by Catherine Gilmore for the Johns Island Farmers Market
Amanda Henley of Bounce Moms has jumped through more hurdles single handedly than most people would dare to do with help. As a school teacher at the College of Charleston, Amanda must find time between grading papers to run her own business, a feat that she takes more lightheartedly than one would expect. In an interview, she mused that sometimes when you let things run their course, you’d be amazed at the opportunities that fall in your lap.
Bounce Moms, the traveling jump castle business, started with the fact that Amanda had always desired to run her own business; it was just a matter of what would be most successful and flexible for her lifestyle. She began to see jump castles everywhere, from her daughter’s friend’s birthday parties to big city events. Amanda started to see the business opportunity of the jump castles and decided to look into finding her own.
This process of attaining the jump castle was the biggest hurdle of the crucial first year period for her business. Having some money set aside for this purpose, she sought out a jump castle that would fit her budget. Amanda was big on the idea of buying from an American company but realized that at the time, she could not find a single one that fit in her price range. Reluctantly, she began searching internationally and discovered that they were cheaper than those from the United States by about forty percent. Finally, Amanda honed in on one jump castle and had it shipped overseas, though the “fun” was just beginning.
The day that the castle was to arrive, Amanda decided to call customs on a whim to make sure that everything was good to go for her delivery. The man on the other end of the line informed her that she still needed about fifteen forms filled out, a stipulation that she had not anticipated in the least. The man also told her that she must fill the forms out within twenty-four hours or else risk paying a fine more expensive than the jump castle itself.
Though flabbergasted, Amanda used her quick wit and was able to find a customs agent that day to help her with the forms. This exercise in problem solving taught Amanda two things: first, that she would be buying American jump castles in the future to bypass the dreaded forms and to do her part in stimulating the economy. Second and most importantly, she learned how to expect the worst and deal with it accordingly to accomplish her business goals.
Bounce Moms can be found each Saturday at the Johns Island Farmers Market and always accept bookings for private events.