Interview

How I made it: Andrea Chatten, Unravel

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Welcome to Liberty Belle’s new series ‘How I made it’, where we will be discussing and telling the stories of inspiring female entrepreneurs from across the UK. 

Andrea Chatten is the founder and managing director of Unravel, a children’s emotional and behavioural psychology consultancy based in Sheffield.

Unravel’s team consists of specialist psychologists who provide interventions to children, families and professionals to help young people overcome obstacles, both in schools and privately.

The company has been described as one of the first of its kind in this country and has received praise for developing a new kind of psychology.

Andrea said: “I was setting out to pioneer a new model of psychology and I believed in it whole heartedly in principle, but self-doubt always sat underneath the reality.

“I had to work so hard to challenge my inner critic and forge ahead even though I was out of my depth most of the time.”

Andrea had been teaching for 25 years before she set up the company in 2014, her years of educational experience and the death of her farther gave her the motivation to change her career path.

She added: “When my Dad died suddenly, I realised that I had spent this time gaining the knowledge but not risked giving it a go.

“I had to give it a go, and post grief gave me the courage to take the risk.”

During the development stage of the business Andrea received support from the Sheffield Hallam University Careers team and Growth Sheffield to help launch her company, she now employs nine staff.

Andrea has just launched book six ‘Love’ in her series of popular children’s books ‘The Blinks’, which aims to educate children on how to name and claim their emotions.

She said: “If we don’t learn these skills our mood can begin to affect our self-esteem and resilience in coping with life’s ups and downs.

“I get lots of kids write to me saying that they feel so relieved after reading the book, as they no longer feel alone.”

Each novel is supported with a manual which includes the deeper psychology of each emotion, so that the adults can also help their children navigate their feelings.

The 47-year-old mother of two is now preparing to expand the company’s reach across the UK, as well as looking into becoming an accredited trainer for children’s emotional and behavioural issues.

Andrea and her team intend to continue bridging the gap between current emotional support for children and demand for mental health support.

She said: “Doing something new makes you feel vulnerable and can open you up to people who doubt your intentions and challenge your validity, but luckily our data and results supports what we do and speaks for its self.

“It makes you work harder though to prove yourself even more and stoically gain the evidence that says more than anything else.”

Unravel’s turnover was £135,000 in 2017, with an estimated turnover of £180,000 in 2018.

Andrea’s top business tips:

  • Don’t be afraid of constructive criticism that is the bit you learn the most from.
  • Do lots of research and planning and then just start doing. Every day you work on your business model makes it become clearer and then stay flexible and open to new ideas.

 

Words by Aminah Khan

Featured image via Unravel

Aminah Khan is your Editor-in-Chief

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