Episode show notes

A ball pit bar – what a novel concept. Great for a one month popup, but to still be going years later shows that it’s more than a simple gimmick. 

What sets Ballie Ballerson apart from anyone who dares to copy their idea is their dedication to the art of hospitality, a passion which comes from MD Wenny Armstrong and her brother, Director of Operations George.

Join us for an episode almost as fun as their business, where we discuss their nostalgic edge, commitment to an incredible experience, growth from their humble beginnings, and so much more!

This episode covers:

  • The nostalgic edge that drives Ballie Ballerson’s unique experience
  • Wenny & George’s early work in the hospitality industry with their parents’ business
  • How the sibling connection allows the pair to rely so strongly on each other
  • Some wild stories that exhibit the business’ incredible culture
              A graphic with Robin, Judy and Ollie.

              Episode highlights

              “Every single night of the week we were open, we had this wild atmosphere, where people were dancing on tables with arms around their mates. It really was wild. We learned that the ball pit – as silly as it seems, and as good as it looks on social media – actually had an enormous icebreaking effect.” – 5:16 – George Armstrong

              “All the money that we made in the pop-up, we invested, in effect, into someone else’s building with the hope that in 12 months time, we would produce a set of figures which we could take to investors. So we were all in on trying to roll double sixes. Looking back, it was quite a crazy decision.” – 13:10 – Wenny Armstrong

              “Only 10% is the ball pit. The 10% that could be copied is construction, and we’re not the first people to build a ball pit. What investors would be investing in is that 90%, and that’s the art of hospitality.” – 17:30 – Wenny Armstrong

              “One really nice thing that we can do sometimes is rely on each other to leave no stone unturned, to make sure this one particular aspect should be delivered.” – 19:30 – George Armstrong

               “When people make mistakes, it’s not about highlighting the mistakes. It’s more about what we can learn and then move on. If we just keep making mistakes and keep moving on, then everyone learns and the business moves forward.” – 24:00 – George Armstrong

              “I definitely think that if anyone follows their passions from things that they’ve grown up with, the end results will probably be a business where they can give a story like ours. I think too often people don’t follow their passions, therefore they might take a slightly different turn, or perhaps they’re chasing something else as opposed to a passion.” – 32:20 – George Armstrong

              “Particularly in hospitality, it can be all about drinking and partying and creating a culture that way, which I think isn’t necessarily the right approach to have towards culture if you’re trying to grow a business.” – 38:55 – Wenny Armstrong

              “If you can’t make it work, that’s not necessarily a failure. I think some people just cannot work together. I think some family businesses may keep going at it, and actually the best thing is for one of them to step away. I think there’s an awful lot of pride at stake in family businesses as well.” – 49:25 – Wenny Armstrong

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