We all have madcap ideas from time to time, but how many of us take the time to write them down? Lorna Kyle did, scribbling a note in her journal about a business based around a mobile craft workshop for children’s parties. It was years later when a friend suggested ‘something creative’ as a part-time contrast to a full-time role in occupational therapy that Lorna stumbled across her old journal. Just Jemima was born.
“I worked on the caravan (an achingly cute old skool towing caravan that brings the party to you), did a little promotion, and tried out a couple of parties. It just seems to have taken off.” From her base in Castlerock, Lorna and the ‘Jemimavan’ have taken her unique brand of crafts and celebration well beyond the confines of the Triangle area, entertaining kids, hen part chicks, and even dementia sufferers in Donegal, Helen’s Bay, Belfast, Dungannon, and Magherafelt (to pick just a few of myriad locations).
“The workshops are the easy bit,” Lorna confesses. “It’s steering the caravan up hills and down country roads, and don’t get me started on reversing.” Preparation is key according to self-confessed perfectionist Lorna. Endless hours are spent coordinating themes and ensuring every party is ‘just right’. “I think anyone planning to start a new business should be prepared for the hard work, for working late into the night. But I would say: Don’t be put off. Go for it!”
To date Just Jemima has been promoted almost exclusively on social media – not bad for a self-confessed technophobe. “The Causeway Enterprise Agency were really helpful in putting together my business plan. It was also Jayne [Taggart] that made me aware of social media and how I could use it to promote Just Jemima. I am now on Facebook and Instagram. That old favourite word of mouth has also been a great source of business and I’m pleased to say we do get lots of repeat bookings.”
Just Jemima not only resonates with children, but also their parents. “When I arrive many mums find it all a bit surreal. For two hours I occupy the kids and they get to go off for a cup of coffee with the other mums and relax. Not the usual party scenario.” And such has been the success of Just Jemima that Lorna is now aiming to go full-time. There are also ambitious and exciting plans for an extension of the brand.
You see, dreams, however daft they might seem at the time, can become reality.
Have a business idea? Need a business plan? Contact Anna Logan today on 02870 356318 ext 5