Every month, Essex Baby picks a local business, whose market is the mums and dads of Essex, and ‘celebrates’ them by featuring them on our website. This month we’ve chosen Dinky Dragons which is run by Sam Powell and her husband. We interviewed Sam about her business.

What is Dinky Dragons?

Dinky Dragons classes are karate-based fun, music and movement classes for preschoolers.

What made you set up Dinky Dragons?

I have been running karate clubs with my husband for a number of years. For insurance purposes, the youngest age we can accept is four years old, but we often had enquiries about younger children being able to start. I realised there was a gap in the market for a karate-based class which captures the ethos of karate, but maintains the fun element to stimulate young minds.

How is Dinky Dragons good for a child’s development?

Dinky Dragons can help children in a number of ways. The main benefit which many parents and carers have praised us for, is how it helps to increase children’s confidence. Our classes can also help with sharing and turn-taking, listening skills, taking instruction, balance and co-ordination and some basic preschool learning (colours, numbers, letters, shapes).

How long has Dinky Dragons been running?

Dinky Dragons started with just one class in South Woodham Ferrers in January 2013, and has already grown into five classes throughout Essex, with many more classes in the pipeline.

How many people work for the company, where is it based, and where can people find the classes (in which locations)?

Currently, just two people work for Dinky Dragons – myself and my husband. Classes are held in Laindon (Danceworld Studios), Chelmsford (Spring Health Leisure Club), Bicknacre (Jesters Kids Club), and South Woodham Ferrers (Champions Manor Hall). We also have one class for school aged children – Dinky Dragons Juniors – which is held in Maldon (Dizzy Rascals)

Do you have children? How old are they?

I have two children – Lila who is seven, and Marshall who is two. Lila is currently a brown belt in karate (two belts away from a black belt), whilst Marshall is a regular in our South Woodham Ferrers Dinky Dragons class.

What are your long term plans for Dinky Dragons?

Our long term plans for Dinky Dragons are for many more classes to be rolled out across Essex, and perhaps a national programme at a later date.

Tell us something personal about yourself that readers may find interesting.

I grew up in Benfleet, Essex, but have moved around Essex a lot – Shoebury, Grays, Epping, Chelmsford and now South Woodham Ferrers!

I started karate classes at the age of 13, and after a few breaks to attend university, achieved my black belt in 2000, aged 25.

In 2004, I went on holiday to Kos, where I met my husband Steve. By pure accident, we discovered a mutual love of karate – Steve previously held the title of World Number 2, having competed on the Great Britain Squad. Our holiday romance blossomed, and upon my return to the UK, I decided to quit my well paid job in the city to travel to India with Steve. We lived in Goa for 6 months where we taught karate to the locals in a palm tree shaded restaurant! One of the more glamourous dojos we have worked in!

As a working mother, I find the biggest challenge is juggling my time between working, playing with the kids, cooking, cleaning, spending time with my husband and finding time for me! Being self-employed means that I can be flexible and find time for most of these things, although invariably it means that admin work is completed very late at night!

The rewards of being a mother are too numerous to mention. Every day my children say or do something which makes my heart swell with pride. I am immensely proud of both my children, they are funny, sweet, good natured and extremely kind hearted, what more can a mother ask?!

You can read more about Dinky Dragons here: http://www.dinky-dragons.co.uk