Now hands up who thinks our kids – so indulged in some ways – are so deprived in others. Like…time to just PLAY! I mean (OK I’m officially on my soap box now) if I think back a ‘few years’ to my childhood, I don’t remember homework. I remember playing. Sweeties. A lot of dental trips. I digress…
So with this in mind – I had a chat to Maggie Bolger the owner of the brilliant Maggie & Rose Private Family Members Clubs – to ask about just that. Play. Let’s go.
What inspired you to set up Maggie & Rose?
As a young mum in London with three children (under four) I was desperate to find a half decent place to go with my kids. I couldn’t believe how much London lacked a physical community of like minded young mums – all the classes that existed were disjointed and poor quality; the teachers lacked vibrancy and lustre, plus the surroundings just weren’t very cool. Tired of traipsing around church halls and jam packed play areas, I decided to create a place designed for both parents and children that filled the huge gap in the family market.
What’s been your greatest challenge/mistake?
There have been so many! My greatest challenge was starting something that was totally new to London – we were the first of our kind, which meant there were no benchmarks for comparison. I also had no business experience at all; I didn’t finish university and had my first child at 22 so learning how to run a business which now has over 40 staff is an ongoing challenge! Mistakes have been plentiful, but a necessity as they are the only way that you truly learn.
What are your thoughts on the work/play balance of today’s kids?
I think kids in London actually have a pretty great life, there is soooo much to do! More so than in New Zealand where I grew up, so the balance can be easily achieved when they are younger. As they grow up though, I do think schooling has lost its mojo. The government doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do. There is a huge lack of passion and creativity missing in teaching. The trick is to make education seem like play and this is our specialty at Maggie & Rose.
What do your kids like to play with?
My kids are pretty awesome at creative play; they are where I get all my inspiration from. They make stuff out of literally anything and are always having mad adventures. They all love books and art materials. We love the Tate shops for cool activities and books.
You’ve opened Chiswick now. What are your next steps? Any scoops for us?
We have a few very cool things up our sleeves, we are working on our product range to extend on the books and may have a new club coming soon ……………maybe somewhere near Primrose hill – fingers crossed!
Darlings it’s not any play area I would consider letting my kids go to the loo without making a paper flower to cover it. It’s not any kitchen I would ever consider eating anything my kids had made. Maggie & Rose is LUXE for kids. Not cheap – but oh so worth their fun. Poor little things…