A couple who started a home-learning company as a hobby are celebrating a milestone 10 years in business – as demand for its resources spike amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Jay and Christina Loftus started Teacher’s Pet from their home in Newcastle-under-Lyme on April 14, 2010.
The pair put their heads together to launch the venture after spotting a gap in the market for a business which provides downloadable content and teaching resources to primary school teachers across the world.
And now the husband and wife team say it is ‘a dream come true’ to be able to celebrate a decade in business.
It comes after the pair have seen an increase in users to the website following the school closures brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Jay, 34, said: “At the time I was a freelance web designer and Christina was a teacher at a local school. There was a website which every teacher in the land used to use to access learning content but it got taken down. Teacher’s started panicking that they had nowhere to get their learning resources from because there was nothing else out there. At the time, Christina had already been making little bits herself and she offered to share them with other teachers.
“She seemed to enjoy it so I offered to make her a website where people could download everything from and it just went from there.”
In just over two years, Teacher’s Pet saw its content downloaded more than one million times.
And over the last 10 years its online resources have amassed more than 11.5 million downloads by over 250,000 people.
The company has even had enquiries from teachers based overseas in countries including Australia, Dubai and the USA.
At the same time it has formed a number of key partnerships with big-name brands including Blu Tack maker Bostik and has landed a deal which will see them support the BBC with its televised Bitesize Daily lessons by providing activities and additional resources.
And following a relaunch in August 2019, Teacher’s Pet is now on track to have its best ever year after employing its first two members of staff and relocating to new offices at Burslem Enterprise Centre, in Stoke-on-Trent.
Jay said: “We have achieved some really big things in the last 12 months and it’s not gone unnoticed by other people in our industry. We have been approached by some big companies who want to work with us and we’re already in talks with some of them.”
He added: “The last 10 years have been a bit of a rollercoaster for us. This started out as a hobby for us, we never went into it with a business plan in mind, it was just meant to be somewhere for Christina to upload her content. But now there is a lot of potential for us expand globally. The future is really exciting.”
By the end of the year Teacher’s Pet has plans to increase its workforce to a team of 10 and move into a bigger office space in Stoke-on-Trent.
Longer-term plans include becoming one of North Staffordshire’s biggest creative businesses and employing more than 100 staff.
Christina, who is also 34, said: “We never planned for any of this to happen, but everything has turned out just how I’d hoped.
“For me, our biggest achievement is being able to take on our first members of staff. It makes me so proud to think we have been able to get to that position, it’s a dream come true.
“The first 12 months were tough for us, we weren’t making a penny, we were doing everything for free and just working to build up our reputation.
“There have been a lot of sacrifices along the way, we’ve had to miss out on holidays and other social aspects, but Teacher’s Pet always rewards us in the end.
“We know we will eventually be in a position where we can step back a little bit and start to reap the rewards.”