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How one Mum's determination to be there for her children led to the creation of a business

Wagada is a digital marketing agency based in St Albans and run by member Cheryl Luzet. Cheryl had worked in the digital arena for many years but saw a gap in the market for a specialist Search Engine Optimisation Agency (SEO) offering high quality services.

A degree in languages led Cheryl Luzet to a role managing digital projects at Thomson Holidays in London back in 2009. So after five years of full-time work, she decided to undertake a Masters in Electronic Publishing. This was the beginning of Cheryl’s desire to simplify technology and reconcile the front and back end of web design. This Masters was unusual in that not only did she learn how to code websites, but she also learnt the fine art of writing for the web, publishing law, accessibility and making websites user-friendly. 

When it was time for Cheryl to return to work after maternity leave in 2011, she faced the dilemma that many parents face – childcare costs were prohibitive and she found herself in a Catch 22 situation – she couldn’t afford not to work, yet she couldn’t afford to go to work. Cheryl was also concerned that returning to work in London would involve a long commute, taking her away from her children for long periods. She was determined to be around for her children and earn a living. So she decided not to return to her role as a digital consultant in the education sector. Instead Cheryl took a leap of faith and, in August 2011, set up her own business, Wagada. 

Now Cheryl combines her role as MD of Wagada with being a mum. The company employs nine people with16 freelancers. A healthy work life balance is incredibly important to Cheryl and it’s the reason she set up the business.

Flexible working permeates every aspect of the company which means Cheryl is able to attract very talented people who are looking to manage work and home life. Wagada has become a thriving and successful digital marketing agency in the heart of St Albans - helping clients get found on the web. 

Cheryl says: "Wagada has grown really rapidly over the past six years, from being a home based business to office with nine staff.

"Being a mum myself, I wanted flexible hours to be able to spend time with my children, but I also provide this for my staff which has been an excellent way to attract high quality employees.

"Lots of companies are missing out on the opportunity to employ strong staff by not offering flexibility to parents (but not exclusively to parents – we have had all sorts of other reason for wanting flexibility including semi-professional rugby players and band members).

"It is a benefit which has no financial cost to the business and allows us to attract really high quality staff who are hard working and engaged. Some of my staff have taken pay cuts of more than 50% to be able to work here so they can be flexible and spend time with their children."

She continued: “We were lucky enough to win an award for Flexible Business of the Year at the Mum and Working awards last year, as well as being a finalist in the Working Mum awards for the SME Award and Working Mums Champion – we were up against large multinational companies so this was quite an honour."