There are many elements which go into creating a vibrant learning environment. Surrounding school pupils with visual aids for their study is one of the pieces in the educational jigsaw puzzle.
Daydream Education is a Bridgend-based company specialising in this vital aspect of the modern classroom. The firm designs posters used by teachers worldwide to help pupils understand key topics. In addition, the firm keeps abreast of technological change, providing online material to work in harmony with the physical products it designs and produces.
Daydream Education has been supported through Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme (AGP). The AGP provides targeted support for ambitious, growing firms. The programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.
Here, Chris Malcolm of Daydream Education explains the philosophy of the business, how the Accelerated Growth Programme has supported its growth and provides insight into its work.
Tell us about Daydream Education
Education is at the heart of what we’re about here, as the name suggests! We’re an educational resources publisher and an established leader in our field. Our range covers 25 subjects, and we offer over 1,000 titles in our catalogue. Essentially, the business provides posters for schools and educational settings in English-speaking countries worldwide. These posters aid learners and their teachers and are essential to creating a positive classroom learning environment.
We’re based in Bridgend, and we’re a family business. My mother, Kate, founded the company more than 25 years ago. Mum was a maths teacher, so she knew just how important visual aids are to learners’ experience as they move through the education system. I’ve been running the business from the early days of its existence. We now employ 15 people and work with various educational consultants, teachers and students to create excellent learning materials.
I’d say we’re an agile and responsive business because we’re constantly changing and reflecting trends in learning and the technology surrounding education. I think that’s been one of the secrets to our success. We keep on top of the changes and respond to the constant evolution in the education sector. This has made us a sector leader. Yes, our specialism is in posters, but the business and our product offerings have changed.
So, what does that mean? For example, our wall posters are now integrated with our apps, so they are linked to cutting-edge technology through QR codes, which take learners to a range of interactive materials. And while our core products remain focused on the core curriculum, we’re innovative too, coming up with new content, such as our recently developed material around mental health.
Our biggest market is the USA, and we’re just about to launch a series of posters and apps on American history. There’s nothing else like this available on the market, and we expect them to become best sellers. As well as English-language education posters, we’ve also produced content in Welsh for the Welsh Government and in Gaelic for Stòrlann, a charity set up by the Scottish Government to deal with the provision of Gaelic educational resources.
What are your proudest moments in business so far?
Being here today is our proudest moment! We have a bright future ahead of us. We’re an established leader in our field, with our sights set on further growth, particularly in the USA. So, we are excited about our prospects and proud of how far we’ve come since my mother established the company a couple of decades ago.
What challenges have you faced in business
The 2008 recession caused by the banking collapse significantly impacted us. The policy of austerity which followed meant that schools had less to spend on materials like ours, which included high-cost interactive whiteboard software. However, we showed our adaptability by returning to our traditional products.
Covid was another massive threat to our business. Once schools were shut down, customers stopped buying. This was a considerable challenge as schools had to change their teaching methods radically. We had to furlough everyone initially and then bring some staff back on reduced hours. We survived because we pivoted quickly to take our Pocket Poster range of revision guides directly to consumers via channels like Amazon. Parents juggling working from home with education supervision were now more involved in education than ever before and found our colourful, educationally approved material helpful. The US market recovered quickly, and with support from the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme, we’ve gained real traction in that market. The USA market is a very exciting opportunity for us, and we also have great plans for the UK market.
If you were starting again, what would you do differently?
We have always sought solutions to problems as they arose, as no one can anticipate every hurdle you will encounter in the business. Being agile and developing our products has enabled us to stay relevant, buy time and emerge stronger after external market setbacks.
How has support from Business Wales AGP helped your business?
The Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme has been vital for our business. Their expert advice in business strategy, marketing, IT, exporting and operational efficiency has helped us scale up and given us a strong foundation for our next growth phase.
I’d encourage any ambitious, growing business in Wales to seek support from programmes such as the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme. It can be highly effective in supporting your company’s growth and development.
What advice and guidance would you give other businesses starting out?
- Don’t hesitate to ask for help from programmes like the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme.
- Keep your finger on the pulse of your sector at all times.
- Keep researching your market to stay in touch with customers and their evolving needs.
- Master relevant technology in products and marketing.
To learn more about Daydream Education, visit here.
Further information on the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme
The Business Wales Accelerated Growth Programme is a pan-Wales programme part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.