We had the good fortune of connecting with Amy Clayton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amy, what do you attribute your success to?
I think the most important factor behind my success has been to be able to provide quality, caring swim lessons in a private back yard setting. I believe in what I do and love it so much and I think that translates to the way I teach and how I treat the kids. This isn’t just a job for me, it’s my love and I love to share it with others.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Amy’s Aquatics is an at-home swim school. We teach private and small group swim lessons in the comfort and privacy of our back yard. I think one of the things that I am most proud of is the connection I have with my students and their families. When kids come to my swim school, if I have their parent’s permission, I take underwater photos of the students. We upload these photos to our Amy’s Aquatics Facebook page at the end of each session every day. Parents can then see their kid’s underwater pictures and progress. Since I’m a small swim school and I employ my daughter and one assistant, I feel like I get to know almost every child that walks into my backyard. Each family is important to me. Often times, we’re friends on Facebook. I celebrate milestones with them. I watch them go to their first day of school, I wish them happy birthday, I watch them lose their first tooth, and I see their Christmas photos. I think this is one of the big things that sets my swim school apart from the others – it’s the connection I have with my customers. We’re friends. Amy’s Aquatics has continued to grow every year just by word of mouth. We’re so proud of the reputation and relationship we’ve built and I believe it’s because we truly care for each student.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh gosh! I kind of hate this question because as I’ve gotten older I’ve become more of a homebody. First, we’d have to spend at least a day with Gail and Jackie. They’re my husband’s parents and they live in old town Lewisville. Gail loves to host and cook, but mostly she likes to ask questions. She’s a fantastic cook, so we’d spend awhile cooking and eating, drinking sweet tea, and then washing dishes by hand because she refuses to get a dishwasher (she can wash dishes better than any ol’ dishwasher). We’d probably have a pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese and homemade yeast rolls, and she would have at least three different desserts. Jackie would probably eat one of each of the them. My husband Wes would, too. During our visit with Jackie and Gail, Gail would get to know pretty much everything about our guest and she would have a lot of ideas about where to go and what to see while visiting.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
After the birth of my third child, I trained to receive my Water Safety Instructor certificate with the Red Cross. I would travel to client’s pools and homeowner’s associations to teach, but I never made a full time gig out of it. Several years later, I found myself getting bored in another unfulfilling nine to five job. At this point, our family had finally moved into a home that had a pool in the back yard. I wasn’t too disappointed to leave that job and post a notice on my Facebook page that I was going to begin teaching swim lessons at my home. That summer, I booked 55 kids. This was the beginning of Amy’s Aquatics. Through Facebook, I have remained in touch with a friend from high school that lives in South Carolina and has been teaching private swim lessons for many years. Her name is Libby Souder. Libby swam on the swim team with me when she was off season from tennis. She has become a very close friend over the years. Libby was the one who recommended I get an underwater camera. Who knew a $250 expense would make my business take off? During swim lessons, I would take underwater action shots of the kids and in between sessions I’d go in and upload them to my Amy’s Aquatic’s Facebook page and tag the kid’s parents. The kid’s parent’s friends would then see the pics and ask, “Where is little Johnny taking swim lessons?” and then reach out to me to book their children. The second year I taught, I more than doubled my enrollment. Libby was a marketing genius! I never had to spend a dollar on marketing, And it went on like this for years. Word of mouth spread and Amy’s Aquatics has just blossomed. Libby and I talk throughout the year, but more so right up to and through swim season. We bounce ideas off each other, chat about our businesses, talk about our competition, complain to each other about how tired we are, talk about if the new GoPro is worth it, pool maintenance, tough kids, that kind of thing. I haven’t seen the girl in over 30 years, but she’s one of my best friends and encouragers. This year with all of the Covid-19 stuff going on we’ve both done a lot of extra planning, cleaning, worrying and she’s always been there, just a text away. There’s no one else I can talk to about being a business owner, owning a backyard swim school, being almost 50 (eeek) in the year of Covid, who knows exactly what I’m going through except Libby.