Name - Gemma Parker
Business - CraZy BeanZ
Website - www.crazybeanz.co.uk
Family - One little boy and two cats
Guilty pleasure - Singing along to Disney songs in the car
Tell us about how your business dream came to light and how it evolved into reality.
I had thought about launching a children’s entertainment when I first graduated drama school, but ended up too fearful of the risks involved. I spent a few years in London working for established entertainment companies. I later trained to become a primary school teacher, (another dream of mine, I have many). While teaching I fell pregnant with my beautiful little boy. After giving birth, I was so in love I couldn’t bear the thought of paying someone else to raise him while I gave all my waking hours to the school system. So I decided now was a good time to pick-up on the original dream and launch my entertainment company. It has been a short journey so far, but everything I wanted it to be. I have a work-life balance, my creative juices are flowing once more and I get to wear crazy clothes again!
Starting and running your own business can be tough at times, how did you overcome these wobbles and not throw in the towel/bib?
Knowing I have a teaching degree to fall back on is always a good prop. When I am feeling underconfident and I worry about the outcome of the business, I play the ‘and what then’ sequence, which often leads to teaching in the very worst-case scenario for the company. That is a convenient security blanket. I also try to be humble and remind myself that if something isn’t working, then what do I need to do to change it. What now? What next? And mistakes are learning, are mantras I used with my pupils and a classroom culture I wanted to inspire. These mantras are boundless when going through the motions of running a business. Resilience and perseverance are the most challenging and most lucrative skills we need and should nurture in our children. When I meet these challenges, I try to get advice and support from outside sources. Networking groups have been a wonderful resource for this and lead me to all the right people to help me on my journey.
What do you enjoy most about running your own business? Other than VAT returns, share those tasks that you try to avoid at all costs & how you motivate yourself to get them done?
I love the creativity and the joy in the families faces when we interact with them. CraZy BeanZ is a world that has sprung out of my head and with it, it has painted my own human world with colour again. I feel like I am being me again and it all flows so easily. I get excited before I do events in character, because it is just so much fun being a unicorn or a super hero. Being in touch with your inner child, I have found, makes life a lot lighter and fun! It’s exhilarating knowing that when I get an idea, that I can put it into action if I want to, because I call all the shots. I don’t call it running a business, I refer to it as designing my life.
How have you maximised the potential of working with babytodd & beyond and it’s members?
My business relies heavily on referrals and experiences. babytodd & beyond has provided a perfect platform to expose CraZy BeanZ to families. Secondly, the networking opportunities have been invaluable. I have met some wonderful individuals who are happy to lend their ears, advice, collaborate and provide honest services to help me progress.
What plans do you have for your personal, family and business growth? How do you manage to get the balance right?
I plan to keep growing and have entertainers dotted all over Sussex and Surrey. CraZy BeanZ also provides drama classes, so once the entertainment side of things becomes more self-sustainable I will focus on growing this part of the company. As the company grows, I’ll be outsourcing support in different departments particularly in sales and marketing. This way I can stay in touch with the creativity and maintain a work-life balance.
Key goal for 2018
At least four party bookings per weekend. Have a strong presence as an extra-curriculum provider in Horsham and Crawley Nurseries. Continue to plant brand awareness.
You can find CraZy BeanZ on;
Facebook | Instagram
or at www.crazybeanz.co.uk