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

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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Considering Opening an Indoor Playground? Ask Yourself These 10 Questions First

Dec 15, 2018

DOWNLOAD- The 10 Questions Checklist- PDF

If you are one of the brave souls considering play-cafe ownership, congratulations! The time for diving in and implementing this business model is NOW. With many retail spaces closing, real-estate vacancies are on the rise causing rent (on average) to experience a simultaneous decline and therefore the barriers-to-entry in the brick-and-mortar space are lower than ever.

One of the reasons for these vacancies is the increasing demand for convenience....

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3 Mistakes to Avoid when Opening an Indoor Play Center

Dec 15, 2018

After 3 years in business at Climbing Vines Cafe & Play, I finally understand the saying, “Hindsight is 20/20.” As I was preparing to open our indoor playground, my never-ending task list seemed overwhelming.  As a result, I rushed through a few crucial phases of the opening process. While discussing this topic with other play cafe owners, I realized I was not alone. It’s certainly easy to make a few oversights and incorrect decisions when you face so many daily....

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7 Crucial Steps to Opening a Play Cafe or Indoor Playground

Dec 15, 2018

If you’re considering indoor playground or play cafe ownership, then let me be the first to congratulate you! You are likely daydreaming of this process because you are hoping to:

  1. Spend more time with your family

  2. Supplement your income, and

  3. Create a positive and lasting impact in your community

Four years ago, I was in your exact spot. I was at my desk job with my newborn baby at home, feverishly researching the play-cafe business model during my lunch hours, consuming as much...

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6 tips for Planning Your Play Cafe Space

Dec 15, 2018

Once you’ve signed your lease on your indoor playground or play cafe space, it’s time to design the interior of your business! I recommend hiring a skilled local architect that specializes in entertainment or retail space. Someone who specializes in office space, for example, won’t be able to help you design a check-in process that will boost your sales and streamline your customer’s experience.

Even if you hire an architect, they will only be able to get you so far...

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5 Great Ideas to Incorporate into Your Indoor Play Area or Play Cafe

Dec 15, 2018

When I was pinning ideas for my indoor playground, I came across dozens (perhaps hundreds!) of amazing ideas, and just could not incorporate them all. After owning my play cafe for over 3 years now, I may be a little biased, but I still think our play area is the bees-knees! I want to share a few of the ideas that made the cut, and a few I wish we could incorporate that I think you and your customers will enjoy as much as I do.

 The priorities for me are cleanliness, inclusivity, and...

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Can I Send You My NEW Free 2024 "What's Working In The Indoor Play Industry" Guide?

I asked 11 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 2024 "What's Working" Guide!