Monthly Archives: August 2014
Rain….hooray! For the first time since I took over we have had some (still not lots) of rain. The change in temperature has also meant that we have been busy this week. We have also seen lots of new faces including quite a lot of tourists who are on holiday in Bournemouth who have found us through our new website which is really good news.
Our new wall graphic has gone up inside – thankyou so much for all your lovely comments on facebook. We are really pleased with it and hope you agree it livens up our indoor play area.
We have also had signs of distinction in to put up our outdoor sign. We have had loads of feedback saying that people found it really hard to find us and that people who lived locally never know lollipops was there! This will hopefully make it clear where we are as well as act as advertising to new customers.
When I took over this business I knew that there was going to be lots of things to do to get it to the business that I wanted it to be but the list just seems to keep on growing. I guess you are never truly happy with a business and nor should you be as I guess that signals you have stopped caring.
There is always improvements, upgrades, investments to be done. Every night I come home and have a long list of products to research, people to contact etc. Its hard to remember everything when I am also dealing with 2 children who are over tired from a day at nursery! I must admit that the occasional glass of white wine whilst getting the jobs done helps;-)
We have introduced our amazing new beach bucket sundaes to our menu this week. I have really tried to make them a size which our target market of under 8s can enjoy and at a price that is affordable. I cannot tell you how many hours of research I put into these buckets! Trying to find a bucket small enough and not too expensive is not easy. I did loads of market research with my friends and they all agreed that they would love it if their children could take them home.
So eventually I sourced the right bucket at the right price and managed to find a supplier of ice cream tub inserts to fit it and hey presto! Putting together the menu was great fun with lots of taste testing off course!
I am lucky enough to have grown up on a dairy farm in Worcestershire who diversified into making ice cream 8 years ago. My sister now runs this part of the business with my father so it gives me the unique opportunity to get our very own bespoke flavour made. We have devised our very own ‘LolliPopper’ ice cream which is a mix of yummy ice cream, chocolate pieces, fudge pieces and popping candy! I am so pleased with it and it tastes delicious.
A huge thank you to my sisters for organising this for us – love you
You can now also add an ice cream factory or endless ice cream option to your party at Lollipops – please ask staff for more details.
Wow what a crazy yet amazing first 5 weeks I had! After taking over in June the sun has not stopped shining which is not ideal when running a soft play café and I must be the only person in Bournemouth doing a rain dance every day!
However taking over at a quieter time of year I do think has been a blessing in disguise as there has been so much to learn. It has also been a big adjustment getting my 2 girls settled in nursery and getting our morning routine in place so that we all get out of the door on time in the morning.
So what is like running your own business? 2 words spring to mind…..terrifying and amazing!
It has been terrifying because of the sheer responsibilities that are involved; hygiene, insurance, staff payroll, rent etc etc but I can also say that hand on heart it has been the most amazing thing at the same time. Nothing in life can give you a true sense of achievement without being terrifying first right? I have had so much fun getting to know all the lovely staff, meeting so many amazing customers, hosting my first few birthday parties, working with local companies to ensure we deliver a fantastic range of classes, analysing and changing suppliers and off course evenings of painting with friends and family.
So what have I achieved so far…..
- Recruited 3 amazing new members of staff
- Altered the menu to ensure a good choice that minimises food wastage
- Introduced home made cakes and off course our very popular Rocky Road
- Change cake suppliers used for our parties
- Introduced new hygiene systems to ensure we operate our kitchen to the highest standards possible
- Painted our hall, toilets, counter, garden fence and front doors
- Created a stock room at the back which will free up space at the back of the play frame so we can eventually extend the play area and introduce new and exciting toys for our little customers
- Introduced my family’s amazing ice cream
- Created and launched a brand new website, blog and Instagram account
- New graphics to go inside along the wall to create an even happier friendly atmosphere
What is still to come….
- Brand new signage outside so we have better visibility from the road
- Further improvements to our ‘secret garden’
- Extend the baby and non-walkers area within the soft play frame
- Improve the main play frame to ensure we are the best soft play in Bournemouth and Poole for our target market
- Our amazing ice cream bucket sundaes menu and new ‘Bucket sundae & Play for £5’ 3-5pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
- New signage in the café so everyone can see clearly the fantastic range of classes that we have in place for the September term
So lots achieved so far but still lots to do. We have started to get loads of soft play party bookings come in for September and October now which is really exciting and we have also had a sudden influx of christening enquiries which we have now started doing.
And how has my life as a ‘mummy’ been affected? Well it has taken a little bit of getting used to by me and the girls but we are getting into a routine now. Both girls go twice a week to nursery which is really good for them as I cannot say I am the best at doing painting etc. at home with them! And then they have a child-minder one day a week which they love and ‘daddy day care’ on a Saturday which usually involves lunch and a play at Lollipops. They have loved spending lots of time at Lollipops, driving round in the Lollipop car and their favourite job is helping the staff to clean the play frame when everyone else has gone home!
So I really do feel that this has been a huge leap but so far so good as what could be a better business for a mum with a 1yr and 3yr old?!?