Success comes from doing somewhat-monotonous things every day for years – but no one wants to hear that.– Dickie Bush
Our journey into the World of Kids Party Entertainment started like many others, accidentally. Working as an entertainer at children’s parties isn’t a job that you study for or plan as your career path, most entertainers work at Kid’s Parties as a happy accident or as an outlet for artistic expression. Our story starts in late 2012, fresh out of working for a Children’s Charity in South Africa I along with a couple of friends had been running entertainment promotions for Shopping Centers in Cape Town and were receiving frequent requests for Kid’s Party Entertainment from clients. In response to the demand, we picked a name (Bazinga Parties), registered a company, had a friend build us a simple website, and jumped in.
Throughout 2013 our business gradually picked up steam as we spent most weekends juggling mall promotions and the trickle of parties that were coming in. We started by offering the basic services that we had experience in; balloon art, face-painting, and party games and focused on delivering an excellent client experience with fun branding and a creating a vibe at the parties with upbeat kids music. For the next two years, our business grew as we added new services, and word-of-mouth recommendations from happy parents brought in new clients. That year we ended our Shopping Center promotions as Children’s party bookings were filling up our calendar and providing the party services ourselves was taking up most of our time.
In late 2015 my co-founder and our main entertainer had an unfortunate accident that required surgery and necessitated the hiring of staff to replace her at events. From that point on as we multiplied out on ourselves the work started flowing in at a higher-than-expected rate and we struggled to hire and train enough staff to keep up with the demand. In 2016 we rented our first office and moved all the company equipment out of our apartment. A close friend of ours later that year decided to sell her small party business in Johannesburg (South Africa’s largest city) which we acquired and started working on building into a second branch of Bazinga. All in all, we managed to book 600 events in 2016 which was a major milestone for us.
2017 saw our expansion pick up speed as we continued to grow in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The larger events started coming in throughout that year as we began to build a reputation for not only providing a great service but also having the capacity to staff the larger events. We doubled down on our digital marketing throughout the year as we built up our newsletter list and started focusing on SEO, digital marketing, and our online presence. By the end of 2018, we were averaging 140 events a month (finishing the year with 1700 events in total) and grossed $211,300.
At the end of 2018, my co-founder and I decided to move to Switzerland and open a new branch of Bazinga in Zürich. Our decision to leave South Africa was a realization that the South African economy had stagnated over the last couple of years and also the desire for a new adventure. So we built a website 6 months before our departure and ran Google Ads to see if we could start filling up our calendars before arriving. At the beginning of 2019, we moved our South African operations entirely online and closed down our physical offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg before making the move to Zürich and jumping straight into parties the day after we landed.
A Black Swan (CoVid-19)
Just as momentum started to pick up in Zurich the pandemic that was Covid-19 swept the Globe and shut down the entertainment industry Worldwide. We spent most of 2020 opening and closing our branches like a game of whack-a-mole, taking bookings only to cancel them a few weeks later and refund the clients. Our experience with launching the Zurich branch before arriving and running our South African branches entirely remotely sparked the idea to open our first remote branch in New York City. With the abundance of time afforded by the Covid shutdowns we spent a lot of 2020 and the first half of 2021 building an online entertainer training program and setting up our remote party business in New York.
In May 2021 we received our first inquiries in New York and were off to the races, we started by interviewing and working with current entertainers who were passionate about Kids Party Entertainment and industry professionals (More on this later). Which we knew would save us time in the startup phase. We had some initial traction in NYC and before our third Covid shutdown, we were averaging 20 bookings a month. Using a similar rollout plan to what had worked in New York we also set up Bazinga branches in Basel and Geneva towards the end of that year.
Hockey Stick Growth
Society will pay you for creating what it wants and delivering it at scale.– Naval Ravikant
With what ended up being the final CoVid shutdown in early 2022 all of our branches were open and doing business by the beginning of February 2022. It was a busy year as we discovered the limits of remotely operating a complicated service delivery company and what kind of scale was possible. We booked 3000 events across 3 Continents in 8 Cities with a combined revenue of $700,000 throughout the year while launching new branches in London and Frankfurt. We project an income of roughly +$1,000,000 in 2023 as our main branches continue to grow 30% year on year and we start to see steadier income from our new branches in London and Frankfurt.
Scale Economics 101
Our story has been a 10-year Journey; Starting as Children’s Party entertainers ourselves, hiring young people and training them into a team of entertainers, then eventually launching remote branches around the World. It was however the experience of starting up our NYC branch that stuck with us. We had the pleasure of working with several professional Kid’s party entertainers in New York that were amazing at their jobs, had a passion for working with Children, and loved being a part of our brand. As our business grew we (as planned) recruited and trained entertainers in NYC and slowly stopped working as frequently with outsourced entertainers. Around the same time, we were regularly listing our company on the various entertainer booking platforms in the US and testing them to see if they would work for us. We concluded that the current marketplaces didn’t provide the type of service and community that entertainers in the US needed.
So late in 2022, we decided to build the solution we needed when launching in the US ourselves. A marketplace that on the demand side helps parents and party planners find and book quality entertainment and on the supply side handles the booking, payment, and admin in an Uber-like fashion, providing the entertainers with a fun community that they can be a part of and a brand to work under. We are excited about building a marketplace and business that has good scale economics and will be a benefit to some of the 60,000 entertainers that operate in the US
A monthly party planners newsletter.
Curated by humans - Not robots.
Such an inspiring story and a great reminder that great things take time and perseverance. Too often we review success as an overnight accomplishment and get discouraged when it doesn’t actually happen. So glad that you didn’t let any setbacks keep you from creating such an amazing, unique, and inclusive company!
We appreciate your comment Shanice. 🙂