Article by Karen Paine
I was a Primary school teacher for ten years. After the birth of my third baby three years ago, I decided to stop teaching. Everyone thinks teaching is the ideal job to fit in with children and family life. But it isn’t. A teacher’s work is truly never done…planning, marking, assessments, target setting, performance management, Christmas productions, INSET days… I still keep my hand in doing some supply, but I wanted something different. At that point I didn’t know what.
When I left the school I was given a voucher to have a beauty treatment, which was perfect as I love to be pampered. I went and had a pedicure. It was nice, but I was completely distracted…It suddenly dawned on me that I actually was a qualified beautician, and that I could carry out treatments to fit around the family, and for a lot cheaper too as I wouldn’t have the overheads. That was in May 2010 and by the end of June the same year, the beauty business began. I don’t hang around when inspired. Sometimes being completely impulsive has its advantages.
On the ‘menu’ I offered Children’s Pamper Parties and very quickly someone booked one for their daughter. I was very nervous beforehand, not knowing whether the girls would like it, whether all would go according to plan, but I loved it, and the girls loved it. Children’s parties ticked all the boxes for me- a bit of ‘teaching’, beauty treatments, no child care issues…perfect. Funnily enough it was for a girl I knew from the school I taught at. I came home and said to my husband ‘That’s it…that’s what I really want to do.’ And so Pamper Parties Oxfordshire was born…
In January 2011, I decided to focus on, and promote the Pamper Parties more. In all honesty I had no idea about how to run a business. It has been a steep, exciting learning curve.
The first few months were devoted to getting the company ‘out there’. I went to school events, placed cards in cafes, advertised on business listing websites, made a Facebook page and generally told anyone that would listen about the parties!
I have learnt a lot. Determined not to take out a loan, I sought to do as much of the work as possible myself. I downloaded graphic design software and designed my logo for marketing material – not an easy task for a rookie, but I soon learnt the difference between jpeg, png and svg images In the design process I also learnt that there are some very lovely fairy pictures to be found, and then there are some that really don’t portray the image I am trying to reflect!!
I also made a website *puffs up with pride at this point* I used a free template and gradually worked on it. I got obsessed with SEO and Google Analytics and Webmaster. I now have 3 websites and have placed Pamper Parties Oxfordshire and Princess Parties Oxfordshire under the company name ‘The Girl’s Party Company’ giving scope for more party options in the future. I have entered the world of Twitter, Facebook pages, LinkedIn and have started Blogging.
I have loved seeing the business grow over the year. I went from offering one party option in the beginning, to now offering four different ones, including ‘The Princess Party’ for younger clientele. I have now pampered over a hundred little Birthday girls. I love the unforeseen opportunities that present themselves as well as the planned progression.
A mum was keen for me to teach her teenage daughter how to look after her skin and apply subtle make-up, and so ‘The Ultimate Beauty Lesson’ was born. The feedback I receive from Mums and the girls is so rewarding. I never get complacent though. I always seek to make improvements. I think that keeps a business ‘fresh’
I would say to anyone thinking of starting their own business- Go for it! Believe in yourself. Don’t let worries about practicalities or self-doubt about your own ability hinder you. Take one step at a time. Write a list of what needs doing and go for it. If one route doesn’t work, try another. If someone had told me two years ago I would have my own business, and be doing Children’s Parties, I would have laughed. I have had people tell me they think I am mad wanting to tend to a group of over-excited children. Maybe I am mad, but I am loving it.
So that’s been my first year. I am looking forward now to 2012 and what it may bring. I have a few ideas of my own for where I hope the business to go, but do you have any ideas for me? A party concept waiting to happen? Do Facebook, Twitter or E-mail to let me know and maybe this time next year there will be a new party…in your honour!
Find me on Facebook www.facebook.com/pages/Childrens-Pamper-Parties-Oxfordshire/120487431349166
and Twitter https://twitter.com/Pamper_Oxon
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