Interview with Float in the Forest

What’s your name and where do you come from Our names are Shari Vandervelde and Will Griffin.  We are setting up Float in the Forest, a new float centre coming soon to a secret location in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire… providing a wonderful floatation experience, with the unique benefit of emerging into a beautiful natural environment.

How did you spot a space in the market for your product or service? We have always appreciated opportunities to escape the stresses of modern life and chill out.  Floatation is the ultimate in relaxation: you float effortlessly on the surface of warm water saturated with Epsom salts, in a comfortable environment where sound and light are minimised. When we moved to the Forest of Dean we noticed that there weren’t many opportunities to do this sort of thing locally, and that the nearest float centres are at least an hour away.

How long did you think about your business before bringing it to life? We first floated when we lived in London around 18 years ago and were blown away by it!  It’s been at the back of our minds since then that it would be a wonderful thing to be able to share the experience with as many people as possible. We have been thinking about it for the last 2-3 years, and working on it since November 2016.

How did you raise the funds to start your business? We have some savings, some earnings from Will’s other business, and a couple of investors who believe in our vision.

How do you stay informed – networking, newspapers, social media? We have toured many of the UK float centres to make connections and learn from others in what is an overwhelmingly supportive industry.  We even took a trip to California to meet Lee and Glenn Perry, the founders of commercial floatation.  We stay informed about the floating industry via a dedicated Facebook group for float centre owners, and other industry sources such as podcasts.  We have been doing lots of local networking, and have set up ‘Forest Wellbeing’, which is a group of local holistic practitioners.  We also enjoy participating in local hashtag hours on Twitter.

Tell us about one of your business low-points and what you learnt from it It has been harder than we hoped to find a suitable venue. We got quite a long way along the road with one potential venue, and stopped looking for others.  It then fell through, and we realised that we always need to have multiple options on the table, until we sign.  A good strategy for business in general.

Name five qualities people need to be successful in a job like yours Hands-on, exacting, empathetic, sociable, and have a love of floating!

Do you have a business mentor? Shari did a 10 week business start-up course with a Miranda Jenkins, a local prize-winning business coach.  She has been a great support and the training was really useful.

What’s been your favourite piece of press coverage so far? We organised the ‘Forest Wellbeing marquee’ at a local activities festival, and got good coverage in the local newspaper, with plenty of people showing up on the day.

Name one of your favourite start-ups Infamous Catering, who deliver unforgettable flavours using super-fresh local and seasonal ingredients.  They pop up to provide delicious food with a smile, in a places as diverse mountain-biking trails, to vegetarian supper clubs where you always make a new friend!  They will be catering our launch event, and our mouths are watering already!


Quick fire round

Apple or Android? Android
Mac or PC? Linux!
Apples for hand or melons for feet? Melons for feet, no contest!
Name two chocolate bars you would put together to make a super bar Mmm… tough one… Daim bar and Ferrero Rocher!

Float in the Forest is a new float centre, coming soon to a secret location in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire… providing a wonderful floatation experience, with the unique benefit of emerging into a beautiful natural environment.

Twitter: @floatinforest