5 Minutes with Funtazia

Johnson Reed
2m read

Funtazia Soft Play Ltd. opened this March in Blackburn, Lancashire. The site offers a fun, safe and educational environment for children to play, giving parents the rare opportunity to relax in the adjoining cafeteria. We caught up with Managing Director, Helen Sproates, to discuss the industry, alternative finance options and why on earth nobody has yet attempted an adult soft play site…

You’ve been open for a couple of months now. How are you getting on?

So far we’ve had an incredible 47,000 visitors. It’s completely packed- we’re exhausted! But what a good problem to have. We’ve also had lots of children’s parties, and we’ve got plenty more lined up.

The soft play industry is booming right now, what makes Funtazia different?

We have a huge range of facilities: a disco dome, quad bikes, cannons, a toddler area, a football table, mega slides, bouncy castles, trampolines, air hockey…to name a few! We’re largest play centre in Lancashire at a huge 24, 000 square feet.

Have you always been in the children’s play industry?

Not at all! I’ve been in business before, and before this I was working in equestrianism, but I didn’t even know what a soft play centre was until I visited one with a friend a few years ago. It looked incredible, and I knew that’s what I wanted to try next.

The site looks incredible. There’s definitely a gap in the market for an adult equivalent…

Absolutely! I’ve had a few hen parties asking to rent out the facilities. It looks so much fun.

Why did you opt for alternative funding options?

I saved up some money for the business myself, but leasing the catering equipment through Johnson Reed allowed me to purchase the equipment we needed and enjoy great tax savings. It was important to kit out the venue to the best quality whilst still maintaining cash flow in the early stages of trading.

You dealt with Johnson Reed’s main man, Mark Johnson, throughout the deal. How was the service?

Mark was excellent and very professional. He turned the deal around very quickly and even came to visit us so he could see the business first-hand. He was impressed by the success of Funtazia, which really filled me with confidence- especially with his experience and knowledge within the soft play industry.

For more information, visit https://www.funtazia.co.uk