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Recently, we had a chat with one of the most popular children’s entertainers in the North West, Lucy Wilkinson, otherwise known as Louby Lou, for a chat about her experience with EnterprisingYou and how she’s discovered a newfound way of ‘clowning’ during lockdown…

Hi Lucy! First of all, I just have to say I haven’t been able to get your Louby Lou song out of my head all day!

Ah brilliant, it’s very catchy!

Tell me about how Louby Lou the clown came to be?

I got brought up in the business. My dad was a clown, and I started clowning at the age of six, so I’ve always done this, really. I created the character Louby Lou when I was 18, and I’ve now been doing this for 23 years. It’s an amazing job. There’s a lot that goes into it that people don’t always see, but it really is amazing.

How did you have to adapt your clowning during the Covid pandemic?

Before Covid hit, I was mainly performing at events like parties, weddings, christenings, shopping centres, and children’s hospitals. Lockdown could have caused the full business to fold completely, so I knew I had to act quick. When you’re in panic mode, it’s easy to push things away rather than bring things to you, but I had to think, ‘how am I going to build my business back up?’ I was filming live videos every night to keep my hand in and stick to my purpose of bringing joy and fun to people. I started doing all sorts, from Giggles on Wheels to my ‘Mug Club’ catchups. Lockdown was a time to actually have 12 months to step back, look at everything in the business, and build up my brand by testing different things.

Tell me more about Giggles on Wheels?

I’d actually been trying to get Giggles on Wheels off the ground for a long time because I knew it was a very special service, to turn up on someone’s doorstep and deliver a little gift and a few little laughs. Somebody asked me to deliver a cucumber a few years ago, just as a jokey get-well present, so I started doing a couple of deliveries. That didn’t take off completely at first, but it’s when Covid started that Giggles on Wheels was born.

That sounds like fun!

It’s amazing! In fact, I was just was speaking to a parent the other day about how magical it is. One family in particular have booked four Giggles on Wheels experiences so far, for different occasions like Valentine’s Day. They prefer them more to the big shows, where parents might not have the time to join in, but they’ve got 15 minutes to share some smiles on the doorstep. I want to build on that. I’m intrigued to see what summer brings. Maybe there could even be a mini roadshow on the cards…

How did you find out about EnterprisingYou, during this time?

I applied for a government grant and didn’t qualify, but then EnterprisingYou phoned me to offer this great service! I just wanted to come out of the pandemic stronger and know that I’ve learnt something, so I said yes.

How has the EnterprisingYou programme helped your business so far?

They’ve given me so many different training opportunities, it’s almost hard to choose! I’ve signed myself up for so many things. Plus, they’ve always got different webinars going on, as well as their ladies coffee mornings, which I love. I have an amazing Business Coach, Vikki Bradbury, who checks in with me most weeks. She’s so lovely, I feel like I know her already, and I’ve only ever spoken to her on the phone! She always says there’s wellbeing out there if you need any help like that, which is nice.

What sort of things have EnterprisingYou helped most with?

EnterprisingYou got me set up on LinkedIn, which was a massive help in terms of making connections. They also helped me with my Etsy shop for Magic Word Bracelets, which is another project of mine. I’ve signed myself up for so many things. There’s a lot that goes into a business. For instance, when it comes to networking, at first, I didn’t know how to tell my story, but I’m really enjoying It now. I’ve realised, as long as you’re authentic and passionate about what you do, things will come naturally.

Would you recommend EnterprisingYou, then?

Oh, 100%! They’ve been brilliant. They really give you that personal touch and get onboard on where you’re up to with things. They support you with everything you do. I’m learning and making connections; things are happening and looking good. I even had the chance to deliver my own webinar on resilience, which was a great chance to share my experience.

So, what does the future hold for Louby Lou?

I’ve always had a vision of having my own premises. Before Covid, I was doing pop-up parties at various venues, like cafes, to try and build up a following with this in mind. That was really successful, especially my Halloween parties, which sold out straight away. My dream is to have somewhere I can set up base and say, ‘this is my Louby Lou Lounge’. Everything I’ve done over the past 12 months in lockdown has been with the aim of building up my brand to make this dream come true. I want Louby Lou Lounge to be a positive place for family fun. At the end of my parties, even the adults are energised, which is important to me. I want kids’ parties to be fun for everyone, including the adults. There’s a niche for proper family entertainment. I would love to also have my own podcast and write a book. I’ll just keep mentioning it, and one day it will happen. In the meantime, EnterprisingYou are helping me to apply for an apprentice, which is really exciting.

Lastly, what is your favourite thing about what you do?

I like how spontaneous it is and the way every day is different. It never gets boring! The best bit of my job really, though, is seeing those reactions and walking away knowing I’ve made that difference; that I’ve brought some joy and happiness to that person and made their day. It’s a happy job, and that’s what makes me roll each day.

To find out more about Louby Lou, visit the links below:

 

We provide fully-funded support to the self-employed and gig economy workers across Greater Manchester. If you would like to find out more about EnterprisingYou, register online or email info@enterprising-you.co.uk.

To attend an EnterprisingYou coffee morning, keep an eye out on our Eventbrite page for further details.