Moms surprised by fast response

Bookings for Oaks ‘n Acorns started five minutes after launch

Minutes after Winnie Standish and Nicole Patel launched the website for their parent and tot activity studio Oaks ‘n Acorns, there was already community interest.

“We literally just added the bookings page and within five minutes we had a booking and almost fell over,” Patel says from their Danforth location between Coxwell and Woodbine stations.

Oaks ‘n Acorns, which features workshops and classes in dance, art, music, yoga and more, as well as prenatal classes taught by a physician, held an opening party on Jan. 11, inviting parents to try out what they offer. While most classes are scheduled on a six to eight week basis, they also offer some drop in classes, although pre-registration is required. Their roster of teachers includes opera singers, dance and yoga instructors, artists, musicians, seamstresses, professors and doctors. Along with several different studio spaces, Oaks ‘n Acorns is also home to a play area and café.

“Moms come first here, like we love that the kids come and they do a lot of the different programs, it’s great, but we want the moms to take time out of their busy schedule and just unwind and get to sit and have a coffee and let the kids run around and play for a little bit while they’re doing something structured,” Standish says.

The moms first met at a Danforth moms meet-up group and wound up coming up with the initial idea for the business during a meeting at Patel’s house when Standish was the only person able to make the event.

“It was almost like a dream, like what’s not out there? If we were to do it, we would have tutu making classes, we would do it so there’s seating so that we wouldn’t have to wait in dark hallways and we just went crazy from there,” Patel says.

As parents, they saw a need for a place where moms and children could participate in activities together. Saturdays have been popular among fathers and on Sundays they are closed for Birthday parties.

“It took us a while to find the perfect space,” Standish says. “We knew we wanted it here because we live right here. We really like this area and we felt this was where something was missing so it was all about finding the right spot.”

Patel, mom of three and a half year old Jayden, and Standish mother of four-year-old Annabelle and 16-month-old Skyler, say the activities studio is the kind of place they were looking for when their kids were babies.

“A lot of our moms at night want to put the kids to bed and do amazing things that you cannot do at home,” Patel says. “Someone to guide you and you can make amazing things and then they can make more at home for their kids, that’s the vision that I have for where it can go.”

Through their programming, café and play and stay area, their goal is for parents and moms to make connections and friends with other participants.

“We’re ready to take the next step, which is opening our doors and letting everyone in and letting everyone have a good time in the vision that we had in our minds and see how it unfolds,” Standish says.

About this article:

By: Ann Ruppenstein
Posted: Jan 22 2013 1:49 pm
Filed in: Business
Edition: Toronto