The journey of ClapHandies began with the very first PlayLab in September 2006 (it's hard to believe it's been that long!). Following the birth of my first child, I felt a calling for a career change.
At the time Ireland had limited offerings in terms of activities for babies and toddlers. While I considered various international franchise business options, I realised that, given my background in children's theatre and my business experience, I'd prefer to create something myself. And so, the adventure began…
The initial six months of ClapHandies' existence were dedicated to workshopping the PlayLabs, collaborating with experts in early childhood development to refine the program, and constantly experimenting with new activities.
We started with just three venues. Fast forward to today, and we've grown quite a bit since 2006! I now have the privilege of being part of an exceptional team of 18 dedicated individuals, including PlayLab leaders, operations, program, customer, and marketing managers.
If you were to ask me what the key to ClapHandies' success is, I would say it's our dedicated commitment to delivering the very very best classes we can offer, constantly observing the classes and listening to what our customers and leaders tell us and adapting, it's that simple! I always believe the PlayLabs can be better so I’m kept busy working creatively with my team on how to make the classes even better than they already are.
I am so lucky to be surrounded by customers that support us, we've survived the financial recession and an 18 month shutdown for covid (when I went online doing daily PlayLabs from my kitchen on Instagram and Zoom). It was a joy to re-open after the lockdowns as everyone was so supportive and so kind. All the hard work and pure fear that comes from being the boss is 1000% rewarded every time I come to class and see the pure joy we create in the PlayLabs.
These days, my time is divided between program development and leader training. Every day, I find myself asking, "What can I do today to make our classes more fun, run more smoothly, and be more enjoyable?"
Thank you for taking the time to read our story. We hope to see you soon in one of our PlayLabs.
Liza & our incredible team xxx
PS – Claphandies weekly PlayLabs have had over 10,000 graduates so far. We like to think we make the world more playful. Word of mouth is the best marketing we could wish for, so go on - tell a friend about us. Thanks so much for your support.