Sunderland mum quit job as solicitor to found ARTventurers - sparking a national business success

A mum who quit her job as a lawyer to spend more time with her family has seen her children’s art class business become a runaway national success.

Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 10:48 am
Updated Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 6:06 pm
Pictures of Fiona from over the years with ARTventurers

Fiona Simpson, 45, from Seaburn, was a solicitor working long hours and struggling to spend time with her children.

After thinking of ways to free-up time for family, she left her job in 2011 and founded ARTventurers, which helps parents encourage kids to take part in art-related activities.

Now the company has been franchised nationwide, and Fiona has become the first British female freelance franchise writer for top business magazine Forbes.

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Fiona Simpson ARTventurers with the Business Woman of the year award at the Wearside Women in Business awards.

She said: “At school we were always told you had to be a doctor or a lawyer. Art was never encouraged. I became a solicitor which wasn’t very family-friendly. I wanted to be able to spend more time with my children and make sure I could take them to and pick them up from school.

“There was no grand plan. I left my job and spotted a gap in the market”

After running the business and delivering classes for three years, Fiona decided to franchise ARTventurers in 2014, putting her faith in others who shared the same beliefs as her, something which she described as “nerve-racking.”

Now ARTventurers classes are delivered up and down the country, from Inverness to Essex.

ARTventurers founder Fiona Simpson backing Sunderland's City of Culture Bid

Fiona said: “I have a fantastic team who are really passionate about what we do. They very much create a community spirit.”

Fiona has won a number of awards including at the Wearside Women in Business Awards, the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards, and was named EWIF Women Franchiser of the Year in 2018.

She was then asked to write about franchising for Forbes, which she admits she originally thought was a wind up.

She added: “For a girl from Seaburn, writing for Forbes isn’t too bad.”

Fiona Simpson pictured in 2016

ARTventurers holds a variety of different classes for babies, toddlers and children which aim to nature and develop a children’s creativity by providing them with opportunities, guidance, inspiration, and materials to explore and express themselves. Locally, ARTventurers runs classes in Washington, Sunderland, Whitburn, Fulwell, and Roker and across South Tyneside. Visit