Fighting Back – Creative Candies & Gifts

We continue our series on Algarve-based businesses that have managed to survive and evolve from the COVID pandemic.

Zoe Campbell, owner of Kids Entertainment Algarve and Creative Candies & Gifts, describes the past two years as “eventful for ex-pats who are trying to live and work in the Algarve”.

She was running a very successful business, Kids Entertainment Algarve which was going from strength to strength offering arts and crafts to toddlers and children up and down the Algarve. Zoe ran three toddler groups and hosted many parties until 12 March 2020 she was devastated by the news that all activities were to be suspended until further notice. “It left me with no clue to what was about to come, over the following weeks and months.”

During that first lockdown, she started adapting quickly to the changing times and offered activity packs for a small fee. She was inundated with requests and soon devoted her time, when not homeschooling her daughter, to packing and delivery, while complying with safety precautions and following government guidelines. Her packs were sent all over the Algarve and brought much relief to parents trying to entertain bored toddlers and children who were in lockdown.

Zoe persevered with the project until restrictions started to ease. The next challenge was her group sessions and parties which were still suspended due to large gatherings not being permitted.

“I adhered to the rules and began making party packs for parents to purchase and, when permitted, I then arranged small party ideas, such as our teepee setups and other party ideas … (adopt a soft toy dog parties, glitter & glam, volcano parties etc).

I muddled on through the year and in the summer of 2020, I held a kids’ summer camp with just six attending at any one time; this proved very successful and the 11 weeks of the summer holidays flew by.”

In October 2020, Zoe was again faced with the decision as to what to do going forward, with no sight of ever returning to what she knew as normal so she decided to look into a creative gift business. She wanted to offer an online shop, to help people find a gift for any occasion or age and so she created Creative Candies & Gifts.

Then, in January 2021, she was dealt another blow … Brexit! “This caused huge problems for my UK suppliers. I was unable in some cases to receive any goods and if I did it came with a very high customs fee. I had to quickly adapt and find new EU suppliers to avoid heavy costs. I really hope our UK suppliers will able to supply me again in the future but for now, this is not possible.”

So what lessons has Zoe learnt as a small business in the Algarve? “COVID has been really tough but has taught me to rethink strategies, never to become complacent and most importantly not to give in.”

Instagram – Creative Candles & Gifts

Facebook – Kids Entertainment with The Babysitting Co


Share this edition