The business was born after one mum decided to create a post on Facebook
A couple from Preston say their lives transformed they day they decided to set up their own business.
Anna Womack and Harrison Croft have spent the last two years shaping their lives and business around their family. The parents of two little girls, the couple’s success sparked from a single Facebook post.
Anna, 22, juggled various jobs before and after her kids arrived including hairdressing, but the mum-of-two always knew they weren’t right for her. Ahead of the birth of her second child in early 2020, she decided to create own balloon arch for her baby shower – with the intention of giving it away the day after.
Posting the arch on Facebook, Anna found the display was snapped up in minutes.. And within a week, she found herself being hired for events as large as weddings.
“Pretty much within that first week of having my baby shower, we’d already done a full blown wedding with balloons,” Anna said. “So it very quickly and unexpectedly took that turn but then once I did that I never looked back and it was literally the best decision I ever made.
“At the time my partner he worked nights, I was at home with a little baby expecting another one and and I think we just we just want it’s something that was fun.
“I’ve been to college and done hairdressing and you know, all the things that people have suggested to me and they just weren’t for me. And then as just all of a sudden just found one thing and it just clicks and it’s stuck- we haven’t had one weekend off since starting.”
This became the start of Lancashire Florals & Events where after getting a degree in floristry, Anna was able to expand her business and take on more events. Being a mum of two, she says she’s finally found the job that works around her family, allowing her to do more with her time.
“It has completely changed my life. The fact that everything is so flexible, it sometimes scares me because I’m like, I make all the decisions, I plan the schedule, I check the times and I’m like, oh my god, what a huge responsibility,” Anna said.
“But you know what, to this day it’s just been amazing.”
When she first pitched the idea to her family, Anna says they were supportive – if a little concerned. Her mum and dad wondered where she was going to get the cash to support her young family.
But she told LancsLive: “I think if anything it only drove me more and I got to do this amazing thing because what we what I do is really beautiful. I get to go and help people celebrate their happiest times it’s so nice and then the fact that I get to do it all based from home, I get to be around my kids.”
As the business became more and more established, Anna says she became more and more passionate. For her, customer service is just as important, if not more than the product itself – and she admits she finds it hard to detach herself from the customer’s wants and needs.
She said: “Sometimes I can get so frustrated because I care so much. You know, every single client who comes to me I care so much and sometimes you have to detach yourself because it literally means so much to me, and even the slightest complaint over things as as trivial as, say a colour of a balloon wasn’t quite as a client had imagined it.
“I take that so personally, I literally am that heartbroken because it literally means so much to me I care so much that people love what I do. I think as a younger person in my early early 20s, having that confidence in your business and having people take you seriously, sometimes it’s hard.
“We’ve come up against it sometimes where we’ve almost felt robbed. We’ve had things taken from setups and you know, things that. have like cost us money and other things like that. There’s no rule book, there’s no one telling me how to do things or showing me the way it’s sort of all just learning as we go along.
“We just have to do our best really and that’s how we’ve got on as far as we have we to start with the intention to just do the very best we can and if someone’s not happy, C’est la vie.”
Despite recent moments of worry and frustration, Anna has taken the business a step further with the help of her partner Harrison. In January 2022, he left his night job and took joint responsibility of the events business as well as setting up the new and exciting venture.
Together, the couple launched Playfridges&Co, a soft play hiring company where play areas of varying sizes and designs can be rented out for home play, events and weddings. Unlike other soft play sets, Anna and Harrison’s company deals with on neutral colours schemes, in particular, beige and white.
Anna said: “What we’ve found recently is that people really want plain, they’re just so into it because I think people say when they look back on the pictures some of them can be a complete and utter eyesore. So I think people really like the fact that they look so nice, but they also still have all those fun elements is nothing different.
“Everything goes on the internet doesn’t it- we always joke about when we say: ‘It didn’t happen if it doesn’t go on the feed’. Everyone likes to say that they had the best and had the nicest looking stuff.”
Among the couple’s aesthetically-pleasing offerings is a completely white bouncy castle. And plans don’t stop there for the couple who are now gearing up to launch their own soft play centre for stay and play sessions.
The ‘Stay&Play’ venture is the next step in their soft play business to be held at Milly&Bloom Photography Studio, in Bamber Bridge.
- 05:35, 27 SEP 2022