Name of Business: Blue Murder Events Limited
Your Name and Age: Katharine Canning, 33
Tell us about your family: I live in Aberdeen with my husband and two daughters, Eve aged 5 and Hope, 20 months.
What did you do before coming up with your business idea and how was it making the transition?
My degree is in Hotel & Hospitality Management – a career path that just wasn’t for me in the end! However, I spent most of my career working in office management and serviced offices.
When did you launch?
We launched Blue Murder Events on 01.11.2006
How did you get started?
I started selling murder mystery games I’d written as downloads over the internet and via eBay. Blue Murder Events was born because people kept asking me if I would come and run them for me! That’s not really my thing (I prefer to be behind the scenes) but a chance encounter with an old school friend (who’s now my business partner) saw the birth of Blue Murder Events.
What research did you do before launching?
Not a lot! The games were already selling well as downloads, so we knew there was a market for events out there.
How have you funded the business?
We only spent a few hundred pounds on our website and the business has been self-funding from the start.
How do you promote your business? What has worked best?
Our most effective advertising has been in a national Scottish wedding magazine. Our hen night events are hugely popular and we’ve had loads of great editorial from the magazine on the back of our advertising. It’s been invaluable to our business.
What has worked well about your business?
Being flexible and making the most of every opportunity that’s come along. For example, we imagined corporate events and Christmas parties would be the core of our business when we started. However, the launch of Masquerade, our first hen night murder mystery, took Blue Murder Events to another level. I’ve now written a second hen night game, Footballers’ Knives and we now run hen night murder mysteries pretty much every weekend from March to October.
At the end of last month we did a huge charity murder mystery lunch for the Ronald McDonald House at Glasgow’s Yorkhill Hospital. It was attended by 300 women – a far larger event than we would normally undertake. It was fantastic – and has opened the door to yet another market for us.
What has been your biggest challenge so far? How have you dealt with it?
We get enquiries through our website from all over the UK. We’re based in Scotland and it’s hugely frustrating when we can’t take a booking as we’re not able to get to certain location. We’re dealing with this by releasing Licensing opportunities in 2010. We are truly excited at the prospect of growing our brand into new territories. It’s similar to franchising and we’re certain that this is the best way for us to get the geographical coverage that Blue Murder Events needs.
How do you fit in work with the family?
I work from home which is convenient (mostly!). My elder daughter is at school and I try to cram as much work in as possible when the little one is having her nap! If that’s not always possible, my husband is very supportive and will take the kids out the way at the weekend to let me get work done.
What advice would you give to someone else wanting to work in this area?
It’s such great fun and so rewarding. Get in touch about a becoming a Blue Murder Event licensee! For event management in general, I’d say get as much experience as you can. We were complete novices when we started 3 years ago and I cringe when I think of the events we staged back then! There really is no substitute for practical, hands-on experience.
If you have a flexible working business opportunity, please explain briefly what you offer and how people find out more.
We’ll be offering exclusive geographical territories for people to run their own Blue Murder Events murder mystery event business. Don’t worry – you don’t need to be an actor (or even know any actors!). Our events are very simple to deliver and we’ll train you up to run your own – or to train someone else to run your events for you. The start up costs are low, you can work from home and be completely flexible with your hours. You can find out more on our website: www.bluemurderevents.co.uk/licensing.html.
Your website link. www.bluemurderevents.co.uk