Foam, strobe lighting and head-banging music might not be the way most people start their working weeks, but for Northern businesswoman Faye Kenny it’s all in a day’s work.
The Leeds mum set-up BoomChikkaBoom back in 2013, shortly after her son Ziah was born, and is now attracting rave reviews for bringing something different to local parenting communities across Yorkshire and beyond.
From themed baby raves incorporating nursery rhymes, salsa moves, bubbles and foam to messy play with glitter, paint and spaghetti, fun and laughter are always on the menu.
And it’s smiles all round for BoomChikkaBoom after it was shortlisted from hundreds of entries as one of Yorkshire Bank’s Top Five local businesses in the country to be in with a chance of receiving £10,000, as part of a competition in partnership with Heart.
“We were looking for businesses with a strong community focus and a distinctive character, as well as those making the most of technology to reach and engage with customers. We were hugely impressed with the range of SMEs that entered,” explains Gavin Opperman, Group Business Banking Director at Yorkshire Bank.
Listeners were asked to nominate small businesses in their communities which they felt deserved a helping hand, and the timing couldn’t have been better for Faye and her team as it coincided with the opening of a new dedicated Leeds venue called Our Place.
“I was looking for extra storage space for all my equipment and came across a warehouse and thought this would be perfect for an event space,” says Faye, 32.
“I had 30 days to raise £7,000 so I launched a kickstarter fund to go towards redesigning the space and creating a café. I couldn’t believe the support I received from families who come to my events.
“And to know some of them have nominated me for the Yorkshire Bank prize means so much too.”
In the midst of all the excitement however, tragedy struck when Faye’s father David suffered a huge cardiac arrest while doing electrical work at her new premises.
“It’s been a rollercoaster ride really,” admitted Faye. “He had to be shocked seven times and spent three weeks in intensive care, but thankfully he pulled through.”
Faye is now passionate about raising awareness about first aid and plans to hold events at her new venue in the future.
For now though, the focus is on continuing to buy more equipment for her growing entertainment empire, which has already seen her being headhunted to host a children’s birthday party for celebrity couple Abbey Clancy and Peter Crouch at their Surrey home.
“We do events all over the country now, but that was very exciting,” she recalled.
“From festivals, family raves, messy play and even sleep-under parties where we set up little tents and serve popcorn, we’ll give anything a go just to offer families something that bit different.”
As a stepmum to two older children aged 15 and 20, Faye understands the challenges families face in finding suitable ways to enjoy their time together.
“There are a lot of classes around that don’t let you bring older siblings,” she said. “But here we say bring them along. We are always flexible to meet the needs of who we’re working with, including people with disabilities or special needs.
“Some say your social life ends when you have children. We say, it’s only just begun!”
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