In this blog, we speak to Pip Gorringe- the owner and director of Pipsqueak Party, a Children’s Entertainment company with a difference! Pip talks to us about her career, doing something you love and not sweating the small stuff!
My career has been a long and varied one!
My career originally began in marketing, being given a chance by a cousin who needed help with her social media accounts for her hotels. From there it spiralled, and I learnt more and more about marketing and eventually became a Marketing Manager for a huge corporation. Then last year I decided that I was tired of marketing other people’s companies and decided I want to market my own! I sat down and thought about what I really loved doing more than anything, and that is entertaining people.
I originally began working in entertainment 7 years ago, performing in Murder Mysteries on weekends. It was my 10-year-old, Bella, that made me decide to go into Children’s Entertainment though, after her telling me that she didn’t want the same old bouncy castle party for her birthday and she’d never been interested in Princess’s. That is when Pipsqueak Party was born- Children’s Entertainment that provides something a little different to the norm! Specialising in Slime, Arts & Crafts and Bath Bomb Parties.
I start the morning by replying to any enquiries I’ve received throughout the night – you’d be surprised how many mums are up late googling what to do for their child’s next birthday party! Then I spend several hours prepping for the parties for the day, there is a lot to arrange – Party bags to put stickers and leaflets in, paint pots to refill, bowls to clean, cases to pack, aprons to hang up to dry! Then I plan the route for the day, from picking up staff and making sure all the right equipment is with me as we tend to do one party after the other and because we cover a large radius we could be going from Cannock over to Leicester with only an hour to spare, so I try to be as organised as possible. Then we will head over to the first party, either myself or a staff member or both depending on the size of the party, then set up, perform, clean up and repeat until home time. Then I have to get the aprons in the wash and get any slime off the spoons and more general organising so that I can be as prepared as I can for the next day! Then I like to post online about how the parties have gone or share photos and feedback. If I’m extra lucky I get food and a decent amount of sleep!
I’ve always loved entertainment and children so it seemed like a great idea to combine the two. I genuinely look forward to every party, talking to the kids and making sure they’re having a great time. I think it’s really important to love what you do!
I have tried several times in the past to set up my own company because I wanted to be my own boss, unfortunately, I never once thought ‘What would I like to do?’ I just concentrated on what would make me money and it never worked. Now that I’ve gone with something I’m actually enjoying, it’s succeeding – funny that!
I didn’t have a choice but to overcome setbacks that have come my way, to be honest, I’ve been a single mother since my daughter was born 10 years ago and above everything I’ve always wanted to be able to provide for her, to be a good role model and set an example. Every time I got knocked down, I had no other choice but to get back up and try again, I want to teach her that no matter what the world throws at you, it’s not what is happening around you that defines your happiness, it’s your decision of how you react to it that does.
My daughter gives me the drive and determination to succeed, she is honestly my world and I would do anything for her, I hope to be able to build my business to be able to give her the life she’s always deserved and to make her proud of me.
I think what’s great about being a female in my role- without sounding a little sexist, is that females generally are better with children – though not always, and I know plenty of men that are – but I do think having natural maternal instincts does help. It helps me be patient when I have 10 children calling my name, wanting my attention, helps me be more compassionate if a child bangs their knee while playing a game – but it also helps have the organisational skills of a female trying to juggle 5 different bookings for 5 different ages in 5 areas without dropping the ball on any of them!
Starting my own business and making it a success is my biggest achievement in life! I never thought I would be where I am today. When I first had my daughter I was a teenager and unemployed with no further education. I had a successful cousin throw me a lifeline and gave me a part-time job in social media and sent me on some training. She gave me the building blocks to start my career in marketing which gave me the knowledge and confidence to start my own business. If you had told 19-year-old me where I am today, I would have never believed you.
A big life lesson that I have learnt along the way is that there are enough customers for everyone, there is no need to dread competitors or to actually compete. Just concentrate on yourself and your company and doing the best that you can do and they will come. They will also go to other people and that’s ok.
My hobbies out of work are performing in murder mysteries, I’m actually an Event Director now and will direct the murder, cast and performances though I don’t do it as much as I once did and it’s difficult enough juggling my marketing day job and Pipsqueak Party weekend job!
-If you put 100% of your time and focus into something then the only thing that it can do is succeed.
I also perform on stage at a local amateur theatre roughly once a year just to keep the creative juices flowing.
I’m a big fan of deciding on your own happiness. No matter what is happening to you in life, good or bad, it’s not those things that dictate your happiness, it’s the way you react to it. You decide whether you’re going to let something affect you negatively or not. You decide whether you want to let something stress you out, or keep you up at night and you decide whether to see the silver linings or to look at all the good stuff rather than the bad. Your happiness is literally decided by you and you alone.
-There are no such things as mistakes and failures, you just found a bunch of ways of how not to do something.
Can you talk about one woman who has impacted your life?
No, but I can talk about a few women who have impacted my life. My mother, who told me I could do whatever I wanted to and always believed in me. My sisters who took shifts babysitting when I was out chasing dreams, or became staff of Pipsqueak Party when I needed people I could depend on, and my cousin Elaine, who put me in the direction that I needed to go in and then years later actually invested in my business, along with her husband Martyn, because she had always said, whatever you end up doing, it’s going to be amazing.
What are your key motivators?
My daughter is a huge motivator after a long hard day, she reminds me why I started all this to begin with.
Do you think enough is being done by businesses to address gender imbalance?
I think they’re trying, from what I’ve seen in companies over the years, the effect is there but it still may be some time before we see the shift that we need!
What are some strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?
Confidence and self-assurance, for years women were told we couldn’t do a man’s job and over the years it’s been proved again and again that isn’t true, believe it and prove it!
What advice do you have for women aiming for leadership positions?
Go for it, we need more women in leadership positions and all companies know it, now is the time to put yourself out there and shine!
What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Delegation is key! Don’t try and do it all yourself because you only trust yourself, learn to trust other people and guide them in the way you want something done, they may surprise you.
-Try again. And again. And Again. You never know how close you are to getting it right.
The best advice I ever received is ‘Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to admit you don’t know what you’re doing. People who love you will actually want to help and it lessens the burden on you.’
What would you say to your 16-year-old self?
Don’t sweat it, life is going to throw you some curveballs but it will turn out better than you ever expected.
If I can go from being a poor, teenage single mother to the marketing manager of a huge corporation with her own thriving business then so can anyone. We can literally do anything we put our minds to, we just have to believe in ourselves.