Sarah Beattie: Children’s market a great opportunity for ethical entrepreneurship



Sarah Beattie is a director of Fun Fest, a children’s holiday club, which has taken off throughout affluent areas of England, with over 20 clubs now franchised across the UK.

She explains how the children’s market can be embraced by entrepreneurs, so long as they have the right values.


What do you think of when you paint a visual picture of building a business around children as your customers?


Take a moment to digest this and if you have any negativity, I hope my views, based on experience will dispel them.


For several years, my team and I have been working on a business that has children at the very centre. At its very core, it’s about giving children choice, listening to them and building programmes that they want to participate in.


Children are just small customers


As a mother myself, and with parents in our senior team, we are well aware of the changes to the very fabric of childhood in recent years.


The change in childhood, due to many factors, not least the demands of parents employment workloads, and less physical freedom, is a notable difference to a generation ago. However, these changes mean modern problems need solutions.


These conditions have helped us build a business and children are great customers.


After all, children will say it how it is – even more so than adults, be it good or bad, but that means that feedback is refreshingly honest.


In our case, we realised for too long that many youngsters had gone to holiday clubs unwillingly, whilst their parents went to work, but what we’ve done is simply created a service that children are huge fans of.


In this interconnected world that means they enjoy the experience and then pass that message on to their friends and word gets around.


If children are happy then parents are too


We found holiday clubs can be very tough for some children who feel they don’t have the range of activities to keep them stimulated.  Many children find holiday clubs intimidating and it is not always easy to make new friends, but properly focussing on the needs of the children, in a very child centric way, helps them to overcome this and grow in confidence.


As any parent knows, if the children are happy, you’re happy and this really does relieve the stress and guilt many parents feel about leaving their children in childcare while they juggle their home and professional life.


We embrace feedback at every opportunity and have built a holiday club format with an extremely wide range of activities so that children can choose what to do with their holidays.


Create something with substance


We believe the children’s market is ripe for ideas and entrepreneurship, and there are lots of exciting and innovative new brands launching all the time. Creating a child-centred culture and being ethical in your approach is key.


Pester power and unethical advertising is unhelpful when operating in the this market. It creates resentment and it doesn’t have to be that way.


Children are listened to now more than ever before and tapping into their creative imaginations is richly rewarding.


We are in an era where choice is greater than ever in so many areas, and children are customers who demand choice and fresh, on-trend ideas, so all entrepreneurs should not rest on their laurels and dispel any doubts about this market. It is rewarding on so many levels if the core of the business has the right values.


By Sarah Beattie, Managing Director of Fun Fest Holiday Clubs    


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