Ice Carving with Schools – a Childrens Story of Your Own Business.
Dear Ice Creations
Could you please come and do a talk to the children of our school about ice sculpture and possibly carve an ice sculpture for them?
It was an unusual request for sure and in December at the busiest time of year for ice sculpture delivery with Christmas party season in full swing, the thought of taking on something new was a distraction that really wasn’t part of the plan.
We do however deal with many unusual requests for ice and it’s not all about ice sculpture either -from the military wishing to blow up a wall of ice to a university wishing to test tiny ice cylinders to see how they fare against impacts of a tiny nature. We’ve built boxes made of ice for Miele the kitchen people and we’ve been filmed and taken part in the TV show Shipping Wars. We’ve been asked to appear on Britain's got Talent - although we did decline on the basis that we couldn’t figure out how to actually create an ice sculpture in a whole 2 minutes which is what the producers were asking for. We’ve been asked to build a pycrete boat – again for TV and at the time of writing I’m talking to another TV company about a show they are making for Dave TV about transporting fragile objects around the UK – I’m just sure they’re looking for us to break something!
So what do we do? I was really keen to mix it with a bunch of 8 year olds – hey it was going to be a first for both them and me but there was no hope of charging a price to match the time it was worth to us as an ice company (you should see my electric bill) but that partly had something to do with me – as dad to an 8 year old myself I was all too aware that if the school really wants to do something for the benefit of the children and the budget won’t stand the fee then it’s the lucky parents that pick up the deficit and that was something I was really keen to avoid. So busy time as it was I employed a common business tactic – I stalled the teacher – partly let me deal with this at a time where my life didn’t involve a constant round of hotel stays in various parts of the country and partly to let me think what on earth II was going to fill my time with whilst talking to what could be the toughest customers ever should I bottle it on the day.
So January arrived…
Traditionally a quieter time of the year for us in the ice studio after everyone has spent up at Christmas we were competing in Tatry Ice Master in Slovakia at the end of January which we won in 2015 and 2018, we had some maintenance to do and there were a the parties for people that couldn’t have parties in December like event companies and venues who were too busy to throw a staff event during the busy period. Time it was to really look into doing my school talk.
We carry out Team Build events for corporate clients which does involve us giving them tools which could destroy a child's finger – my first thoughts were to let them loose with the same chisels and let them destroy some ice of which we had plenty – well you get the picture – a close inspection of the insurance covered only those over 18 and anyway the risk assessment would be a nightmare!
The second plan involved the children building a sled out of slabs of ice and having a sleigh race around the playground- just great fun but as a quick claim for damages when little Johnny crashed into the school railings and I had to explain to the fire brigade exactly what happened as they extracted his head caught between two bars this was going to be a winner.
Publicity Jim but not as we know it!
The Beginning - Make a Plan – RESEARCH!
No I needed a plan and that involved the best we could do and to get it I needed to know what a teacher does before a new lesson and to do that I needed a teacher. So I got one – a local friend of the family called Joey.
The first thing to do was apparently make a plan by filling in all of the points you need to get across during the lesson and that was it- just like a story or a business plan we had a beginning and that was research. It involved costings which it turned out was entirely feasible if we covered the school event at a time when we were normally quiet in a quiet period- like Mondays or Tuesdays. It involved what I was going to say and actually sell my time to the group – just like rehearsing a script for a pitch to a business client and it involved an equipment inventry just like we’d do for any other job away from our home studio. Thinking about it made it simple. My intention was to do as little as possible and let the children do as much as possible- we all remember being talked at by the dullest teacher we can remember but when as kids we actually got to do something new– well that was just what we were supposed to be doing at school – learning something new! It was also what we were in business for – this was looking good.
The Middle - Execute the Plan
It was as it turned out an amazing day. For a whole one and a half hours we watched a short video all about ice carving, we learnt about the thickest ice on the planet and where to find it, I invited questions and boy did I get them- we learnt about what animals lived at which pole and all about glaciers and how such massive pieces of ice move with a demonstration (anyone remember being spellbound by the Christmas Lectures?). I had the children in the playground marching out 70 metres (which is exactly how much sea levels will rise if all of Earths ice melted) and then I told them exactly how far above sea level their own town was. We made necklaces from string and ice cubes which got really messy and very noisy, I explained how we made crystal clear ice and passed around panes of ice for the school children to look through and hold. I short we had fun and learnt a bunch of stuff along the way. Frankly there were still questions going on at hometime and I struggled to get them out of the class to waiting parents – that was something that wasn’t in the plan. The day was of course a big success
The End – Learn from the Experience
As it happened we nailed this one but of course learning isn’t always about what goes right. There was a whole bunch of stuff to digest after the school event – how could I make it better being the main one – part of the digestion process was actually writing this blog and what did I take away from this?
Well it struck me that every event is just like starting a business in the first place and if the event goes well or you are able to discover what went wrong and have the will to improve – the chances are your business will be just fine– you just don’t realise it until you write it down and digest it.
Try it for yourself – it’s FREE.
Hi Alan Thank you so much for the visit yesterday. The children thoroughly enjoyed it and there writing, today has been so much better. I genuinely cannot thank you enough for your time, efforts and commitment to making the afternoon brilliant. The only down side was that is wasn't all day! Will send photos and fuller testimonial soon. Thanks once again!!
Oasis Firvale School