Sharai Meyers

StyleNest had the best time discovering Purple Dragon’s latest launch in Putney. A playground for both adults and children, Purple Dragon offers a fun and family friendly environment all bundled in a beautifully child-proofed bubble. 

No detail spared, Purple Dragon is a destination for the modern mum to unwind, eat and meet likeminded mums. Purple Dragon offers a range of sensory stimuli as well as activities to encourage the little ones to blow off steam. 

We met with founder Sharai Meyers to chat about the latest launch and tips on being a working mum.

Congratulations on the new Putney site, can you tell our readers how the site differs to the Chelsea site?

Thanks, it’s great to be open in Putney! The clubs are like siblings – they share a common DNA but have their own unique features. They both have brilliant art, music, high energy and creative play with delicious food and drink on offer all day.Chelsea has our fantastic pool and wet play, together with a Pro Sports simulator and adults lounge. Putney has a Master-chef inspired teaching kitchen and a studio room offering all sorts of exciting classes from Jedi training to Ballet and Street Dance, with yoga and taekwondo too…

Do you have plans to expand? If so, where?

Yes, we’re looking at other sites in London, across the UK and internationally. We’ve recently taken in some external investment and grown our board. This has given us a brilliant foundation to be able to grow from.

What is the ethos of Purple Dragon?

We are all about effortless family time. Big cities can be tough for families and our clubs are an antidote to these stresses.

How did the name come about?

When I was growing up we moved around a lot as my father worked in the oil industry. When we moved I had a half a dozen of my favourite things which came with me. One of these was a book about the discovery of magic in which a badger, a rat and a mole go on a quest. Eventually they discover an ivory egg, on an island floating in the clouds and out of this hatches a tiny purple dragon… When I started thinking about the first club this was the image that immediately popped into my head!

What was the motivation behind launching Purple Dragon?

London is full of great places for adults, that often don’t like children and great places for children that aren’t great for adults. It felt like someone was always compromising. I wanted to build a place where both adults and children of different ages could have fun, socialise, eat well and relax together at any time.

Before Purple Dragon, what was your background?

I studied law and then worked in fashion before I had my children – Connor (11) & Lukas (9). They were the inspiration for starting this. Growing up mostly in Holland, Scandinavia and Scotland I had a massive amount of freedom. I wanted my boys to have a sense of that freedom, but found that was tricky in a big city.  The clubs give children that safe place to explore, discover and grow, which means that their grown ups can kick back and relax. 

What can mums and little ones expect to find at Purple Dragon?

Our team are the heart and soul of our business and they really bring it life – you can expect that they’ll be jamming in the music room, creating epic works of art in the studio, cooking up a storm in the kitchen and generally making sure it’s all about having fun.

Apart from it being a safe haven where everyone can eat well, socialise and relax, there’s space for grown ups to get some work done, with super fast WIFI. When it comes to little ones, both clubs offer a wide range of exciting activities from Mini Sculptures, Baby Beats, Karaoke Sessions, Sensory Art, Campfire Tales and lots more.

When you are not busy working, what do you like to do to unwind?

Pyjama mornings with the boys; watching a good movie together (recently Pele and Queen of Katwe – both of which made us cry several times); catching up with friends over delicious food and drink; reading a good book…We’re just about to get a puppy and a kitten so looking forward to hanging out with them too.

You have two little boys, are they your biggest critics?

Definitely, but my biggest supporters as well. They are a continual source of inspiration and are great at challenging ideas and preconceptions. They are also an endless supply of hugs!

We’re planning to launch a youth club this year, for 9-12 year olds on a Friday and Saturday night. They’ve really helped us work out what this offers (a chance to hang out with your pals with no grown ups cramping your style) and what’s not important (lots of very structured classes).

How do you balance being a working mum?

I have a brilliant team around me, both at home and at work, which is how it all hangs together. There are always compromises, but I want my boys to grow up seeing that you have to work hard if you want to follow your dreams, but that it’s worth it. Being your own boss means you can make sports day, rock concerts and all the other lovely stuff, but it also means you’ll have some 5am starts to catch up. Our boys are old enough now to talk all this through which makes it easier. 

Living in London, can you recommend some favourite family friendly spots (restaurants/shops/cafés)?

We love Gaucho Grill on Sloane Avenue, great food, lovely service and they really go the extra mile to make it special; The Good Earth on Brompton Road, consistently delicious Chinese food; and Oliviogelo for the best ice cream and sorbet.

Do you have any exciting projects you are working on that you can share with our readers?

Apart from the youth club we’re launching PDtoGo – lots of the best bits of the clubs, brought to your wedding, christening, family party or corporate event.  And we’ve started working on our product line, PDNA, which we’ll be focussing more on later in the year.

In a few sentences, what is an average day like?

Busy, sometimes chaotic, sometimes surprising, sometimes challenging, consistently long!

What advice would you give mums out there who want to start their own business? 

Find something you love and feel passionate about – then just go for it.  You’ll have people who’ll love and support you and others who won’t, but if you have passion for what you do that will carry you through good and bad times.

Do you have any top tips for first time mums?

Do what feels right for you and your family. Savour every minute you can and laugh off the ones you’d rather forget!

What’s your motto?

It’ll all work out!

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