[email protected] Interview
Interview with Abby-Rose Adams
“It can feel really lonely. You’ll make sacrifices and friends will not understand your lack of available social time. But it is worth it and please know that you are not alone. There are so many networking groups for like-minded people who are out there ready and waiting to cheer you on. .” – Abby-Rose Adams
Today we feature Abby-Rose Adams, the founder at Flossy & Blossom . We hear their story in their own words, their successes, their challenges and their insights.
Let’s start by getting to know you. Can you please tell us a little bit about you and what you do?
I’m Abby-Rose – a self labelled woman of many hats! Performer, graduate, student, teacher, business owner, events manager, professional princess and lover of caffeine.
I currently own two businesses that are closely linked, Flossy * Blossom Parties, which specialises in children’s party entertainment, and Flossy & Blossom Tents and Events, which specialises in tent and igloo hire, and event decor.
A great introduction and start to this interview. Can you please tell us, how did you start, from what age, and what made you decide to change direction and start?
I started working for London & Surrey Mascots at the age of 19, in my first year of university. I was a professional princess! I loved it because I got to combine my love of singing with a flexible weekend job that worked brilliantly with the university. Six months later the owner moved to Bristol and like a crazy person I put together all of my life savings and bought the company off her.
I quickly expanded to a team of six entertainers, and we went from offering three characters to almost 20. We were running multiple parties a weekend and eventually we had to change the name as the original name I felt limited us.
In 2019 I started Flossy & Blossom Tents and Events, starting off with just four indoor sleepover tents. As you can imagine when Covid hit only six months later it looked like both companies would shut down. I took the very last of my savings and invested in a bell tent, and within one month we were completely booked out for the summer.
I kept expanding, offering more bell tents, then garden cinema set ups, and finally igloos, and it just snowballed from there.
Thank you for that insight. So can you tell us…What does your business do and where is your company based?
Nowadays we provide something for almost any event. Our children’s party entertainment is still hugely popular and our characters are out every single weekend. We pride ourself on offering the very best entertainment. All of our entertainers are trained in theatre, and our princesses are all incredible singers.
Our costumes are literally second to none – my mum hand makes them and they are an absolute dream. Every party follows a strict structure and I definitely do mean to toot my own horn when I say they are designed by experts. My five years teaching experience means I really do know how to keep 30 kids entertained at once!
On the other hand, the events company is constantly evolving. We still offer our beautiful sleepover tents but I would say at the moment our igloos are our most popular package. We expertly decorate our igloos or tents and we are always expanding our decorations. Our customers love us because we go above and beyond to make every event special.
Whether the client has booked a tent, igloo, cinema, softplay set up or just those finishing touches for an event, they know we’ll set up and pack down everything, and we’ll work around them as much as possible to be flexible as we do so.
Both companies currently cover London, Surrey and Sussex, but we are expanding to Essex and Reading too. Look out!
What’s the story behind your success? What led to your aha moment? how did you get to where you are now?
Honestly the key has been determination. I have been set back so many times and there have been so many instances where people thought I would just quit. In 2017 I got hacked and we spent a whole Summer unable to respond to a lot of messages, and at the same time the hacker was pulling money from our PayPal account and trying to shut down our Facebook. In 2019 our storage unit burnt down and we lost all of our costumes excluding five, and all of our party equipment.
That one was the worst – we had to completely restart! Then of course Covid and need I say any more?
Covid was honestly the craziest time. I knew we had to stay relevant or we would be forgotten about when covid was over. We also had overheads to pay and companies around us were dropping like flies.
So I did weekly live parties, Saturday night quizzes, sing-alongs, baking with a princess, arts and crafts, and more quizzes. I was live at least five times a week for most of it and I was constantly sharing and posting. I was doing daily zoom character calls, sometimes being up to four characters a day. But we survived and I am so thankful. It was all worth it.
The other key to my success has been having good people around me. I built an exceptional team of entertainers, including my right-hand Princess – Carly – who eventually joined me as a business partner in one of the companies.
It is so important to be able to bounce off another person and to share the load when it gets too heavy. Carly took over the day-to-day running of Flossy & Blossom parties early in 2021, although I still work a lot behind the scenes with the marketing and the networking.
This has allowed me to put more of my time into the events company, which financially shouldered both companies during the pandemic.
Thank you for sharing that. What’s been your life’s biggest lesson so far?
That’s a really tough one! Every time something goes wrong inside OR outside of our control I call it ‘a lesson’ – I joke that I’m sick of ‘lessons’.
The fire was the biggest obstacle I think. We didn’t have insurance (due to the storage unit’s fault and not ours! WE thought we were insured!) so when we had to start again we had to find the money to do so.
Thankfully we’d had a really good December just before the fire, so we had profit to invest. Amazingly we had £1200 raised for us. For four years I had done so much charity work for a wonderful family who organised multiple fundraisers. I’d supported them as much as I could, so after the fire, they insisted on fundraising for me, which really helped get me back on my feet.
The biggest lesson I would say though is ‘trust your gut’, and it’s easier said than done. In my first year of business, I had no idea what I was doing so I took so many risks and they almost all paid off! But then I got cautious. I had a better understanding of how the business worked so I thought through my investments a lot more carefully and I went in the opposite direction for a while and took no risks, and remained stagnant for almost a year.
When it came to the tent company – I wanted a bell tent for months but all my family said to me ‘wait until the companies are a bit stronger. Then of course, covid hit, I ignored everyone and bought a bell tent, and it was an instant success! The exact same thing happened with the igloos. Everyone said it was too much of an investment – but it’s now our best seller! So, I’m not advising you to jump into anything blindly, but trust your own intuition and don’t doubt yourself.
Networking groups exist EVERYWHERE! When I first launched my indoor sleepovers I bought almost everything wrong. My play tents broke immediately. My mattresses were the wrong size. My cushions were not CE marked. About five months later I found a networking group for UK sleepover tent professionals and every single question I had ever had at the beginning of my journey had been asked by someone else. I was able to find all of my answers within half an hour of scrolling through the page. Many hours and over £1000 was wasted.
If you were to go back in time, what piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
Be your own biggest fan. Don’t convince your family and friends to believe in you because they either will or they won’t, but the truth is it doesn’t matter. The only person you need to believe in you is you, and trust me, your customers will.
But more importantly… Ask for help! You don’t need to do everything by yourself. People like to be asked to help, and eventually, you can hire your weaknesses.
We’re nearly halfway through our interview so it’s a great time to ask how does your business run. What three tools make your business run better?
Canva! I love it. I’m so bad at advertising and Canva makes it so simple. You can also have a business account so multiple people can access and edit material.
Facebook Business Suite. This allows me to run Facebook and Instagram in one app. I love it because I can schedule posts, stories, videos, etc, and I can also allow limited access for our entertainers so they can contact clients direct (say if they are arriving at a party).
Google. I have only recently become aware of exactly what Google has to offer! I am slowly changing almost all of my systems onto Google and it is making my life a million times easier. Every single website inquiry automatically goes into a google spreadsheet that I can access. I can keep track of invoices, book events into a shared calendar. It is amazing.
What do you know now that you wished you had known before?
Networking groups exist EVERYWHERE! When I first launched my indoor sleepovers I bought almost everything wrong. My play tents broke immediately. My mattresses were the wrong size. My cushions were not CE marked. About five months later I found a networking group for UK sleepover tent professionals and every single question I had ever had at the beginning of my journey had been asked by someone else. I was able to find all of my answers within half an hour of scrolling through the page. Many hours and over £1000 were wasted.
What has been your greatest or proudest achievement or moment?
I’m going to split this answer between two. Surviving is number one. The fact that I am still here and more successful than ever makes me so proud. So many people thought I couldn’t do it. In the almost seven years I’ve spent building this brand I have finished my undergraduate degree, obtained a post-graduate degree, and completed a master’s. I’ve also worked full time as a teacher but somehow the business remains.
My other proudest achievement would be the socially distanced character parade I organised at the end of the first lockdown. I was so aware that kids hadn’t been able to see characters for months, and I really wanted to spread some cheer. Myself and a few other entertainers dressed as popular characters and completed what would usually have been a 47-minute walk – it took us two and a half hours because so many people joined in! I was blown away.
I had advertised for weeks but I only expected to see maybe 70 children. Over 300 came to join us and I remember bursting into tears after – I was so proud of my team.
What future life goals do you want to achieve and why?
Right now my goal is to get big enough to need a warehouse. I think we’re about one year away from that right now but I do believe it’s totally possible.
To finish our inspire questions…”We believe that sharing inspiring words can inspire others.” If there was one positive thing you would say to someone to inspire and empower them what would it be and why?
It can feel really lonely. You’ll make sacrifices and friends will not understand your lack of available social time. But it is worth it and please know that you are not alone. There are so many networking groups for like minded people who are out there ready and waiting to cheer you on.
“Thank you it has been great learning more about your founder story and Flossy & Blossom “
To learn more about Flossy & Blossom Visit www.flossyblossomtents.co.uk
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