Miaomiao Yu is the founder of Bach to Baby, the critically acclaimed classical concert series for parents and babies to enjoy together. Jo Silmon-Clyde started Class Carnet, initially as an in-house ticketing solution for Bach to Baby, as no existing ticket system could give the flexibility required.
MY: I am a classical pianist, and I started Bach to Baby in 2011, after the birth of our first child Mercutio. I believe strongly that children can absorb and enjoy music from as soon as they are borne, and I wanted to create a musical environment where babies and children are welcomed and encouraged to enjoy music with their parents/carers.
JSC: I was involved informally in Bach to Baby from the very beginning, assisting where I could while holding down a full time job as a fund manager. One of the things we observed in other ‘mumprenuer’ businesses was the generally limited use of technology - most people can create a website and a Facebook page, but that is where they stop. Bach to Baby’s audience are predominantly mums in their 20’s and 30’s who are sophisticated users of technology in their work and personal lives and have high expectations of the business they buy from. To help us meet these expectations we developed a formal organisational aspiration ‘To be at the forefront of technology’, and then looked at all aspects of technology in our business to see where to focus our efforts.
MY: One of the key areas was in ticketing. We felt that our customers would really benefit from flexible tickets that they could use at a range of our concerts. So if you were to buy a ticket for tomorrow’s concert, but then find your baby was unwell, instead of wasting your money, you could just choose another of our events and attend this instead. We also wanted to be able to sell multiple use tickets. However, when we looked at the ticketing solutions that were available, there were plenty, like Eventbrite, that could sell tickets for a single event, but nothing that would allow us to sell the drop-in style tickets that we wanted. The existing solutions were also extortionately expensive, charging up to 15% of the face value of the ticket. This would have been too much for our small business to support.
JSC: Bach to Baby was growing very rapidly, and it soon reached the size when it was sensible to think about creating our own ticket system. This coincided with a break in my finance career, so I spent several month researching and building a ticket seller that could be installed on the Bach to Baby website, and a ticket scanner that we could use to valid tickets when they were presented at concerts. Going live with our new system in May 2015 was very exciting time for me, as both the culmination of a major project, and as the start of a new way of allowing our customers to interact with our business.
MY: Of course it isn’t just that we could now sell tickets that really meet our customers’ needs. There are lots of other benefits - we can use customer contact details to let them know about future events that we are running, we can analyse how customers buy and use tickets so that we can create better events in future. There are operational benefits too - our concert managers have much less cash to handle, and can check people’s tickets more quickly, so that customers have a better experience at our events.
JSC: Having created the system for use within Bach to Baby, we were amazed by the amount of positive feedback we received from our customers. It was really hitting the sweet spot in terms of both ease of purchase on the website, and ease of entry to the concerts. It was only a matter of time before I decided to expand the system so that it could be used by other businesses who also wanted access to a simple, flexible, cost effective ticket system. And this was how Class Carnet came into being, early in 2016.
Today, you can download an app and create an account to use Class Carnet, then easily create events that you can publish on your website. The system works with multiple users and multiple venues so it is suitable for all sizes of business. And knowing how we were put off by the costs of existing systems we have kept the system affordable for all. We continue to develop the system, for example, we’ve just added a features that allows you to update your Mailchimp lists with ticket buyer details, and to create discount codes for events. There’s lots more in the pipeline.