We go behind the scenes with Jane Victory, founder of Cheeky Little Events (formerly known as Cheeky Monkey), to find out about life as one of the UAE’s busiest kids’ party planners.
Why did you set up in Dubai?
We were already well established in London before moving here in 2007. I just wanted a change (and some nice weather!). I had friends in Dubai, and used to come here for dance a lot anyway, so I just thought, why not! I’d set up the company within two weeks of arriving. I started off on my own, then we just grew and grew to the team of 18 girls that work with me today.
How do you choose your staff?
They’re all dancers and performers to begin with. I put them right in at the deep-end, shadowing the girls who already have a lot of experience working with me. They have to have that interaction with the kids, the energy and personality that it takes in this industry. Performers are accustomed to that to some extent already. They have to put in 100 per cent effort, they’re not only entertaining the kids at the party, but are being judged by the parents there, too.
How has the way you work changed since you started hosting parties in Dubai?
I started as a little one-woman show with pretty much a bag and a speaker! I had a fixed structure that I used for each party, with specific party games that I would always use. Now we have all these different themes, photobooths, bespoke puppet shows, characters, performers, soft play, popcorn and candyfloss, all manner of arts and crafts.
We’ve started working a lot with schools, tying in our puppet shows and performances to a school’s particular curriculum and the subjects the kids are studying. We’ll then tailor-make a story to what the kids are learning in class, from music to the story, learning with actions, singing and having a lot of fun along the way.
What sets you apart from other party organizers in the UAE?
I think it’s the interaction that the girls have with the kids. The girls absolutely love their job, even when it’s difficult. The main thing for us is that when we play games, we make sure all the kids are involved, try to get to know their personalities and keep them all engaged. For that two hours, we want the kids to have as much fun as they possibly can, every single one of them.
What’s the craziest party that you’ve worked on?
Nothing really seems that crazy any more, to be honest! We’ve had everything from menageries of animals and arts and crafts, to our staff dressed as real-life Barbies or pirates. Nothing phases us any more!
What are your tips to parents throwing a kids’ party themselves?
Keep your guest list and the catering manageable. But really, it’s all about three important words: keep it simple.
To find out more, go to www.cheekylittleevents.com or call 04 388 6114.