Business, Marketing, and Life Advice for Play-Based Business Owners

6 Ways we Deliver an Above-and-Beyond Birthday Party Experience

Apr 11, 2019

At Climbing Vines Cafe & Play, we offer a variety of services from classes and camps to open-play and private events. It’s our adult and child-friendly birthday parties, though, that we have chosen as our focus.

While we, of course, put time and resources towards making each aspect of our business the best it can be, I have found that having one primary focus helps us best serve our customers. Having one top priority has also helped our indoor playground stand out against our local...

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9 Tips for Handling Online Criticism as a Business Owner

Mar 13, 2019

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR INDOOR PLAYGROUND (OR YOU!) GET NEGATIVE FEEDBACK ONLINE

If I am being honest, this has been a post that’s been on my “idea board” for months. Handling online criticism has always been a struggle for me, and I am still constantly learning and maturing as a business owner.

This past week, I had an angry woman orchestrate a coordinated social media attack on my business and me personally, and it left me gutted for hours. I could tell soon after she...

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The 3 Most Common Complaints We Get (And Why I Choose to Ignore Them)

Mar 11, 2019

Over the last 3 years in business, we have gathered a tremendous amount of feedback from our community. While we try and take all of this into account and make improvements and changes based on the needs of our customers, we sometimes get suggestions that we choose to not implement.

This isn’t to say that we don’t value these suggestions or the customers who make them. However, I firmly believe that if you try to please every person who comes across your business, you will end up...

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Opening an Indoor Playground- The 6 Main Ways to Make Money

Mar 04, 2019

SECRETS OF A OPERATING A PROFITABLE INDOOR PLAYGROUND

One of the most common questions I get from my students inside Play Cafe Academy and from prospective owners inside my inbox is: how do we make money? So, variations of this question might be, What are our revenue streams? How do they compare to one another? Is there a “right” model to make the most money when operating an indoor playground or play cafe?

And my answer, for my business, is simple. We focus on parties. That is...

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3 Ways to Fund your Indoor Playground Business

Feb 11, 2019

After helping dozens of indoor playground owners and prospective owners get their businesses up and running, I have noticed that the funding phase can be the most difficult part of the process. In fact, of the prospective owners I have worked with that did NOT end up making it to the finish line, most have cited insufficient funding as their reason for halting progress on their plans.

While insufficient funding can certainly be a very real issue you face on this journey, I would like to...

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The 6 Biggest Misconceptions I Hear about Starting an Indoor Playground Businesses

Feb 04, 2019

Through the years I have gotten hundreds, maybe THOUSANDS of calls, emails, and in-person inquiries from prospective play cafe owners. They generally all start the same, with an innocent, “Hey Michele, I was wondering if I could pick your brain about opening a play cafe in my area?”  When I had more time and only one business, I took close to 100 of these calls and meetings.

This was one of the many reasons I created Play Cafe Academy; because I noticed everyone had the same...

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The 5 BEST Things about Opening an Indoor Playground

Jan 30, 2019

HOW OPENING A PROFITABLE INDOOR PLAYGROUND HAS BROUGHT JOY, OPPORTUNITY, AND VALUE TO OUR LIVES ABOVE THE INCOME IT PROVIDES!

As an owner, I am constantly scrutinizing my business and making tweaks to our processes and systems to maximize our profits and elevate our clients’ experiences, and often forget to reflect on the immeasurable joy this venture has brought to our family.

Yes, there have been tough times-- lots of tears and many hours spent away from my family while getting our...

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4 Ways to Market an Indoor Playground or Play Cafe

Jan 17, 2019

IF YOU’RE CONSIDERING OPENING AN INDOOR PLAYGROUND, MARKETING IT INEXPENSIVELY IS ESSENTIAL! LEARN HOW YOU CAN MARKET YOUR INDOOR PLAYGROUND EVEN MONTHS BEFORE YOU OPEN!

Many owners feel like marketing their business online is just putting posts up on Facebook, but there is SO much more to it than that. Marketing is building an email list, it’s having a high-converting website, it’s having a word-of-mouth marketing strategy, and it’s converting your customers with...

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Why Should You Open an Indoor Playground or Play Cafe?

Dec 20, 2018

A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE FOR OUR 3RD BIRTHDAY 

Exactly THREE years ago, my husband Chris and I were finally able to see almost a YEAR of our hard work come to life when we opened Climbing Vines Cafe & Play and hosted our first birthday party for a lucky little one!  

Since then, we have hosted over 550 parties, held over 200 special events and classes, and greeted thousands of smiles that walked through our door.

It has undoubtedly been the most difficult, yet most rewarding...

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Are Indoor Playground Businesses Profitable?

Dec 19, 2018

IF YOU’RE CONSIDERING OPENING AN INDOOR PLAYGROUND, LEARN WHICH FACTORS WILL BE MOST IMPORTANT IN DETERMINING WHETHER OR NOT YOUR INDOOR PLAYGROUND WILL BE PROFITABLE!

This past week I learned that another play space in my area was closing its doors. In a letter posted to social media, the owner wrote, “Sadly, the business has not proven to be financially sustainable.” These words have been in my mind since I read them.

Being so close in proximity to my own business, I...

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Can I Send You My NEW Free 2023 "What's Working In The Indoor Play Industry" Guide?

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!