Oh it’s been an age since we’ve interviewed a Maman of interest in Cheltenham so I’m really pleased to bring the feature back to the blog. This time however I’ve got an additional treat in store. Today on CheltenhamMaman we meet Georgina Thorne (pictured with her husband Andy). Cheltenham dwellers, digital marketers and a mum and dad with a very exciting idea. Thanks so much George for letting me delve into your psyche!
CMHQ: We start every interview at CheltenhamMaman with a question about your small people so who have you got?
GT: We’ve got 2 small people, Elijah and Felix.
Elijah is 7 and is into skate parks, lego, and building dens. Felix, he’s 4 and loves his bike, horses and covering himself with paint.
It’s because of these two boys and our need to spend quality family time together, that the concept of Play came to light.
CMHQ: You’re also running a fantastic local business – tell us about Factory Pattern?
GT: Factory Pattern is our digital agency, specialising in web design, user experience and digital marketing.
We work with B2C companies, especially online shops who need to gain new customers and make the most of their existing customers to increase online sales and fuel their growth.
It’s going to be our 10th anniversary next October which is really exciting.
CMHQ: And George you recently passed on the title of Digital Woman of the Year to yours truly. You won in 2016 and this was the inspiration behind your other venture She Is Digital – tell us about that?
GT: Yes it was. I wanted to share my agency knowledge of digital marketing to help women startups or women who have already set up a business and need some extra help getting themselves out there in the big wide web.
She Is Digital is first and foremost a website with lots of helpful articles on digital marketing, from social media marketing to email newsletters.
I also run workshops on different areas of digital marketing and occasionally do talks on the subject.
CMHQ: So sounds like you’re both pretty busy really but I suppose one of the joys of being your own Mum and Dad Boss is that you get to decide the projects you get involved in. You have a vision for Cheltenham – one that I’m really excited about. Tell us about Play?
GT: Our vision of Play is for it to be a family cafe with a twist.
It will be a place you can take your kids to for a play, but is an environment that grown-ups will enjoy spending time in as well.
It will have a bit of a creative vibe, with great coffee and healthy food.
CMHQ: What would make PLAY different from the other family friendly offerings that we have in Cheltenham?
GT: The difference is that Play is designed for the whole family and will consider everyone’s needs, from the look and feel of the space, the play equipment we provide and the food we serve.
Here are the 3 things that make Play different:
- Relaxed, Creative Play Environment
There will be permanent play spaces where children can properly interact with each other and immerse themselves into their own imaginary worlds.
Rather than plastic soft play structures that prescribe a particular type of play, we’ll offer simple structures and objects that can be shaped into whatever your imagination can conjure up.
For example, they could decide a simple wooden structure is going to be a castle, or a house, or a cave, there’ll be no limits.
- Great Food and Drink
Eating at Play will be a pleasure, not something you have to endure because you’re kids are in the play area.
Imagine that cool coffee shop you walk passed with the children and you think to yourself, “is there somewhere I can put the pushchair? will there be a changing table?” or “the people in there look a bit cool and will roll their eyes when I walk in with my kids”.
At Play you won’t have to worry about all that stuff, because we’ll have you covered, and our staff are their to serve and support, not judge.
Play will have space for both children and grown-ups to do workshops, learn new skills and get a bit creative.
This will also provide an opportunity for local family centred businesses and organisations to host their own workshops and events and build awareness around what they do.
The cafe space will be somewhere self employed parents can come and ‘hot desk’ or co-work while their children are with them.
CMHQ: Taking your idea and making it a reality sounds like a pretty huge task. PLAY is coming to Maman Goes Pop! tell us what you hope to achieve through the pop up?
GT: Making Play a reality will be a huge task and one that requires a lot of listening and a lot of research.
What we want to achieve by being part of the pop-up, is to get to know the community better and test out the concept of Play on families to find out if it is in fact something they want or need.
CMHQ: And how can people support the concept?
GT: You can support us by coming along to the pop-up event at the Wilson Gallery from Monday 30th October to Saturday 4th November.
There are plenty of things to do throughout the week, from creative workshops for kids to more mindful moments for grown-ups.
We’re even having a family disco!
We would also love to hear from you, because you are who we’re creating Play for. Come and talk to us about what you feel is lacking in traditional kids indoor play areas and cafes.
If you can’t make it to the event you can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any thoughts or ideas on how Play could work for you.
CMHQ: What else do we need to know about PLAY?
GT: That we’ll be back at the Wilson on Saturday 16th December for a day of Play.
We’re going to be part of the ‘Breaking New Ground’ exhibition which is running from the 11th November to the 17th December.
We are going to create a cardboard playground, which will be made of a series of cardboard structures for the children and adults to explore.
There will be a cardboard maze to explore, a cardboard forest and boxes galore for you to add to the cardboard landscape.
We hope to put on a series of pop-up events in the new year too, before we establish our permanent home.
So make sure you sign up to the newsletter, or follow us on Facebook or Instagram and we’ll keep you updated on what’s going on at Play.
Brilliant Geoge – again thanks for taking the time to talk to me today. Can’t wait to share the pop up space with you guys and to see what direction this concept moves in. It’s safe to say we are 100% on board with your vision here at CheltenhamMaman so you’ll have to come back in six months and update us all on your progress.