Tag Archives: music

Interview: Moo Music

17 May

Logo with Background

Moo Music is a pre school music opportunity now available nationally. Opportunity Plus spoke to ideas man Ant Parker and franchisee Ali Hider to find out about their experiences of self-employment and setting up a business.

How did Moo Music get started?

Ant: We decided to create Moo Music as a business opportunity when my wife Jess and I were bringing up our two daughters, Hannah and Eve. We noticed a distinct lack of good quality and wholesome children’s music. Being musicians ourselves we eventually had enough of the poor quality and cheaply recorded children’s songs and commissioned a professional children’s songwriter to write and record a series of songs.

The brief was that they had to be positive, uplifting, fun and educational. They also had to be recorded properly with real instruments, lots of vocal harmonies and most importantly… adults had to enjoy the listening experience as well as the children! It didn’t take long to realise that these songs needed sharing and that other parents in the area were crying out for something similar.

Having said that the aim of Moo Music is not only to give 0 to 5 year olds some fantastic experiences with music but to give young mums the opportunity to start and run a flexible business when their own children start school.

Ali: Ant is my brother and he had the idea a long time ago. He created Moo Music over time but then needed someone to actually put the sessions and ideas into practice, so that’s where I came in. I have always worked with children in various settings from private homes to nurseries/schools and I have a huge passion for music so this suited me perfectly!

Ant Jess Hannah Eve Web Res

What is your role within the business?

Ant: I do the general admin for the business – accounts – sales – licensing – marketing – business help – franchisee motivation – stock ordering etc. Jess does the packing up and sending of stock and also helps with the ‘help and support’ for the franchisees.

Ali: I am primarily a franchisee of the business but I also act as an advisor and trainer for the new franchisees. This involves people coming to observe my sessions and question/answer forums. I also attend festivals and other events to promote Moo Music. We are hoping to do a Moo Music live event in the city with a live band! Very exciting…

How have you gone about marketing the business?

Ant: Moo Music has only been available nationally since January this year. Before that it was only available to friends and friends of friends etc.

Since launching nationally we use Google ‘Pay Per Click’ and all of our sales so far have come from this. I have also taken out a year’s advertising with www.femalefranchise.co.uk which has brought is a few leads but no sales yet. I do have a mail-out scheduled with them in June so that should see the best results.

I will also start Facebook Ads soon. The beauty of Google PPC and Facebook is that you can market to a very tight potential customer base and only pay pence if they click on the links. The Google PPC takes them to the following video www.letsmakemoomusic.co.uk and if they are interested enough to carry on and watch the second video we have their email address so can engage in a conversation.

Ali: I market the business in a variety of ways including ads in local magazines and newspapers. House to house leaflet dropping, Moo Music magnets all over my car! Leaflets in school/nursery book bags also notice boards, however I have to say that “word of mouth” is the most effective. I started with two children in a small hall and a year on I have 90 children over 9 sessions!

What are the benefits of being self-employed?

Ant: Flexibility and a sense of worth!

Ali: I can work the business around my family easily and other projects that I’m involved in, in the local community. It’s is extremely satisfying to see something grow so rapidly and successfully.

What personal qualities would you say are needed for self-employment?

Ant: Be strong minded and believe in yourself. Be nice to people. Remember that no one knows your business better than you do or will ever be as bothered about it as you.

Ali: I would say you need to be hard working, reliable, focused, patient, approachable and fun! I have also had to learn to be a bit more assertive which has been quite hard at times when I’m not naturally like that.

Ali Hider with a Class Web Res

What advice would you give to someone considering self-employment?

Ant: It definitely gives you flexibility but it will be hard work. It’s very hard to ‘switch off’ mentally even if you have a separate workspace. Most people will advise you not to… but you’ll find these people are the ones stuck in their day jobs earning money for someone else! If you have a dream… Go for it!

Ali: I would say get the right people around you to support you and who understand your vision. Find others who are in a similar position. Network!

What are your plans for the future of the business?

Ant: We’d like to get Moo Music spread as far around the UK as possible and are aiming for 100 separate areas. We have 10 so far.

Ali: I have 3 postcodes to work in and as the business continues to grow, I plan to take on freelance staff to run sessions for me so I can concentrate on expanding the business. However, as long as I am able to, I want to be running the sessions as that’s really where my heart is. Maybe I will need to employ an admin person too!

You can  find out more about Moo Music by visiting their website http://www.moo-music.co.uk and following them on Facebook and Twitter.

Common Goals

6 May

Last week was Steve’s birthday.  He is a typical man, and impossible to buy for (especially since I cannot bring myself to pay money for anything to do with golf or football, and beer or chocolate is too boring).  The ideal present for Steve is a t-shirt, but I don’t generally trust myself to choose one!  Luckily I recently came across Common Goals, who sell t-shirts to raise money for charity.  Perfect!

Common Goals is a not-for-profit project which launched in June 2012, working with bands to raise money and awareness for a whole range of charities.  Common Goals ask punk rock bands to design an exclusive t-shirt for them, which they then sell via their website.  All the profits are donated to a charity of the band’s choice.

Common_Goals_-grey_on_black

Some of the bands that have already taken part in the project:

The Cut Ups, from Exeter, are supporting PAPYRUS UK, a charity which helps to prevent young suicide.

The Arteries, from Swansea, are supporting Mumbles Lifeboat Station.

Great Cynics are supporting the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

You can buy one of these t-shirts for £15.00, from www.common-goals.co.uk.

Jack Hyde plays in several bands, and makes music videos using his own brand of stop-motion animation.  See www.jackhydeanimations.co.uk for more info.

Nathan Blaker co-owns No Guts No Glory, an Exeter based shop with a DIY and eco-friendly ethos.  See www.ngngdesign.com for more info.

Some businesses to check out if you’re planning an event

8 Apr

On Saturday I was lucky enough to marry Steve – the wonderful man who makes it possible for me to have two kids, a part time job, and my own business, and still have time for the occasional shopping trip and night out.  I won’t bore you with all the details of our wedding, but I thought I would use this opportunity to share with you some of the wonderful small businesses that helped make our wedding so special.  If you are planning any kind of event, please do check out some of these great businesses.  We tried to use local businesses, run by people we already knew, to make our day really personal.

The Very Vintage Hire Company – we hired all sorts including a Post Box, Deck Chairs, Crazy Golf Course (made just for us after I suggested it to them!).  Make sure you get hold of their gorgeous e-catalogue!  Find out more about the young entrepreneur that started the company in our interview, here, and check out her new shop, the Attic, based on Exeter Quay.

Virginia’s Vintage Hire – we hired our tables and chairs from this lovely company.

Angel Face – I bought my dress from this shop in Buckfastleigh, the staff were so friendly and helpful.

Perspectives Photography – amazing, beautiful photographer, definitely worth checking out.  Steal the Stage Photography also provided us with a second photographer and different point of view.

Il Vulcano – a pizza van with a real wood burning oven inside!

Red Rock Brewery – the local brewery provided the bar on the day.

Our friends created a band just for us, including members from These Reigning Days and Baskerville.

A Paper Rose – a friend did our fresh flowers but I bought my bouquet from here, as well as windmills for the kids, and decorations for our cake, which was made by Cakes Delicious.

Party Lights – masses of pretty lighting made our day look truly magical.

East Teign Nursery – our children’s nursery provided friendly staff to help entertain the hordes of children we invited!

Cliffden Hotel – Cliffden Hotel in Teignmouth is run by Action for Blind People and has beautiful grounds.

Liza Kane – Liza runs L.A Barbers and took on the mammoth task of calming my unruly hair!

Newton Print – Newton Print printed the invitations that Steve designed for us – everyone commented on the great quality of the printing (and of course the design!)

Love My Dress – this blog inspired me in my wedding planning.  They have just released their first book, which immediately went to Number One on the Amazon chart for weddings.

The Natural Wedding Company is another wedding blog, which featured an amazing wedding that I was lucky enough to attend.

Kate Garey – I bought lovely little hand mirrors as thank you gifts for my bridesmaids.

Linds from Shaldon Bakery (and the band Bad Mojo) is a friend and made us a fabulous picnic.

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – one of my favourite bands rewrote one of their classic songs, which Steve used to propose.

The Wedding Reporter – although we didn’t use this in the end, I just think it’s the most fantastic idea so I wanted to share it with you.  As an alternative/addition to photography and videography, The Wedding Reporter takes notes on the day which they write up into a beautiful and unique book to remember your day.

A massive thank you to all of the businesses mentioned above, and everyone else who was involved in the day.  Sorry if we have missed anyone out!

Dream Jobs: DJ

22 Oct

Lewah is an Exeter based DJ who has played at Glastonbury Festival, as well as several local venues.

What kind of music do you do?

I DJ: I mainly play reggae, dub, dubstep, breakbeat and jungle.  But basically anything that’s bass heavy!

How did you get started?

I have always been into music in a big way but when I left school I kinda fell out of playing my instruments.  I got into DJing to carry on doing some practical music.  A mate offered me a set at one of his nights in Exeter and the rest as they say is history!

What was your first gig?

Supporting Chase and Status at the Lemongrove in Exeter.

What has been the highlight to date?

Playing in Amsterdam and of course Glastonbury festival.  Playing alongside big name DJs is always cool too and recently I’ve started to produce my own tunes which is great fun.

What advice would you give someone who wanted to get into the music industry?

Keep practising your mixing.  Record a mix and upload it to the internet and generally spread the word.  Producing your own tunes is a good way of stepping up your game.

http://soundcloud.com/lewah

https://www.facebook.com/djlewah