Book Now
0

Shopping Bag

behind
14th August 2018

Menagerie’s 2nd Birthday

We recently celebrated Menagerie’s 2nd birthday, which prompted me to reflect on my journey and what a whirlwind the past two years has been. 

 

 

I had previous experience in owning and operating restaurants with my ex husband, but I’d never done it alone. My first big hurdle when opening Menagerie was getting all the men I worked with to listen to me. It was shock to the system to experience the difference when I stood alone without that male presence supporting my voice. It’s such a male dominated industry from fit out, to operation, to supply that sometimes I felt like I was being spoken over.

 

I did however receive massive amounts of support from my relationship manager at the bank and my board. It was the first time I’d had investors and I felt so fortunate to have such dynamic, successful people behind me who believed and supported my vision. Their guidance has helped develop and grow me into being the proud business woman I am today.

 

 

Our first year of business was turbulent. Hospitality was changing around me and customers expected more than ever before. Things had changed since opening my previous restaurant in 2013; guests wanted more than a bit of fancy dress, a bottomless brunch and a sax player.

 

 

I had set out to create an experiential dining concept and it took a lot of time to develop that to where it needed to be. We received a terrible review from the Manchester Evening News in our first year, which I never really addressed; but the untrue comments that were made caused a wave of cancellations, including some big events. It was a really low moment and was scary because when you’re running a business, you have other people’s livelihoods in your hands.

 

But, everything that I’d been through had prepared me for these moments, so I kept my head down and looked for new ways to adapt the business and make it attractive to customers again.

 

When it came to my personal life, I learned the hard way who was there for me and who was there for the free ride. It cost me time and money; looking back I wish I’d put my foot down sooner, but it taught me an invaluable lesson in learning that true friends won’t push you to do things that will have a negative impact on you or your business.

 

Throughout 2016, we sat in an empty development and despite being close to Spinningfields, we were slightly off the beaten track so I learned to play on the brand’s strengths and focused on specific reasons to visit the venue – changing our entire approach and marketing strategy rapidly.

 

We’ve established ourselves as a real female focused venue catering to everything delicious, beautiful and entertaining – bringing it back to my original message of enjoying a Menagerie Moment – it’s all about an experience that only we can offer.

 

 

While reflecting on my journey so far, I thought about some of my personal highs, and some lows over the past couple of years.

 

I’ll start with the highs, because these far outweigh the lows. It might sound crazy but seeing the business start to make money and make a name for ourselves in such a competitive industry was amazing. There are so many big companies out there running multiple brands that I always see it as an achievement that we have made it this far and thrived.

 

 

We’ve had a host of famous faces come to the restaurant and sometimes I have to pinch myself when the likes of Dynamo, Perrie Edwards, Louisa Johnson and YXNG Bane have walked through the door. A highlight from this year has got to be seeing Beyonce’s dancers performing in sync on our runway. I cried tears of excitement and happiness, but also devastation as I was out of the country on holiday. I wanted to join in! But this will definitely go down as one of my Menagerie highlights of 2018.

 

It’s also an amazing feeling to have big brands, who I admire so much choose us as their preferred venue to host events.

 

The most rewarding thing over the past 2 years has been getting to work with people who are like family and help me love my job – it’s a blessing I never take for granted.

 

Unfortunately, these 2 years have taught me that you can’t have the highs without the lows. At this point, I count myself lucky every day to still be here.

 

We had a quiet summer in 2017, but when trade pick up in the last quarter of the year I was living by the motto, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” and everything took a back seat, including my personal life while work was my only focus. After a cold turned into a chest infection, and while I refused to slow down, I contracted bacterial meningitis in February this year off the back being run down and not taking care of myself.

 

 

My family lost my sister to the infection as a baby, so having me diagnosed 30 years later, I can’t imagine what it put them through. In the run up to being diagnosed I struggled to just function, so coming back after the infection had cleared made me realise how fatigued and weak I had been feeling for a long time. Recovery isn’t quick and with memory loss and difficulty concentrating and coordinating as side effects I have focussed on getting my health back and my team have stepped up to help me.

 

I’ve always been such a yes person, which could be seen a positive but in the past 18 months, I’ve learnt how to say ‘no’. As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, I quickly became aware who my true friends were and who was pressuring me to things, to so I had set boundaries to respect myself.

 

 

I just want to say thank you to all our lovely customers who have made the last two years ones I’ll never forget. Sharing the Menagerie story with all of you is so special and I can’t wait to make many more years of Menagerie Moments with everyone. I wouldn’t have changed anything over the past couple of years and I can’t wait to see what excitement and challenges are thrown my way in the next 2 years and beyond. Always remember to go after your dreams, because it far more scary not to.

 

Karina x

 

Share:

Featured Articles

Explore more related articles.

Menagerie Presents The Greatest Showman

Take a look BTS of our Greatest Showman rehearsals

Justin Timberlake, Tyson Fury & Kevin Hart All Create Their Own Menagerie Moments

This was an unforgettable week!

Feeling proud

One of my favourite weekends of the year has to be Manchester Pride Weekend. What could be better […]

Menagerie Presents The Greatest Showman

Take a look BTS of our Greatest Showman rehearsals

Menagerie’s 2nd Birthday

We recently celebrated Menagerie’s 2nd birthday, which prompted me to reflect on my journey and what a whirlwind […]

Reflecting On My Journey So Far

Going over the highs and lows made me realise how far I’ve come

Bring Out the Girl Boss in You

As a woman in business, I’ve learnt to never underestimate myself and that time is my most valuable commodity.

Justin Timberlake, Tyson Fury & Kevin Hart All Create Their Own Menagerie Moments

This was an unforgettable week!

A Summer to Remember

It looks like summer’s on its way out and what a whirlwind of it’s been. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A Night Out with Salt Bae

Visiting Nusr-et and meeting Salt Bae was everything I imagined and more!

It’s Important to Remember the ‘You’ Time

Being an entrepreneur and running your own business can mean that very quickly you become consumed by work and it becomes difficult to escape your own headspace.

Feeling proud

One of my favourite weekends of the year has to be Manchester Pride Weekend. What could be better […]

International Friendship Day

Celebrating International Friendship Day with a shout out to all my friends and girl bosses.

Manchester Together

A Manchester Together – With One Voice Event

Top 10 Menagerie Moments of 2017

There have been so many amazing Menagerie Moments in 2017, here are the highlights:   10. Forever Manchester […]

Ciroc around the Christmas Tree

This Winter, New Bailey, Menagerie and premium vodka brand Cîroc, have joined forces to open their festive bar […]

Watch What Happened When YXNG BANE Performed Live At Menagerie

An amazing performance from YXNG Bane, at the Couture club womenswear collection launch.. View the full video here: […]

Forever Unique AW17 fashion show

The team here at Menagerie were delighted to host the Forever Unique AW17 fashion show, due to be […]

Seema’s surprise garden party

Here at Menagerie, we are regularly the suitably lavish setting for our friends, The Real Housewives of Cheshire, […]

Chills, Thrills and Spills at Menagerie this October

Preparations are well under way for our three day thriller over the Halloween weekend of 27th, 28th and […]

We Love Manchester: Menagerie host star studded charity fundraiser evening

Last month we teamed up with Real Housewives of Cheshire star Seema Malhotra and businessman Chris Healing to […]