It’s been 20 days since I decided to own up to the fact I wanted to open Littlebearabroad – “the Space”. And, that’s about that! Since then we’ve been battling the fab VAB, dealing with life admin stuff…but most of all I’ve been coming to terms with the GIGANTIC task that I’ve set myself (yelp!).
On the surface it’s such a brilliant idea. So simple and once up and running there could be so many uses for it. Then you start getting into the nitty gritty and you realise why nobody has done this before. You find out about those who have come before you, tried and succeeded to a certain extent. You hear about the baby cafe spaces that have been born and died (poor pun, sorry) because they just couldn’t turnover a profit. But, hey, if it’s meant to be this difficult then nobodies going to copy it, right?
So, at the moment I’m still writing the business plan and putting all the experiences I’ve had in the last 6 months about working with international parents. How important it is to them for something to be flexible, non-commital and low-cost. Their need for activities vs events and how important it is for a space to feel just as comfortable for the parents as well as the kids. But, for a space to be successful, long-standing and consistent a profit element has to be at the core of the business. So, how do these two sets of needs cross over. Get your Venn diagrams ready people! One of the biggest brain-teasers that’s currently rolling around in my head is my lack of funds. No joke, I have about 80sek in my bank account at the moment and I’m making this all up in fantasyland. But, you have to start somewhere and I might as well write down all the ideas before someone else takes them. So, if you know of anyone with a few million kroner knocking around…Next week I’m meeting with some start-up agencies in the hope that they’ll fall at my feet…hahaha. I’m laughing because on the inside I’m crying.
There are already so many brilliant examples of what I am trying to achieve out there. The FMLY Store in Bruton, Somerset, established by Molly Gunn aka @SelfishMother who set up the space in 2016. It caters for the whole family with a cafe, play area and crafts. Fount London in East London, established by Rachel Munro-Peebles and Elena Mackey. Their moto,”Eat, Play, Shop”, emphasises the importance of somewhere that families can do everything together. They’re also massive supporters of startups, small businesses offering out space for hire and Pop-up events. Babies and Bumps Cafe in Morningside, Edinburgh is a fantastic example of a purpose-built baby cafe with specially designed seating, play area and menus. It also offers weekly classes for parents and parents-to-be and activities on site.
So, right now, it’s all about reigning in the initial idea and testing the waters. Of course, there are people in Stockholm who would benefit from an English-speaking, international baby and toddler cafe. But, how would they use it and would it be sustainable? That’s why I’m focusing on creating a week long Pop-up version of the concept. It’s more affordable (obvs) and it would be a huge learning experience for me to know what you, good people, want from it. Do you want information about life in Stockholm? Do you just want somewhere really cool to hang out with your mum friends? Are classes and activities ideal or just organised-fun?
Some of the ideas I’ve had so far:
- Arts n Crafts morning
- Pottery painting
- Music classes
- Dance classes
- Sling library
- Swedish classes for parents and babies
- Cut your own kids hair classes
- Kids hair dresser
- Book exchange
- Party hire
- Evening hire
- Shop new and independent European brands.
Do you have any suggestions…?