As I sat in our little holiday home we had hired for the week, I reflected upon the past two decades and where life would take me next. Twenty two years in Early Years education had been fantastic and I had certainly fulfilled all of my career goals: Nursery Manager, Assessor, Childminder, Teaching Assistant and Graduating from university, 7 months pregnant with my second child, gaining the highest recognition there was, whilst working fulltime, being a wife and a mum to my first born… BUT…
What was next for me?
I knew I wanted my own business that I could put my own ‘stamp’ on and make use of my existing knowledge and skills. What better than children’s parties!?! The career I had built could now expand from education to a pure happiness for those we treasure the most, our children!
I had initially seen the idea of Slumber Party Hire on social media feeds and really liked the concept and felt I could expand it further. I began by jumping in at the deep end… as always… hoping I’d swim! I sourced some amazing A Frame tents, bedding and soft furnishings and began to advertise on Social Media outlets in April 2019. I thought 4 tents would be a good starting point. My first booking was for 9 tents! I nearly fell off my dining room chair but I took it and ordered more equipment. All equipment arrived in May, and before I knew it May and June had paid bookings. ‘Must be doing something right’, I thought so I carried on. Bookings kept coming and as I sit here now in Dec, only 7 months after launching, our diary is nearly full until the end of Jan 2020.
However, as life is, things are never as easy as they seem.
I started researching this industry and quickly realised that there were many hurdles in my way. One huge hurdle was the fact that ‘Teepee’s/Tents’ are in fact classed as ‘Toys’ so MUST be CE certified. The panic as I went through each tent to check they had the CE stamp was awful. Luckily for me they did. Some of my soft furnishings did not though so sadly I had to discard them from any party set ups. These financial losses were not what I had planned for. Alarm bells kept ringing, so I delved even further and found a fantastic support group on a Social Media platform and began to link with others who owned similar businesses. I’d been lucky! Some had not, with many businesses having to start from scratch again due to non compliant equipment. Lots of money down the drain due to legislation we were not aware of. I now try and offer advice to other Sleepover Business owners with CE compliancy, business set up advice and general assistance. However these hurdles aside, my business is FULLY compliant, which gives me 100% confidence in the product and service I am providing.
However these hurdles aside, my business is FULLY compliant, which gives me 100% confidence in the product and service I am providing.
So we started 7 months ago and not only is the sleepover side of the business doing well, I have also launched two unique party concepts, in the North east of England, to expand SlumberKidz further. We launched our ‘Movie Parties’ and ‘Gaming Parties’, complete with 100” screen projector, speakers and beanbags/gaming chairs for children and families who wished to have a unique party with or without a sleepover. Gaming is an increasing trend within young teens so I have tried really hard to reach that part of the party market. The response we’ve had has been amazing! In Jan 2020, I will be trying to break into the wedding sector to launch our ‘SlumberKidz VIP Areas’ and our ‘SlumberAdultz’ where we can supply adult slumber party hire, catering for Hen dos, Bridal Showers and Adult Birthday Parties. The amount of requests I have had for these in 2019 has been phenomenal so it makes perfect business to try and bridge a gap in this market also.
Both roles give me a huge amount of job satisfaction and keeps me very busy.
On top of all the above, I attempted to come out of education but I missed it dearly so I am still working fulltime in Education, now as a Special Needs Teaching Assistant and I absolutely adore it! Both roles give me a huge amount of job satisfaction and keeps me very busy. My family have supported my new business venture throughout and without my Husband, parents and In-Laws, I don’t think this would have been possible. They help with school runs and babysitting when I’m setting up parties. My 11 year old daughter is very passionate about ‘SlumberKidz’ and often comes and helps me set up, not so much collecting though as she is normally still snoring in bed on a Sunday morning when I leave haha! I am very proud of her joining me, as I believe this shows her that women can make a business that fits around their interests and busy lives but also enables her to see a good work ethic in practice. I feel woman still get left behind in the ‘business’ world and seeing that her Mum was able to make a success from something that was just an idea, will hopefully enable her to see her worth when she grows into a woman of working age, with passion and conviction. She will often discuss with me how she would like to run her own business and lead others to succeed. To me, this is more important than any SATs test she could take. This shows that with an idea, belief and a touch of ‘get up and go’, you can change your life for the better, with a little hard work and determination.
I have been lucky that I have found a business idea that I enjoy and works for my family. If I was to give anyone any advice on following a new business dream I’d say this:
Firstly, if you want to do it, DO IT! Facilitate it. Never allow ‘excuses’ to dull your shine.
Secondly, Research the life out of it. Being stung in the first few months, for things you’ve never even heard of is truly heartbreaking.
Finally, enjoy it! If I didn’t enjoy SlumberKidz, my clients would know! My body language and demeanor would show. SlumberKidz has become my ‘baby’ and will always be.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my little but exciting journey, but I need to dash as I have work tomorrow, SlumberKidz bedding to iron, packed lunches to make, two children fighting and a husband needing a referee right about now haha!