Sunday, 19 May 2013

Inspiring Story About Aye- Owner of Ayegardening

This weekend we had a lovely family time, driving back home we passed a quaint garden nursery and my husband- Aye couldn't resist stopping to buy two laburnum trees. Problem was we were in the car and not the van or truck. So.. yep you guessed it... they were going to be put into the car anyway! 
This is me (Susan) in the back with the trees!



One of the things that it reminded me of was when we first started the business and had just a Fiat Punto- how far we have come in 4 years!

This then prompted me to think about the story that the Crawley News published about Aye 1 year ago. The story seems a little outdated now, so much has changed in even 1 year, but the main story of Aye is still relevant and I wanted to share it here as some of you may not have seen it. (It is also on the Crawley News website- but we had some feedback from clients that their website is full of too many flashing adverts so it's hard to read the article.)

Here is a copy of the story:

From 11th July 2012

After 18 years' hard toil, Aye's a success at 23


He has been working relentlessly for 18 years, felling trees in the Burmese mountains, cutting rubber in Thailand and even washing cows. He has been living independently for 12 years and has been running his own successful gardening business for the past three.

Aye Naing's story is one you associate with age, maturity and worldly wisdom – but he is still only 23.
Originally from Burma, Aye started working at the age of five, tending to his herd of 20 cows and learning how to farm.

He woke up at 4.30am every day, worked for three hours, then went to school before resuming his duties when he returned home.
Aye, who now lives in Crawley with his wife Susan and two sons, said: "I looked after the cows, giving them a bath every morning, and my grandmother taught me how to do things like farming and planting vegetables. It is very different from what children here do and I don't want my sons to have to work from such a young age."
When he was eight years old Aye left Burma with his mother and moved to Thailand, where he spent three years cutting rubber.
He would start work at 10.30pm and work through until 2pm the next day.
"It was hard work," he said. "I would just wake up and work through the night and the next day, then go to sleep and get up and do it all again. It just went on and on like that."
Incredibly Aye then decided to go it alone at the age of just 11.
He got a job at a hotel and looked after himself by cooking, cleaning and earning a living.
Then in 2008, the then 19-year-old was selling deck chairs on a beach in Thailand when a customer changed his life forever.
An English woman, Susan, was taking a break from teaching to spend a few months in Phuket.
Aye said: "I was standing on a long beach with lots of other guys selling deck chairs and Susan ignored them and came straight to me. She was trying to get my prices down and we ended up chatting, then I took her to the cinema. I gave her the deck chair for free in the end and we got married two weeks later."
Susan, now 31, added: "When we met his English wasn't very good and I couldn't speak Burmese. So we were just communicating through a Thai phrase book. It's all very soppy. We met, we fell in love and we got married."
Aye moved to England with Susan later that year. At first he was not allowed to work but when the British authorities finally gave him permission he started his gardening business, Aye Gardening, the very next day.
He said: "I bought a lawnmower for £49 from eBay and drove 50 miles to pick it up. I used to drive around in a Fiat Punto with the mower in the back offering to cut people's grass. 
Susan, who taught at Milton Mount Primary School, quit teaching in 2010 to run the business with her husband full time.
Ayegardening is now a limited company with four employees.
Aye attributes his success to his hard work but does not want his sons to follow in his footsteps.
"I don't want my sons to be like me," he said. "I want them to have a better job, like a policeman or a doctor. I want them to work hard but not like what I have had to do.
"I think because I am a hard worker and because my customers are pleased with my work I have done well. I want the business to get as big as possible and when I'm older I want to retire and have people working for me. But not yet, I would get bored.
"My family are all like me – if we don't work we would probably get ill."

The Naing family - shortly to be joined by their first daughter.
It has been amazing for us to think about this article and the changes that have happened in even the last year. We are so excited to keep sharing this journey with you. Thank you for all your support.