This week for my Mums in Business series I am super excited to be featuring Helen who created Wonder Adventures. This is a truly amazing family run business in the North West which creates the best ever sounding kids parties and events that will have your children and their friends talking about it for weeks. The Elf Adventure Challenge just sounds amazing for children this Christmas. I loved hearing how Helen’s children play an active role in the business and understand how important it is for the family. So if you’re feeling inspired or looking for something in the North West then read on…..
Tell me a little bit about you, your background and Wonder Adventures?
We are in the business of bringing imaginative and immersive parties, and events to children. Using our own original material, we take children on fun, action-packed, make believe adventures and inspire them through creative play, characters, interactive games and challenges! We are passionate about encouraging children to learn and enjoy themselves through their own imagination, to be children for as long as possible and to encourage them to get off their screens! We are a family business and have an experienced and dedicated team of performers who love to make a magical and exciting time for children and their families. Our chief testers are our own children George, Daisy & Charlie, aged 10, 9 and 1 and as they are at the forefront of letting us know what children enjoy, it means our experiences are truly authentic!
Our particular USP is that we create our own themes, characters and performances, we tell a story and bring the children into the story. I have written and published two illustrated story books and even produced a Christmas Elf song and video.
We offer 5 themes for our birthday parties and events which all have an element of storytelling, songs and themed games and team challenges. We have branded some of these characters and themes and use them to run through our performances, parties, events and books.
- Dino Disco Adventure Challenge
- Intergalactic Adventure Challenge
- Fairytale Kingdom Adventure Challenge
- Hocus-Pocus Adventure Challenge
- Showtime and Circus Skills Adventure Challenge
We also have a Christmas themed event called The Elf Adventure Challenge which is based on a children’s storybook and is an interactive, indoor experience full of fun and festive activities for children and adults to enjoy together to make everyone feel jolly, merry and full of Christmas spirit! There are challenges including learning how to build the toys, load the sleigh, fuel the sleigh, play Elf games and do the Elf March! It is full of make believe and imagination, is immersive and interactive – not just a ‘sitting on Santa’s knee waiting for a present’ type affair!
So you can see that we are a little different from the ‘hire someone dressed up as a Disney character’ type children’s entertainment and we put in a lot of effort to be original, really involve the children in the games and role plays. It is such great fun and we get huge satisfaction from watching the children become completely immersed in the adventures, then at the end of the party, they are buzzing with excitement and their heads are full of stories and ideas about dinosaurs or wizards or space explorers! They are singing the songs and skipping around. Truly wonderful and heart-warming to see.
What were your motivations for setting up Wonder Adventures?
Some of our key drivers and motivation exist around inspiring children (and parents) to get children away from spending so much time looking at screens and devices and computer games. Obviously we cannot pretend that this technology does not exist and it is a valuable part of all our lives, but we hope to redress the balance a little, draw children back to playing where they think for themselves, create, find out and learn by doing, not just watching or consuming other people’s ideas. That is our real mission and we want to raise awareness of the importance of children using their imagination and raise the bar in children’s entertainment generally. Technology has brought us many amazing things but we do worry for the future if the next generation grow up having missed out on playing, using their imaginations, interacting with other children, creative problem solving and communication skills.
How do you balance the business around family and childcare?
I love the balance that running my business gives our family. Because we work together in the business; we feel like we work together on all aspects of work and family; whether we are running events, dealing with birthday party customers, doing the school run or taking the baby to toddler groups! It means we work more evenings and weekends than we would with a regular job and it also means we rarely ‘switch off’ even having to be on hand and in communication with our team when we are on holiday. But we don’t mind this as it allows us to lead a flexible lifestyle, both spend a great deal of time with the children and as we truly love what we do it’s doesn’t feel like ‘work’! (“If you find a job you love you’ll never work another day in your life’!)
I love how much our children already know about business, enterprise and making their way in the world too. They are involved in our business first hand and experience the challenges as well as the fun and frolics!
In terms of the daily balance though it does rely on being super-efficient, not procrastinating and getting distracted by the rabbit hole of social media and multi-tasking (cooking the tea whilst watching a Facebook ads tutorial or answering emails whilst waiting at the school gate!
Since setting up the business what’s been your biggest success to date?
I would say our biggest success to date would be moving from running The Elf Adventure Challenge at one venue in 2016 to 3 venues in 2017 (one of which being a significant visitor attraction in the North West who have re-booked us for this year) and publishing the children’s storybook and song to go along with this.
What’s your top tip for Mums who are thinking about setting up their own business?
My top tips for anyone thinking of setting up their business would be to have a strong vision for what you want to achieve, break this down into bite size chunks and tasks and simply take action! Work through the list. Be prepared to work hard don’t expect it to be easy and have someone who you can discuss things out with but not someone who doesn’t understand or support what you are doing or self-employment! Don’t listen to drainers or friends and family who are not in your position. Keep the faith!
Thank you so much Helen for taking part in my series, it has been great to read your story, and I wish you and your family all the best for the business in the future.
You can find out more about this fantastic business by following Wonder Adventures on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, by following Helen on Twitter or by checking out the Elf Adventure Challenge on Twitter and Facebook
If you like what you’re reading and would love to be part of my Mums in Business series then just drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or have a nose at some of the other businesses I have featured in the series: The Mindset Mum, JimJams Spreads, and Origin Digital