We were lucky to catch up with Liz Tomko recently and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Liz thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. What’s been the best thing you’ve ever seen (or done yourself) to show a customer that you appreciate them?
When I started Artplay, I would do therapy with a child while the parent waited on the couch. These parents/customers were so exhausted from stress that they would very often fall asleep on the couch – sometimes drooling! They would express their appreciation for an hour of rest. This prompted an investigation in to how many parents were seeking their own therapeutic time, which as a high percentage. So, one room at Artplay has been designated the “Parent Hideout.” This luxury room includes a massage chair, as well as a comfy leather lounger, plus a hot tea bar, healthy snacks (minus the bowl of yummy chocolates), soft noise machine, light-hearted reading materials, lots of live plants and an air purifier. Parent have to reserve the room, so each morning I am fielding text requests for the room. We want parents to feel loved by Artplay!
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
Artplay was created to help kids (ages 4 to 16) understand their feelings. Schools do not tend to teach emotional awareness, yet every single child has to contend with how to manage big feelings. We do not diagnose kids, we focus on the needs of each child in a child-centric, individualized way. No two kids are the same, so we follow their lead and create strategies and tools, based on what they know works for them. Artplay is considered a preventative form of therapy because what we help kids with, will last a lifetime.
Where do you think you get most of your clients from?
Artplay is highly reliant on word-of-mouth. We have consistently followed three streams of referrals over the past 10 years and these are the top three: • Pediatricians that can recognize when a patient needs emotional support (not testing/diagnosis). We have helped the kids of a few pediatricians and now they refer to us consistently.
• School social workers/school counselors/school principals. Children have a tendency to act out, emotionally, at school and these adults are easily able to recognize the need for Artplay, so they refer.
• Past clients refer to Artplay a lot too. We often stay connected with past clients by reaching out to check on how their child even after service is complete.
We make sure to mail fliers and business cards to all of the above, so they have something to hand out, if needed.
If you have multiple revenue streams in your business, would you mind opening up about what those streams are and how they fit together?
Artplay has a secondary source of revenue as we sell therapeutic products in a small store. Clients walk in the door and immediately have something to “do,” which is important as kids can be nervous about attending their first session. We sell inexpensive items, so kids can use their own money (teaching responsibility). One child last week said, “This is the best place to buy birthday gifts for my friends!” There is a “Sensory Central” table with slime and squishes, plus a “Fidget Tree” with hanging fidgets. It is not a large source of income, but it provides so much joy.
- Website: artplayhealing.com
- Instagram: @artplayhealing
- Youtube: Artplay, LLC