Frankie & Lola's

31 January 2017

Highland mum lands top job at Inverness premier children’s soft-play centre

A young North mum says ambition and passion has spurred her on to land a senior management role at the age of just 21.

Rosie Strachan is one of 20 staff members who make up the majority of the nearly all female workforce at children’s soft-play activity centre, Frankie and Lola’s in Inverness.

Rosie, who, as well as holding down the position of manager, is also mum to one-year-old Charlie and a dance teacher, said she hopes other young people may be inspired by her hard worth ethic to land their dream job regardless of their circumstances.

Rosie admits that she never intended to move into further education – instead preferring to move straight into a work place.

She said: “I left school as soon as I could – I didn’t really enjoy it and I just wanted to get out and get working.

“Previously I worked in hotels but when I became pregnant and told my employer they weren’t supportive at all.”

She added: “I had always wanted to work with kids and I saw a position at Frankie and Lola’s advertised and I got in touch. I told them I was pregnant and I asked if that was ok and the owner, Lisa, said of course.  Since then I’ve never looked back.”

After initially starting off as a general staff member on the floor of the busy soft play centre and café, Rosie became supervisor and following her return from maternity leave she was promoted to the position of manager. Her duties involve overseeing the operational running of the multi award-winning unit; from ordering stock, complying with Health and Safety legislation, to ensuring the high standards of cleanliness, customer service, and food are maintained.

Rosie said: “It’s about taking on a bit of responsibility and not having someone to lean back on.

“I really enjoy it. I’m learning a lot and it’s such a nice company to work for.

“I like that I’m similar in age to some of the other staff. I have a lot of respect for the staff and they have a lot of respect for me.”

Other fellow female senior members of staff at Frankie and Lola’s include, super efficient office manager, Astra Bryston who handles all the party bookings and newly promoted head chef Eilidh Gillies. Originally from Skye, Eilidh is looking forward to bringing new and exciting ideas to the menu. She has extensive experience in a variety of cuisines and has spent several years in Australia.

Meanwhile Andrea MacDonald has just come onboard and complements the team, carrying out an additional manager’s role. She has a wealth of experience after running her own family restaurant in Dulnain Bridge.

Rosie was given her big break courtesy of business owners, Lisa and Jason Lugton who set-up Frankie and Lola’s two-years ago.

Jason, who helps to ensure it’s not just an all girl work place at Frankie and Lola’s said: “Rosie has done so well and we knew from the start she was a hard worker with a lot of ambition.”

Rosie, whose two sisters, Shania, 16, and Danielle, 14, also work at Frankie and Lola’s at weekends and holidays, ensuring it is a real family affair, said: “I’ve not had a day where I’ve thought this isn’t for me.

“When you are in charge of a unit with such a high volume of people through its doors and the responsibility of ensuring the safety and enjoyment of all, it can be quite daunting at times but I thrive on the challenge and go up a gear when it's busy.”

Rosie who lives with her partner, Gary, 28, at Milton of Leys, said he encouraged her to take the senior position.

Rosie said she hopes her experience proves that it’s possible to achieve success despite your age or your circumstances, as long as you work hard.

She added: “It doesn’t matter what your situation is as long as you are responsible and a hard worker.

“If you are passionate about something and it really interests you I don’t see why you couldn’t do a job regardless of your age or anything else.”

As well as looking after a baby and working full-time, incredibly Rosie also manages to teach baby ballet and freestyle pom dance classes to youngsters three times a week in Aviemore.

And, as if that’s not enough, she is currently studying for an SVQ in Social Care and she has undertaken a managerial course.

She added: “Lisa and Jason have faith in me which is really nice to know. They have done so well getting this place up and running and I want to do well and complete these courses to show them how much I appreciate everything they have done.”

Despite everything Rosie says she would not change her experience for anything. She added: “Although I left school and got a job working in hotels and a flat when I was just 17, which wasn’t easy, it was the right decision for me and maybe I wouldn’t be doing this now if I hadn’t. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.”

Owners Lisa and Jason added: “Rosie is an excellent role model and we are so very proud to watch her excel in her role from a general softplay assistant, to supervisor and now general manager. There aren't many people we would entrust to run our business in our absence, and to do this at 21 years of age is extremely impressive. This is proof that a person's age shouldn't hold them back as it is down to Rosie's ability, work ethic and attitude.  We are delighted to play a part in mentoring her and we look forward to watching her grow and excel in the future."  

Frankie and Lola’s is a multi-award winning state-of-the-art family entertainment centre based in Inverness with five star Visit Scotland status and an average footfall of 8,000-10,000 per month. It includes a large exciting safari-themed play frame with a completely separate candy themed soft play area for pre-school aged children as well as two purpose-built shops for youngsters with age-specific toys. It has recently undergone an extension to the toddler area adding an additional tier as well as some new and exciting equipment to the bigger frame. Frankie and Lola’s also houses a top class café run by a head chef and sous chef which places a huge emphasis on homemade food, Italian coffee, freshly baked cakes and offers free wi-fi.