Monday, 20 September 2010

Guest Blog - How Do I Choose a Party Entertainer? By Dov Citron


First let me introduce Dov, he is fantastic, amazing, talented and never ever lets me down. He has worked for royalty and celebrities as well as my own son's party and he has high standards I can tell you.

I asked Dov to do a guest blog on what parents should look for when choosing an entertainer and why it is not an easy job to get it right.

So please let me hand over To Dov Citron:-

It is a source of great sadness to me when I hear or read about parents and party organisers who speak in truly negative terms about their experience of an entertainer.

"He didn't really manage to control the children."

"I could have done her job much better myself."

"He never told me what he was planning to do."

It is clear to me that children's entertainer's differ greatly across the board.

Any 18 year old out of School, College or University filling time before there next full-time job or looking for a bit of work over the summer holidays can set themselves up as a children's entertainer but that does not mean they are any good. If you are used to paying £100 or less for your entertainer then, no doubt the above is probably what you have experienced. So for those of you who are unaware; there is a fabulous alternative to this type of entertainer.

I am a professional children's entertainer. This is not my part-time job. This is what I do for a living. I am equity registered. I am public liability insured. I hold full public liability insurance and have both CRB enhanced and Police Checks which I renew regularly.

When I arrive at a party; I am fully costumed and already performing as the character I have been booked to entertain as. I bring with me a colourful trunk containing magic, balloons, props for interactive games, plates and sticks and a fantastic smoking dragon for which I have a full risk assessment. I also bring five pop-up banners with colourful graphics on them and a PAT tested amplifier with a radio mic. I run all my music off an ipod which allows for the slick transfer of one tune to another. I also bring a giant bubble wand, limbo poles, a bubble machine and a snow machine as standard. It takes me less than ten minutes to set up and the same to pack down.

My parties are always very interactive with the young participants sitting down only for short periods during the show where they are still fully interacting by clapping their hands, calling and responding and laughing their heads off. My entertainment is always about having fun. I do not expect them to learn anything (they get enough of that at school). It is pure unadulterated amusement. Also, there is nothing vulgar or smutty about my shows. I don't need to resort to these tactics to entertain children and I don't believe in using language they wouldn't hear at home.

I always perform as the character the client has requested throughout the party, not just as an entertainer in a costume. I do my research. After all I have children of my own so I am constantly being bombarded with images of Ben 10, Sponge Bob, Peppa Pig, Sporticus, Power Rangers, Super Heroes and whatever the latest Pixar or Disney film is. Even when I can't physically costume up as the birthday child's favourite character; I will always ensure I know everything about that character so that I can make the child's party as special and bespoke as possible.

As a result of my passion and dedication for my work; I have won numerous children's entertainer awards, I lecture on children's entertainment at Conventions around the Country including Kidology 2010 which was held in Wolverhampton on Sept 7th 2010, I train entertainers for both the party and holiday Industry and I have entertained at parties for the children of many famous and wealthy people including Madonna and Downing Street.

I guess what I'm trying to say is; you can expect more from your entertainer's. There are plenty of us out there who do this for a living and for whom this is not a 'fill in' or 'part time' job. To get the best; talk to your friends and colleagues, collect recommendations, watch the entertainer's at the parties of your children's friends and use respected party agencies like Les Enfants who only hire entertainer's who have been rigorously checked and that maintain high standards.

Children only have a party once a year and only for the shortest part of their life. I beleive these experiences should be nothing short of magical and I believe it is worth taking the time to get it absolutely right. Don't you?

Dov Citron is an award winning entertainer, workshop co-ordinator and lecturer. He runs his own company called MAD House Entertainment Ltd and is available to hire through Les Enfants.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Introduction!

This is my first ever blog so here goes.

A quick introduction to you all, not only am I new to blogging, but to Les
Enfants. I have known Katie since our school days and through the
technology of Facebook and email, we have been able to update each other on
our lives since then. I am delighted to be able to help Les Enfants with
their online shop. Not only is this a fun and exciting area to source
product, I am so very grateful to be able to do this from home around my
two small children.

As this is my first couple of weeks with the team, I am now getting a feel
to our gorgeous products and where we will be adding new ones. We are
looking at adding more theming ideas as well as exciting party bags ideas.
We want the whole party planning to be as stress free as possible so look
out for our already filled Party Bags.

One more week before the children will be off for the Summer. Enjoy it and
hope the sun shines!

Jane x

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Summer Sunshine

As we come to the end of the school term, the focus of our business changes and our team gets to have a well earned rest from the weekends of private parties.

July and August for us are more about wedding creches and corporate work than 5 year old birthday parties. We also use this time to brace ourselves for the mad rush that is September to December where we almost don't have time to breathe.

Infact last year my sister did all my Christmas present shopping, she did an excel spreadsheet and took my credit card details, with all our corporate work continuing until 23rd December I did not have time to do my own shopping! I am very lucky to have a generous and kind sister.

We are also using this time for a bit of reflection to become more proactive and look at our services and our marketing approach. So any new ideas would be welcome!

We are working on restocking our shop, looking at some interesting theming concepts, putting together ideas for our Christmas packages, reorganising our website to make things easier for customers and chasing the seo dream of being number one for children's parties.

Over the next couple of weeks, a different member of the team will blog on their perspective of working at Les Enfants. I hope they will be nice about me but I've asked them to be honest and no editing from me.

Also, we would love to address any questions you have on children's parties so please post and we will do our best.

In the meantime enjoy the sunshine, enjoy the last few days of the school term and then most of all enjoy your summer breaks.

Katie x

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Mad Week

Don't feel like my feet have touched the ground this week. Our phones have been so busy my colleague made me laugh saying that customers were not even giving her enough time to go to the toilet before ringing again.

Hate to get excited before time but it feels like me have really made a break through and getting some great customers both private and corporate.

This week I am organising the most important event of my career, my mum's memorial service. I won't go on about it as I don't want this blog to be sad, however my mum meant the world to me and as a tribute I want to make sure everything is as special as it can be.

Had so many messages of support, cards, emails, calls etc which are all much appreciated. However, it was one of my face painters who summed it up best, "So sorry to hear your crap news", and she is right, it is unfair and crap, there I've said it. I don't feel I will ever be the same person again.

Back to party news, we have a booking for a FA Cup party tomorrow evening. We organise the families children's parties and they have come to us for their grown-up event. What was a small gathering has turned into a marquee, music, catering, bar etc really good business and they are such a lovely family.

Next week we have two big parties - Nursery Rhyme and Alice in Wonderland, both lovely themes.

I have some exciting meetings too, one with a potential person to run the shop, another with a techy guy in relation to the website and a buying trip, will need a holiday by the end of the week.

Put in a fab around the world proposal for the shopping centre, hope we win as it has gone to competitive tender, tried to be as creative as possible.

Right signing off for the evening as still have some emails to answer.

Night

Katie x

Friday, 7 May 2010

Who Am I?


I know this is supposed to be a business based blog but I also think it is important to share my personal experiences with you, as behind every business is a human story.

I am a mum of three, Isabella age 9, Max age 5 and Jake age 1, they keep me on my toes and I love them to pieces. However, I also have a real passion and drive for my business and I often think it keeps me sane. My events experience comes from working at The Economist Newspaper for 6 years, here I got to travel and organise some fabulous big budget events. A job I loved but once the children arrived, I needed something which allowed me to do all the important things with them too.

I don't long to be a millionaire or take over the world, I would love to build a brand, be the best I can be, be able to combine a career with still being around my children and contribute a decent income to take the pressure off of my hard working husband.

It hasn't been easy but I honestly believe that now we are the best at what we do. We have parents who come along to us and give us an open brief, just turning up on the day, we take the pressure off them. Then we have those who want to be involved with us at every step and we are happy to work like this too.

Our clients range from everyday parents to celebrities and people at the top of The Times Rich list, with budgets from £200 to £40,000. Believe it or not.

What I am excited about is the growth in our corporate work from banks, shopping centres, retail chains, hotels, football clubs and pr companies to name but a few.

Our wedding activity pack was recently listed by confetti.co.uk and we hope to develop further own branded products in the near future.

Our online shop is just starting to take-off and we will be listing some new products very soon.

We pride ourselves on our creativity and every week we are completing new proposals which are bespoke for our clients.

So there you go, when I think about it I love what I do and hope you will too!

Bye for Now

Katie x

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Big Sigh of Relief



The VAT return has been finished now, all ready for my nice Mr accountant man to get it electronically sent tomorrow so we don't receive a fine. It also means I can concentrate on the more fun and creative stuff, much more my bag!

We have our first racing car party this weekend with one of our favourite entertainers. This particular entertainer has performed for number 10 and the number one lady in pop, not the GaGa, I mean Madonna and her children.

This racing party concept came from some research I did into the US party market, they surely are a few steps ahead, we took a theming image and created an invitation, an entertainment package and theming ideas.

Right going to have some down time now, before it all starts again tomorrow.

Night everyone x

And She's Off ...........

Not a very exciting day to start the Blog really, with a day of administration. Invoicing, booking forms, contracts and generally dotting lots of i's and crossing those t's, all very important stuff when you are planning a special birthday party.

Finished a fantastic Toy Story 3 proposal last night, our favourite photographic agency created a wonderful mock-up of a green screen photo opp which both the parents and children will love.

I have to say I am getting more and more addicted to twitter, have found some fantastic new ideas on there, as well as some new clients, even better!

Tomorrow I have to get a Charlie and Choc Factory proposal out, this is very popular at the moment, also finalise a Be My Bear Sleepover Party for a very lucky Nintendo DSi competition winner and also start planning a party in Blackpool for another winner, this time from a fashion retail chain. Hope I get to go to the Blackpool one, will be a nice night away for me (normally looking after 3 children).

Anyway, first blog over and out, promise to make it more exciting and packed full of new ideas with the entries I post over the coming months. Plus if you have any questions on the "hot" themes, or want your party etiquette questions asked, please post here or email me katie@lesenfants.co.uk.

Bye for Now x