English lessons online to a small community of children in my home country who would not otherwise have access to language learning. Their thirst for knowledge is truly humbling.
What is your favourite thing about running a Lingotot business?
I love each and every single one of my students and their enthusiasm for learning and sharing. Working with children is genuinely refreshing, invigorating and humbling.
The best moment came when after a few lessons, a group of children who couldn’t speak any foreign languages before, started singing with me in the target language. And just a couple of days ago, I taught a class of babies, all of whom started clapping at the songs in the class, responding directly to what was being said. I very nearly cried with joy.
I also love the Lingotot franchise community as a whole. Angela is an amazing woman and a truly inspirational, natural leader, and the franchisees and staff at Head Office are all like a big cuddly family. It has so far been an amazing experience to be part of the group.
My favourite quote which sums up how I feel about my Lingotot (ad)venture is: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” - Confucius.
If you want to know more about Lingotot Crouch End visit their website here or email them on firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have been inspired by Karen and want to know more about starting your own Lingotot business find out more here.