Heather Murphy Monteith: Dancing to Success

| August 1, 2008 | 1 Comment

Heather Murphy Monteith has been looking for a safe, fun, healthy and non commercial activity for her toddler son, Max. A dancer and choreographer, she decided to organize a dance party that both kids and adults can enjoy.

With an A- List DJ, bubble machines for dance floor fun, hula hoops, interactive toys and chill out rooms with books and pillows — and most importantly, dance and disco tracks — she set up an afternoon dance party for both little kids and their parents. Baby Loves Disco was born.

Today, Baby Loves Disco is a successful event held in venues and clubs across the country and internationally in UK, Tel Aviv and Japan.

We interviewed Heather Murphy Monteith, founder of Baby Loves Disco, about her fast-growing national network of monthly afternoon dance parties for kids.  

How did you decide to start Baby Loves Disco?

Baby Loves Disco (BLD) is an accidental business. After having my son, Max (now almost 6) I was amazed at how little resonance there was for the WHOLE family at many of the typical outings and activities. After leaving the Zoo with Max crying for a blue water ice (we do not eat blue things, except for blueberries) I threatened my mama’s group to have a dance party in my living room, where we could al have fun, together and not have to say “no” to unhealthy snacks and gift shop trappings.

My living room was not quite large enough. So I approached Tony Schiro at FLUID Nightclub here in Philly to allow me to do an afternoon dance party during his “down” hours from 2-5 on a weekend. After he agreed, I crossed my fingers that 35 folks would come and help me offset the costs, putting out a few homemade posters in the playgrounds and cafes.. and alas, we sold-out! That was November 2004.

By Feb 2005, this party was a monthly event and soon after I met my current partner, Andy Blackman Hurwitz (a dad to three and a music industry veteran). We took BLD to NYC and Brooklyn and by Jan of 2006 we started spreading to across the country. We now have parties in 28 US cities, multiple events in the UK as well as Hong Kong, Tokyo, Tel Aviv, Sweden and Poland.

Andy and I just recently merged our Baby Loves Disco concept and Baby Loves Music (producing Baby Loves Hip Hop, Baby Loves Jazz, Baby Loves Salsa) into one big family (company) called Baby Loves Everything.

What is the concept behind Baby Loves Disco? What makes it distinct from other kid-focused activities?
BLD is a family event as provides an atmosphere for families (with kids 6 months – 7 years) to enjoy music and dance, together.. not dumbed down kid stuff. Just real music (clean of course) spun by a real, A-List DJ that the whole family can move and groove to. We make sure the clubs are triple cleaned, the sound and lights are at safe levels and we provide healthy snacks (no sugar bombs) as well as fun interactive such as simple toys, books, dance scarves, egg shakers, and of course, bubble machines!

What were the preparations you did before starting the business? Did you do any research to see if the business idea will work or was it just gut feel?

Nope, my partner Andy and i have been flying by the seat of our pants, working so hard and learning a lot.

We have a great bunch of specialized designers and consultants to help us manage PR, Web stuff, and sponsorships/partnerships as well as a National Events Manager and our lovely assistant here in Philly, Erica.

What was the most difficult part of starting Baby Loves Disco?

Starting was easy… we were running on inspiration and it was all a labor of love. Now it is STILL a labor of love but the harder stuff has come later, with expansion, branding, logistics and management….

What was your startup capital?

None to start. As we expanded we sunk @ 22K of personal funds into the business. This year we took on our very first angel investors.

We did not finance the start up. But years later it was difficult to secure appropriate investment.

How big is the business now, revenue-wise?

700K for Baby Loves Disco. Including parent company Baby Loves Music, 1 million.

Baby Loves Disco is now available in 27 cities and 4 international locations.

How can an interested party bring Baby Loves Disco to their area? How does the sponsorship works?

We are still a mom and pop company. Prospective hosts should e-mail us if they are interested in bringing BLD to their town. Sponsorship inquiries should be directed to my partner, Andy.

Baby Loves Disco charges tickets for attendance and sells Baby Loves Disco items. In addition, what are the other revenue sources of the business?

Well, what we do is VERY expensive. Between liability insurance, venue and talent fees as well as our consultants, so we basically just break even right now doing these events. We do have income from national sponsors, but no other money is generated in any other ways, right now. We are currently working on merchandising and advertising plans as we speak!

How are you marketing Baby Loves Disco?

Flyers, Posters, word of mouth, viral marketing, and through exchanges and partnerships with like minded family relevant business. local in each city as well as on-line.

What are the toughest challenges of running Baby Loves Disco?

Balancing a never ending and sometimes stressful to-do list for BLD, while still working as a performer (modern dancer, and remaining an engaged and fully present parent to my 2 children and maintaining a happy and healthy relationship with my husband, friends and family! It is hard!!

What do you think are the factors that make Baby Loves Disco so successful?

I think parents are interested in sharing their culture in a safe, fun way WITH their kids.. and disco is fun! Also, folks are trying to do more physical activities with their kids and BLD is all about dancing and funneling that kid energy into a productive effort. Also, we welcome all parts of the family: from the babysitter to the grandparents and there is something for ALL to enjoy.

You partnered with Andy Hurwitz in 2005. How do you divide the work? What are the main challenges of having a business partner and how do you make it work?

Andy is more of the “big picture” person and my concerns are mostly with overseeing all aspects of BLD. We make it work via a trillion e-mails, ichat and meetings at our favorite tea house.

How are you balancing a successful business, family and other interests?

As I said above, it hard and I’m still trying to figure it all out. It’s a constant issue for me and I continually reflect on what needs to change to increase my dedication to my main priorities: family and maintaining my art!

What are your plans in the next 5 years for Baby Loves Disco? Are you thinking of franchising the business?

I hope to either sell the business at some point or at least get to the point where I am not running it! Franchising has been discussed but we have no current plans!

Do you have any lessons you wish to share to other entrepreneurs?

Well, If I had to do it all over again, I’d just wait until the kids were both in school. Other than that, I think doing more formal business planning in the beginning would have assisted us greatly — as we are now doing so much cleaning up in that regard!

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Category: Success Stories

About the Author ()

Isabel Isidro is the editor of WomenHomeBusiness.com. She also writes for PowerHomeBiz.com and Learning from Big Boys .

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  1. David says:

    What an awesome idea! I hope this is still going well for you

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