Written by Laura
Moya and I both trained as performers, Moya at Bretton Hall and Mountview and I trained at Rose Bruford. Spending some of our twenties working as ‘jobbing’ actors, we needed to take on other work. In 2008 we both took up a job teaching drama, dance and singing at one of London’s leading drama schools for children. This is where we met.
Fast-forward 6 years. I had a baby and Moya became his Godmother. We had both started to crave independence in our careers and after visiting lots of baby classes with my son (and Moya when she worked as a nanny) we started to realise there was a gap in the market and we could potentially fill it.
At the time we started to think about setting up classes, Moya was looking after a baby the same age as my son and we began our research by attending lots of other classes aimed at babies and toddlers. We experienced some wonderful classes, and some not so wonderful. We began to develop a clear vision of what we wanted Zip Zap classes to be.
We wanted to create something where every one was entertained, grown-ups and little ones. We wanted to the classes to be heavily performance based run by singers, almost like a show but extremely interactive. All the time maintaining a big sensory element with lots of ‘props’ to explore whilst having a boogie to music that varies from classic nursery rhymes, to funky pop songs and 80/90’s classics that the grown ups grew up singing along to. We felt strongly that every week should be slightly different in order to keep grown ups and little ones entertained and engaged. However, every week should have some repetitive aspects as repetition is key for a child's development.
The early days of having a baby can be extremely lonely for some parents and mum’s usually feel it more, so one of the most important things for us is to learn and address, not only the baby by their first name, but also the parent. Making friends with parents and making our classes extremely welcoming, a safe space, non-judgemental, where they could feel a sense of solidarity, that they weren’t alone in the rollercoaster that is the first year of having a baby. We still keep in contact with lots of parents who have attended Zip Zap with their little ones over the years.
On 9th September 2015 after a year of planning and trials we launched our first few classes in North London and our initial customers were friends and acquaintances. After the first 6 months, our classes were busy and we had created a formula for them, adapting to what worked well and what not so well. As I write this, we are approaching Zip Zap’s fifth birthday and have spread to 22 classes in North and East London and have a wonderful team of performers working with us, most whom have been with us since the first year we started.
Moya and I both had babies in 2017, within 10 weeks of each other, and we had to let go of the daily running of classes for a short while. Our incredible team took over and made the transition appear seamless and at this point we realised that Zip Zap would work perfectly as a franchised business. The right person, looking for a career change or adding something to their existing career, could take on the business model that we have created and turn it into a profitable, fun and rewarding business for themselves.