This nurse retired to launch a business with her bright pink caravan - and has been left reeling from its success
Jan McKinley receiving an award from Theo Paphitis
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 2 Jan 2018
A former Castle Hill hospital oncology nurse has bagged national recognition after launching a business providing fun parties for people of all ages with her bright pink caravan.
Retired staff nurse Jan McKinley left the profession in March after 20 years but has already seen success running her Dolly Daydreams Party Caravan business.
Ms McKinley has received a second national award for the firm, with a Women on Wednesday award from Ann Summers and Knickerbox guru Jacqueline Gold.
Dolly Daydream, party caravan and photo booth, pictured in September 2015.
Jan, 54, from Anlaby Road, launched Dolly Daydreams three years ago while she was working part-time at Castle Hill hospital.
She said: “Since being 16 I’ve always dabbled with party planning, from Tupperware to Virgin Vie, and I’ve also always liked the idea of being my own boss.
“I had this idea of creating a party caravan and after taking some really sound business advice from the local Goodwin Trust, I was up and running.”
She said she came up with idea chance sighting of a retro caravan followed by Filey’s Big Top circus tent.
Last year she caught the attention of Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis when he chose her as a winner in his Twitter-based weekly Small Business Sunday awards, which gave her profile a huge boost and also provided a free pass to his annual business conference in Birmingham.
This time, Jan’s pink caravan has succeeded in being picked by Jacqueline Gold CBE as a winner in her Women On Wednesday (#WOW) campaign to support women in business.
The entrepreneur said she was “blown away” to be handed the award and hopes to see the business’s growth continue.
Jan said: “I was blown away to win a #WOW award, it’s a real honour to be recognised by such a successful businesswoman. I used a review from a customer as my entry so it was a proper third-party testimony.
“Bell tents are brilliant in the summer months and indoor tents are the latest craze sweeping the nation. I can offer packages of indoor tents for parties and sleepovers, including a ‘best friends’ deal of two special indoor tents.”
Jan offers two vintage caravans, Alice and Daisy, with different themes that are brought to the customer’s home or venue of choice. She provides a choice of activities – pamper session, crafts, or cupcake decorating – and also offers a range of additional props and extras to hire.
Another option, very popular for children’s sleepovers is to hire a themed bell tent for either outdoor or indoor use.
Jan said: “I would like to grow the business and develop new party options, the potential for different themes is limitless. I enjoy collaborating with other individuals and businesses, and helping to unleash the creative side in others. Watch this space.”