On my Profitable Play Podcast, I have already talked a LOT about black Friday and cyber Monday. Back in episode 134 I gave you some ideas for promotions you could do for your business and I gave a little 2023 update with some new and fresh ideas in episode 243. And in episode 135 I even gave you some ideas for black friday sales to take advantage of for your BUSINESS.
But in THIS article, I want to talk about YOU.
I am going to break down a list of gift ideas that are absolutely perfect, in my humble opinion, for an indoor playground owner or play cafe owner-- even if they haven't opened their space just yet.
So whether you put these on your own wish list or if you forward this episode to a loved one to give them some ideas, I came up with 18 gift ideas for YOURSELF this holiday season.
Now there are a mix of professional and personal ideas and just be aware– I skipped over some of the more obvious options like a weekend away or a spa certificate or a nice dinner out. I really wanted to curate a more unique list ahead of black Friday so you have plenty of time to plant any seeds with your loved ones if any of these ideas interest you… OR, go ahead and treat yourself next week when a LOT of these items will be going on sale.
Honestly, this might be my favorite one on the list so we are starting off strong.
Every single professional or entrepreneur should get updated professional headshots at least once every other year. Every single time I have done an interview or had an article written about me or done any sort of collaboration– one of the main things they ask for is a headshot.
And let me tell you, as someone who often requests head shots from my guests to use for social media and email and thumbnails and all that– when I get sent an iphone pic– not only can I tell immediately that it’s not professional, it makes it really hard to use. The file is generally much smaller and grainier than I’d like, and if it’s been filtered or anything like that it can really make it difficult to print or display or post in a finished product.
And customers can tell too.
So if you’re using photos of yourself on your website or in your media kit or when you send our headshots– NOW is the time to upgrade. Cell phone pictures do not belong on your website and you should not be sending them out as headshots. I also will see a lot of people sending out a professional family portrait as a headshot– and while this can work if the piece it’s being used for is solely about your family– it is NOT the same as a headshot.
You’re a BUSINESS owner, take some pride in that. Own it. I know it may be tempting to use A.I. but trust me, as someone who has seen a lot of these being used, it’s worth the investment to have REAL photos taken at least every other year of yourself.
You can go to a studio or have photos done in your space– but this would be at the TOP of my Christmas list if I didn’t already get some done this year.
I reached out to a local headshot photographer, chose a headshot package for my husband, I paid and tipped ahead of time, and they sent me a gift certificate in the mail at no extra cost!
And hey– see if you can maybe get a storytelling package where that photographer takes some more candid-type photos of you and maybe even your staff and customers throughout your space.
These packages will be a bit more expensive but can be GOLD when it comes to your marketing materials. Lots of times if you have print ready photography that you own the commercial license to, newspapers and magazines will be a lot more likely to print a piece about you or your business because you’re making it incredibly easy and cost effective for them!
If you need some tips about setting up and organizing these shoots so you get the best bang for your buck– head to episode 180 of this podcast.
As I detail in episode 20 of this podcast, a high quality camera with video capabilities can benefit your business in SO many ways–
From increasing the value of your events by adding high quality images of your guests to increasing the quality of your marketing materials to empowering your employees to create videos and other assets during their downtime–
I truly believe a high quality camera can be an incredible investment. There is of course a wide range of cameras to choose from in terms of price, but if you are looking for a camera that can “live” at your space, I found a highly rated and affordable option on Amazon that will suit your needs!
When I owned my space and also had 2 toddlers running around, the LAST thing I wanted to do in terms of exercise was get on a piece of cardio equipment at the gym..
Yoga was a way that allowed me to prioritize my physical health while also giving me some time to SLOW DOWN, breathe, and wash away whatever was on my mind that day. And to this day I always ask for yoga passes for my birthday and Christmas, even if you’re a complete novice– give it a try. There are typically a variety of classes varying in intensity and my studio even offers sound baths–
Which let me tell you, if you are in a loud and chaotic indoor playground all day, can be so calming and healing for your mind and nervous system.
This is another BIG one for any brick and mortar business owner. Lots of times we prioritize keeping our facilities clean, and can be guilty of neglecting our homes.
Obviously an ongoing service would be ideal, but even having even a one time seasonal deep clean can be a breath of fresh air for the overwhelmed indoor playground owner and their families, and give you a fresh start, especially for those of us who will be in the grips of our busy season over the wintertime.
Now this was never my thing, but I love the idea of gifting a house organizing service. Especially for the highest traffic areas like the pantry or mudroom area– this can result in tons of time saved and mental load lifted.
While I don’t typically love giving gift cards, I do love instacart. Sometimes I just need permission to have something delivered instead of getting off my tired butt and going to get it myself to save a few dollars. And it’s nice because you can instacart anything these days– in fact, just yesterday I needed kids cough medicine ASAP but didn’t want to bring my coughing son out in public, so I instacarted it and it was at my door in 20 minutes. With cold and flu season coming, I would gladly welcome an instacart gift card. And gift cards can be dressed up a bit if you’re giving it as part of a gift basket or care package.
Now I am NOT talking about the kinds you have to cook here.
Those are great, but here I am referring to things that are ready to heat or are grab and go. I love Thrive Market for this and I just found Hungry Root also.
I love cooking dinner so I am not a huge fan of the meal kits you have to cook, but I struggle with breakfasts, lunches, and snacks– especially during the winter because it feels like we are always on the go and it’s so tempting to just hit up a drive thru. I would absolutely love to just have a ready made selection of healthy meal and snack options for that first part of the day.
I am currently embracing a sober lifestyle so while last year I would have suggested a wine subscription, this year I am really into herbal teas and they have been such a game changer to my routine.
I felt like I was always just getting the basic teas though, so a tea subscription would be a really easy way for me to expand my horizons and learn more about what’s out there. So if there’s anything right now that YOU would like to dive deeper into, whether it’s tea or pottery or oil painting– I’m sure there’s a subscription box for that. Many companies do great black friday deals for annual subscriptions!
Because I see all of you social media savvy owners walking around your spaces on live or recording tik toks or reels on your phone. They are all amazing but having extra lighting can take your videos to the next level for a very small investment.
The one I got is around $30 and has really made a huge difference!
Even if you’re an indoor playground owner, if you’re like me you still have a space in your home where you do admin tasks and planning stuff.
For me it’s a spare bedroom– and until we moved into a new house, my workspace was honestly kind of blah. I never felt excited to be there and it didn’t make me feel inspired.
So whether you have a whole room to yourself or if you have just a small space or closet– wall art that you love can really give you that extra boost of serotonin and motivation on your tougher days.
My favorite artist is Brittany Fanning, and while her original works sell for many thousands of dollars, her prints go on sale once in a while for around $100 each and I have 2 currently in my office. They are so colorful and vibrant and I get compliments on them with people I zoom with ALL the time.
I know I said I’d spare the obvious ones, but a good planner or journal is a MUST for me as a business owner. So if you’re planning to ask for one or buy one for yourself, start looking at your options now so that if they do go on sale, you’ll already know which one you believe is best suited to your needs.
Now full disclosure, this as well as the next few items kind of fall into the category of “man, I WISH someone in my life would think to get this for me”. The kind of thing that is so special and memorable but it feels kind of silly to get for yourself. So 2 things before we get into these next 3 ideas.
1. Please feel free to share this episode or blog to drop a shameless hint
2. Do NOT ever feel silly getting these things for yourself
I love the idea of personalized stationery and I actually use it much more than I ever expected. I use it to write thank you notes, leave notes for our staff, make memos for myself, you name it.
It makes me feel really legitimate as a business owner and is just a nice touch when you’re sending a handwritten note out.
Kudos to my Mom who gave me this idea. She went to ETSY and she sent in newspaper clipping of our grand opening, and the Etsy shop owner made it into a little plaque I could hang up in our space or my office. It was such a sweet gesture and it’s something I am going to keep forever and ever and probably pass onto my kids someday since my older son happens to also be in the photo.
The shop she used is no longer in business, but here’s a listing with great reviews!
This is probably my second favorite on the list. As you likely heard already I commissioned an Etsy artist to get a cartoon rendering of our space that we used on our birthday invitations. But how beautiful would it be to have your space hand painted in your favorite medium?
That way if you’re like me and sell and move away or move on someday, you will always have this keepsake to hold close and cherish.
Ok back to practicality.
Something I started using recently and WISH I had gotten when I owned my space is noise canceling headphones.
Sometimes I loved working at my space but it was too gosh darn loud to think.
Being a local business owner means lots of vendor events, long days, and being away from home. I always kept a charged battery pack with me for my phone just in case I was out and about and was using my phone a lot for videos or for orders and I needed some extra battery.
As I am sitting here recording this I am looking at a Money Tree I have successfully kept alive, on my desk, for over 2 years now.
There is a lot of lore behind the Money Tree but it is supposed to bring luck and abundance, so it’s one of my favorite things to gift business owners, especially if they have a physical location.
Last but not least, I always go crazy over a high quality travel tote or backpack. Again, as local business owners we are on the go a LOT and as someone who never spent more than $40 on a bag untilI reached my 30’s, I now know that spending a bit more for quality is worth it if you can swing it.
Alright that wraps up my 2023 indoor playground owner Gifting Guide NOT for your businesses necessarily– but for yourselves.
I asked 7 Play Cafe Academy and Play Maker Society members what is working RIGHT NOW in their businesses to attract customers and grow sales. I want to send you their answers in my FREE newly updated 2023 "What's Working" Guide!