Creative Spaces Preschool & Learning Center
By the Editors
We caught up with Manpreet Thorn, owner (And Former SMEBB 2014!!) of Creatives Spaces Preschool & Learning Center in East Sacramento. After her first child, Manpreet decided to leave the corporate world behind and pursue her small business dreams by opening a children’s school. Check out a little about her in our Q & A!
What inspired you to open the business?
What turned into a two-year long passion project, began as a simple desire to help fill the incredible need for high-quality early education. At the beginning of this venture, I was living the corporate, very professional lifestyle, but had little work-life balance. When my husband and I were expecting our first child, I wanted more. I love children and have a passion for education so when I became a mother, I knew I wanted something different for myself and something incredible for my children. I wanted to instill a strong foundation of early education and learning in my family, but I couldn’t find what I was looking for. Having gone through the search for a perfect preschool with my sister for her own son, I had a good idea of what I wanted for my child. This is when I started working on Creative Spaces Preschool. I was inspired to create an environment where children are encouraged to become independent, confident, lifelong learners with a strong sense of self. And that is what I did. We proudly offer a positive, child-centered, play-based experience that fosters a love of learning in a nurturing space. During the planning, development, permitting, and licensing phases, my husband and I kept faith that one day we would have students from our own community join our preschool where they would play, dance, read books, play music, practice yoga, learn about green living, and enjoy healthy eating habits. And now, here we are! We are doing exactly this for families in our own community. We have the most incredible staff and the most wonderful families. We have been fortunate to create some wonderful relationships with our neighborhood’s youngest citizens. In 4 months, our baby girl will join our growing preschool family.
Describe the “Aha!” moment when you realized what you wanted to do.
The AHA moment happened when my husband and I came across the property on sale and it just looked like a small school-house. I thought, “YES! We can do this! We can creatively turn this space into a Preschool!” And so began the re-zoning process!
What hardships have you encountered as a business woman?
The greatest challenge I face is managing my time. I take great pride in being very hands on and it’s not always possible to accomplish everything I want to do myself. So I have to manage my time, and delegate responsibility.
Most rewarding experience so far?
Seeing the progress our students have made emotionally/developmentally, and academically. It’s also incredibly rewarding when our families tell us how happy they are with their experience. We strive to be the very best.
Do you have any work life balance secrets?
To be honest!? I am still working on this. With a new preschool, it has been challenging but I do have some tips:
- Be organized
- Wake up early
- Be a good communicator (and a good listener)
- Take a break
- Have fun
Most surprising thing you’ve learned so far?
Navigating the permitting process in Sacramento is a full time job. Starting a business in the community, FOR the community is significantly more difficult, and more expensive than it should be. I have a new found appreciation for small business owners and for what a difficult journey it is. I am fortunate to have a husband that helped make my vision come true. He walked door-to-door asking for signatures of support, he represented us during two hearings in front of the planning commission, handled all of the demolition, new construction and building compliance issues and still helps me sanitize everything every weekend.
Advice to young women thinking about opening their own business?
If you do not feel fulfilled in what you spend your time doing- then you should make a change. Take control, start a business! Be your own boss!
Do you have a mentor? What woman in the community do you most admire and why?
Congresswoman Doris Matsui- she continues to do great things for our community. I am inspired by her support for non profit health centers like One Community Health and helping to secure health care options for people in need.
Favorite place to grab a drink/coffee/lunch?
- Coffee: Temple (That’s where I met my husband)
- Drink: Shady Lady (That’s where I first kissed my husband) (Yep, I kissed him)
- Lunch: Selland’s– Across from Preschool and a great place to see the wonderful people of our Sacramento Community.
Favorite local business?
Strapping Store on Broadway in Oak Park – The most creative gifts can be found there 🙂 Plus the owner is awesome!