Michelle Mason set up Gymboree Play and Music in London’s Docklands ten years ago, running play and music classes for 0-5 year olds involving movement, props, imaginary play and gym equipment.
A former social worker and project manager, Michelle had always wanted to run her own childcare business and the Gymboree concept, a global franchise specialising in early childhood development through play, was the perfect fit.
Gymboree is a busy play centre with classes running Monday to Saturday, and availability for children’s’ party hire at weekends. But it’s more than just fun for children as Michelle’s business also provides a valuable social outlet for mums and dads, who take part in the classes and get to meet other parents.
In 2016, she decided to open up another branch of the franchise and needed some funding to support the expansion costs and help with cash-flow. Although she had had a bank loan before, Michelle found the flexibility of Liberis’ Business Cash Advance much better for her business.
She explains, “Everything about a bank loan is fixed, from the payments to when you pay it off. The terms are too rigid for a small business like this. With a cash advance, there’s no fixed payment amount or term. It’s extremely manageable too: we take customer subscriptions by card on a monthly basis and because pay back is taken at source, I don’t have to do anything. I just see the amount being paid off each month, which is wonderful!
“I can also top it up if I need to. I recently bought bean-to-coffee cup machine for parents to use. Whilst it’s not a business essential, such a simple thing has really enhanced my offer. Our parents love to chat with each other over a nice cup of coffee and great friendships are formed, which often extend beyond the classes. That’s a special thing to be able to make happen.”