Welsh language start up wins Women in Business award

The Welsh language learning flash card company began last year during a lunch break and the products are now stocked in over 135 locations around Wales

Sian and another woman hold up her Welsh Women in Business award
Sian with her award
Credit: Sian Cartledge

Max Rocks won Best New Business at the Welsh Women in Business Awards earlier this month. The Swansea based company was founded by mother Sian Cartledge, 40 a year ago to produce Welsh language flash card for children and has recently expanded into the gift industry.

Sian was working as a head designer at the DVLA when she had the idea for Max Rocks and has since quit to focus on her business. The company began in a spare room but due to it’s success has now expanded to her mother’s old post office in Cwmtwrch, in the Swansea valley.

The company was named after Sian’s son, Max, and this idea of family is reflected throughout. She said, “We have a strong ethos of women for women so employ mothers between the hours of 9.30am and 2.30pm and evenings.”

Sian stands behind a stall covered in her Welsh language flash cards and other products
The company initially only sold flash cards, but now stocks a range of Welsh language greetings cards and calendars
Credit: Sian Cartledge

Sian began by posting pictures of her flash cards on social media for other mothers to look at and within a week had sold over 250 boxes.  Her products are now stocked in over 135 places including National Trust shops across Wales and 13 Cadw castles.

The products are designed by Sian and then packaged individually onsite in biodegradable cardboard and compostable bags.

A paymentsense survey conducted in June suggested 36% of small and medium enterprises in Wales are run by women, and 34% of those in the UK are female-run. This is an increase from the 2017 figures showing only 19% of small UK businesses were led by women.

Sian found freedom from being stressed and not present by running her own business.  No longer having to juggle work and home has made my family life, she said. As for the challenges of being a woman in business, Sian said gender should never be an issue and she can “give any man a run for his money.”