Playdate Café in Lynnwood may be the newest play space on the block, but Seattle-area parents are already in love. The proof is in the voting—Playdate Café was your Totally Awesome pick for best indoor playspace around! And it’s no wonder this innovative, community-focused gathering place is such a hit; Playdate Café boasts a large play space with separate area for infants and crawlers, a cafe with delicious food and drinks and free wifi, and even a morning preschool class.
Supermom Lizz Quain recently took the time to chat with us about what makes Playdate Café so awesome, her advice for aspiring business owners, and more. Read on:
Red Tricycle: Congratulations on being voted “Most Awesome” by your community! What do you think your customers value most about your business?
Lizz Quain: I asked my customers and they said they love that our play area is safe, enclosed, clean, fun, bright and thoughtfully designed. They love our healthy choices for food, Caffe Ladro coffee and great service. That Playdate Cafe is a local, mom-owned business and we sincerely care about the little ones and the grown-ups who visit. Many mentioned our attention to little details and some of our kid-friendly touches. Grown-ups value that it’s relaxing for them as they can sit and catch a breath while their kids play.
RT: What inspired you to start your business?
LQ: My twinadoes! Now 4 1/2 years old. I spent their first year as a SAHM and felt there needed to be a better place for families with young children to meet up and play, eat, learn, celebrate and connect as a community. Ten thousand hours and three years later, Playdate Cafe was born and now welcomes dozens and dozens of little ones and their favorite grown-ups every day.
RT: Any advice for new business owners just getting started?
LQ: Network with others in a similar business—or better yet, in the same business but in another state/country as you’re not direct competitors. Get advisors within your industry and small business advisors (I love SBDC and Startzone) and learn, learn, learn everything you can about not only how to start your particular business but business in general. Don’t take no for an answer from bankers, landlords and permit officials! Keep plugging away until your dream is realized!
RT: Can you give us one tip for balancing entrepreneurship with parenthood?
LQ: I can’t as right now I don’t have balance. As Playdate Cafe is still new (about 10 months old) and took so long to get off the ground and since there’s only one of me (no business partner) and so much to do, I work 100+ hours per week and unfortunately don’t see my children much. It’s ironic since I launched this business for them and for us as a family to spend time together! It’s getting better, though. Our preschool is now open and they’re here more often. As my business grows and as I can afford more help, I’ll be able to work less and see my children more. At least that’s what my more established play-business peers tell me! But every time my children ask me to spend time with them and I can’t as I have so much work to do my working-mommy guilt kicks in and I take a deep breath and try to convince myself that it will all be worth it someday.
RT: What is your proudest moment as a business owner or parent?
LQ: Every day I’m proud of my twin girls and watching them grow day by day. They amaze me. The support we’ve received from the wonderful community of families and their amazing feedback makes me feel proud and that all our hard work is worthwhile and valued. My fantastic staff and supporters makes me proud. The support of my friends, family and especially my mother… I couldn’t do it without their help. Winning the Red Tricycle award for Most Awesome Indoor Playspace and being a finalist for four other categories after having been open just 7 months is huge. I’m very proud and grateful!
RT: Is there a special offer you’d like to include for Red Tricycle readers?
LQ: Yes! Mention this Red Tricycle Q&A and receive $25 off a birthday party package during Open Play hours or $50 off a birthday party package during After Hours. Must book your party by December 31st, 2013 and the party must be held by August 31, 2014.