I was 10 years old when I was invited to my first Sparkleworks pamper party. Not only was it the unique party idea of getting a makeover with my friends, but it was also the exceptionally positive and friendly service of the host, Swindon-based Sarah Southall, that left me coming back to them for my parties throughout my pre-teen years.
Now having been run for 15 years alongside her daughter Chloe, Sarah’s Sparkleworks parties have built up a consistent clientele, with an 80% rebooking rate, and more importantly have made life-long memories among friends.
Yet unfortunately, like many local businesses, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a halt in their services for the last few months. “We stopped working on the 20th March,” says Sarah, “and have been unable to sparkle since.”
As a beauty-based business, restrictions for them still remain in place. Whilst hairdressers were able to open from the 4th July, the doors still remained shut on the remainder of the beauty industry, and the continued social distancing measures mean there’s still uncertainty as to when they will reopen.
“Social distancing will also effect how and when we are able to work again,” Sarah continues, “children are not allowed to gather in groups until possibly year group pods in September but that is still unclear.”
Whilst there is still uncertainty, this hasn’t prevented the duo from continuing to keep the magic of their parties going whilst in lockdown. “We have tried to diversify by purchasing some new stock and by using the stock we already have and offer birthday/party/pamper/festival boxes,” says Sarah, “so people can still celebrate with some Sparkleworks magic (especially our disappointed cancelled party princesses) and have a little fun at home.”
Run from their Sparkleworks Shop on Etsy, and with prices ranging from £12.50 to £32.50 (before P&P), the boxes are packed with beauty and sweet treats, from glitter to face masks, making them the perfect addition for any Glast-home-bury in the garden or post-lockdown party.
As a local business, Chloe and Sarah have a first-hand understanding of why now more than ever, supporting small businesses is so important. “We personally always try and buy either locally or from small businesses such as Etsy rather than high street,” she says, “it really changes lives and offers a lots of real people and women especially who want to work with flexibility maybe around children, or just creatively bring in a small income.”
With the world beginning to slowly reopen its doors, it is important to note that local businesses are in need of our support even more so. As the women who once made me feel like a princess 13 years ago, it is now time for me to give them my support and help during this difficult time. Hopefully it won’t be too long, before they can get back to their “sparkly reality!”