Meet the mum who has found business success by helping her dyslexic daughter

AN INSPIRATIONAL businesswoman who started her own firm because of a lack of resources available for her own dyslexic daughter has been honoured for her work.

Bambi Gardiner, who runs Oaka Books, with her daughter Sophie
Bambi Gardiner, who runs Oaka Books, with her daughter Sophie

Bambi Gardiner, from Chichester, has been recognised by British businesswoman, Jacqueline Gold CBE, for her success as a female entrepreneur, and awarded a prestigious #WOW badge. 

Bambi set up Oaka Books, a specialist publisher, creating revision resources for dyslexic and special educational needs pupils that is based at Oak Park Industrial Estate in Portsmouth, after her daughter Sophie was diagnosed with dyslexia. 

Bambi, 51, said: ‘My daughter is dyslexic and she has a slow processing speed. She hates reading, cannot concentrate for long periods and is easily distracted. Learning and revision were frustrating and demoralising experiences.

‘In 2012 she sat her Common Entrance exams. As the exam dates loomed she became increasingly stressed about her revision, her results were poor and disaster was imminent.

‘Struggling to find interesting revision books, I began turning her notes into cartoons, we played out stories with toy men, added some silly accents, made it fun and hey presto she was actually remembering information!

‘She gained her first ever A grade in an exam and was thrilled. Having failed for so long, she now realises that she can achieve.

‘With so many hours of work turning her notes into our new fun formula for learning, and with friends asking for copies, I decided to create this series of booklets and SEN resources to help other children who like to learn in a more visual way.’ 

Bambi now sells a range of learning materials, put together with the help of education professionals, through her website oakabooks.co.uk. 

Bambi said: ‘Our aim is to make the curriculum accessible to all pupils, irrespective of their reading ability or processing speed.

‘Over 10 per cent of children in our schools are dyslexic and that is just those who are diagnosed, but we still need these children to be able to understand and learn information in order to pass their exams and be the best that they can be in the classroom.’ 

Bambi was recently selected as one of three winners by Jacqueline in the ‘Women on Wednesday’ competition. 

When selecting the winners, Jacqueline looks for businesses that are interesting, have strong brand values and that she thinks have the potential to grow and succeed in their industry. 

Jacqueline said: ‘Oaka Books provides fun and stimulating packages for children who learn from engaging and visual stimulus.

‘With a team of SEN specialists, and Bambi’s firsthand experience with a more visual learner, Oaka Books is perfectly equipped to provide interesting and educational resources to give children the help they need to rediscover their abilities and boost their self-confidence.

‘I wish Bambi and the team every success for the future.’