Nearly 2 years ago we worked with two entrepreneurial women, Jenny and Tamar, and helped them through the first steps of property development for a commercial space. We looked at the initial feasibility and space planning. Among other things, there were restrictions on the lease regarding the shop frontage which needed to be resolved in order to maximise natural light on possible layouts. We recently went back to visit and had a chat with Jenny about her thoughts on the project looking back.
Inhabitat: Where did the concept for the business emerge from?
Jenny: We saw the need for better adult and child daytime activity options. We didn’t want to be in the mainstream soft play market. We hope Jelly Lounge provides a more premium experience and unlocks better family time by making it as relaxing for adults as it is fun for children.
I: As women in construction we have to go the extra mile. Did you experience this?
J: Yes a little, the hardest thing was finding the property and convincing the landlords that we weren’t two whimsical mums who didn’t know how to run a business.
I: How did you and Tamar find starting a business as well as being mothers?
J: The last push was exhausting. I think employing a site manger would have made it easier.
I: Would you consider replicating it in another town? What would you do differently?
J: Yes and in similar towns to Windsor. The overall size here is right. However we may balance the areas out slightly differently. For example, we’ve realised that the serving area needs to be bigger and restaurant smaller. We target urban thinkers and young parents – the ‘work from home’ market. We would also add more focus on parents seating in the play area. Some parents want time out but some want to sit closer.
I: You worked with an interior designer. Tell us about that process.
J: Yes, Dana Tonkin [of Basis Point Design] did the interior and design branding throughout and helped us choose colours and vinyls. For us what makes the current soft play market unpleasant is there’s too much colour, often primary and looks tacky and off the shelf. We wanted to address the balance for adult and children. In the play area the colour does become more intense but not too much.
Tamar: Dana liked and understood our vision and managed to bring it to life.
I: The castle vinyl as you come in is very urban.
J: We thought a lot about the entrance as it’s the first thing customers are presented with. Our name ‘Jelly Lounge’ matches our unique selling point perfectly as it’s a combination of fun for the children (‘Jelly’) and sophistication for adults (‘Lounge’). This is what makes us an unique proposition in our town.
See short video from our visit here.