A weekend gig as a children’s entertainer led to Ade (pictured above, on the right) setting up Weston-super-Mare firm Action Pussycat.
Can you tell us a bit about your business?
Action Pussycat is a family entertainer based in Weston-super-Mare. I provide birthday parties, cabaret entertainment, business promotions and events. I am a sole trader and have been operating since May 2001. Initially it was something I did at the weekends, but in March 2016 I left my jobs as an art teacher and marketing manager to go full-time and pursue my goals of selling my TV show, releasing a single and publishing a book. I also arrange family-friendly events. My concerts offer a live experience but with quieter music, daytime show times, local venues and smaller ticket prices.
When and why did you first set up the business?
Action Pussycat was originally going to be an outdoor pursuit company. When I started offering birthday parties, I had also started coaching land yachting. I found that land yachting would have to be cancelled if it was too wet, too windy or not windy enough, but the parties could go ahead whatever the weather.
How has it developed since then?
I added different party package options, and new equipment helped me diversify. I started doing bigger events when the local authority stopped organising free family events in the parks. When I was offered redundancy money
by my employer, I went full-time.
Covid-19 hit hard, as I was no longer able to offer face-to-face entertainment. I put together an hour of virtual entertainment and was used by schools, organisations, charities, clubs, pubs and parents; in December
2020 I won a Lockdown Community Champion award for keeping children connected and mentally healthy.
Who else do you have working with you?
I occasionally work with other providers – forest schools, a princess company, charities and local businesses.
Who do your main customers tend to be?
Parents with children aged five to eight who want a memorable experience for their child’s special day.
What’s the most unusual situation or request you’ve had?
I offer themed parties, but Mamma Mia! was one I was not able to do. Creating a children’s party around the idea that a child did not know who their father was because their mother was a free spirit when she was younger did not fit well!
What are you most proud of, from a business perspective?
Being able to provide for my family by doing something I love is amazing.
How does your FSB membership help?
When I joined, I was annoyed with my business bank. For just £20 more than what I was paying in bank charges, I could join FSB and access its support services. It gave me peace of mind that I had someone fighting my corner.
How would you like the business to evolve over the next few years?
I would like to pick up more long-term contracts. If I could get a regular booking at a holiday park, tourist attraction or family pub to put regular money in the bank, that would be a godsend and free up mid-week time to develop my act.
And the longer-term plan?
Ideally it would be for a production company to pick up my TV show. Find the pilot episode on YouTube by typing in Ade Venture.
What do you do to relax?
I have two daughters, who I love spending time with. Over lockdown we have done a lot of walking and cycling, and in normal times we go to the cinema or play games. I also miss live entertainment such as stand-up comedy, live music, pub quizzes and the theatre. I am in a local drama group and do a bit of stand-up comedy. When I have time, I like to write and have almost finished my fourth children’s book.