Just a mum? No I’m not

Elishka Flint looks behind the success of one of the local mothers featured in the Brixton Pound Cafe’s MotherWorks exhibition

Dad yoga
Dad and baby yoga

Happity, an app that showcases fun things to do with babies and toddlers, is now available for parents in Brixton. Mums and dads looking for entertaining activities for kids can pop their postcode into the app and find classes and groups nearby.

Happity’s trailblazing founder, South London mum Sara Tateno, says Brixton has an especially good variety of activities. “We see a lot of creative folk putting on activities for kids in Brixton, so it’s very unique and quirky.”

Her top picks locally include PramChorus, a “bring your baby” choir, and Prasarita Yoga which runs a dad and baby yoga class on Saturday mornings in Herne Hill.

Sara Tateno
Sara Tateno

The idea behind Happity came to Sara while she was on maternity leave and struggled to find good local activities for her two young children.

“With my first child, I used this clunky website showing me things to do in the local area, but when we moved a few miles away suddenly there was nothing. I realised there was a real need for a professional site showing all the great activities across London and further afield.”

Sara always had an entrepreneurial streak, but had never taken the plunge, pursuing a career in consulting instead. “I’d had many moments when I’d wanted to start a business but I was always a bit scared to do it, just thinking that I didn’t have the experience or knowledge.”

Luckily, when Sara had the idea for Happity, she’d just started learning to code.

“I was made redundant just when I was due to go on maternity leave with my second child and lots of people told me: “Oh, you’re just going to be a mum now.’ That really pushed me to think “Well, no, actually, that’s not what I’m going to do.’”

Sara knew that there were lots of opportunities in the technology sector so she applied to Google Campus for Mums, a part-time programme where parents learn business and coding skills.

She was given a place the day after her son was born. “He was born at home so Google Campus was the first place he ever went in his entire life!”

This was followed by a full-time three-month developer course at Makers Academy, where Sara was the first mother to complete the programme. The intensive classes gave her most of the skills she needed to build Happity herself.

The app launched a year ago in South London and attracted 2,000 users in its first month. It now has 8,000 users and is rapidly expanding across London.

Sara says the most rewarding part has been creating a business with flexible roles which work for parents who want to find that balance between work and family life.

“At Happity we have a team of seven and we all work remotely. We have core hours during the school day but if something comes up, people can flex their time.”

This approach is one of the reasons that Sara was recently featured at the #MotherWorks photographic exhibition at Brixton Pound Cafe, which celebrated the double lives of working mums.

Given the manner of Happity’s success so far, it’s easy to see why Sara was one of the stars of the show.