About Dotty About Braille
Dotty About Braille was founded in May 2023 by me, Hayley Kellard, a disabled entrepreneur based in Greater Manchester.
After finding myself between businesses, I decided to look for a part time, home based jobs, I came across one with the RNIB but you needed to know braille. I did know braille, sort of, a little bit...
I had been taught some braille back in school, but hadn't really shown much interest and although I'd been around braille my whole life, because my mum in particular is an avid reader (read about Bridget's love of braille here), I couldn't really remember much.
So with the job not closing for six weeks, I set myself the challenge of learning braille, both grades one and two.
I didn't get the job at the RNIB, but instead I discovered I had a passion for braille, just like my mum! And this passion led me down a very exciting path.
Being a typical entrepreneur, I wondered how I might turn this into a business venture, and this is when I came up with the idea of braille greetings cards.
I'd always been aware of the limited options for braille greetings cards, how they were often old fashioned, overpriced or not fully accessible.
I created a unique range of braille greetings cards, cards that are fully accessible to blind and visually impaired people. The cards don't have images, patterns or printed text, just braille.
All cards are available in lots of different colours, because yes, blind people do often have a favourite colour. To ensure the cards are fully accessible, I types the colour on the back of the card.
I'm able to type braille in any language where a braille code exists, and so far I've typed braille in English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, German, French and Polish.
I came up with the business name Dotty About Braille after my mum joked I was "mad about braille" because I rang her multiple times a day to ask questions about braille! Hehe!
I was born with a rare genetic eye condition called Wagner's Syndrome, which means I have been visually impaired my whole life and I've had multiple operations to help improve and save my sight. Despite having little peripheral vision, being unable to see in the dark, or being able to see small text, I consider myself to be very lucky to have the sight I do have. I do wish I could drive though!
I also have a condition called POTS (Postural Tachycardia Syndrome) which has had a big impact on my life, I lost my job as a Buyer back in 2018 and I'm unable to work a regular full time job, and this is why I became an entrepreneur. I love being an entrepreneur but I believe it should be a choice and for many of us, it isn't a choice, it's either become self employed or don't work.
I live with my husband Scott, our dog Paddy and tortoises Ted & Kate. My favourite thing to do is walk in nature with Scott & Paddy, by the sea or in woodlands, I just love being outside.
Making a difference
I'm very passionate about advocating for people's rights, I feel I've been doing it in some way or another most of my life, but I never felt that I had a voice before, who would listen to me?
But now things are changing, I was recently invited to join the steering board for The Lilac Review, a government backed, independent review into the barriers disabled entrepreneurs face. The two year review will gather research from disabled entrepreneurs and the wider community so the can help remove these barriers.
I'm so excited to be involved and looks forward to helping to make things better for all disabled entrepreneurs.
Awards & Accolades
I've received some amazing feedback since launching last year, here are some of the awards and accolades either myself or the business has received:
Gift Of The Year Awards
More Than A Card Shop
I'm a on mission to make braille become more mainstream, to ensure school aged children learn what it is, and why it's important, and to increase the number of braille gifts available.
I have lots planned, but for right now you can download free printable flashcards, reference sheets and colouring pages aimed at sighted children or young adults.
This is an example of the alphabet flashcards.
Accessibility is an important aspect of my business, not only do I want my products to be accessible but I want my business to be accessible.
I have tried to make the website accessible but please do let me know if you notice any issues, I am a bit limited as it's a Shopify site but I will make whatever changes I possibly can to ensure everybody has a good experience.
Is your business as accessible as it could be?
Where to Buy
You can purchase all my products from the following places:
If outside the UK, please shop through Etsy to ensure all taxes and charges are collected
If you would like to stock my braille cards in your online or physical store, please get in touch. I am able to produce braille cards in any language where a braille code exists.