Even getting your phone call redirected by Sharky & George is fun.
Where other companies have stock muzak for anyone on hold, people calling these guys get to hear kids telling jokes while they wait. And just in case your call gets picked up before you hear the end of the gag, this month’s Pleo Hero has all the punchlines on standby.
Tell us about Sharky & George.
We call ourselves an immersive events company, specialising in one-of-a-kind experiences.
So, for children, that might be survival parties, which are a big day of adventure in the woods, or we could organise a whole day built around their favourite movie.
A Kingsmen or James Bond quest, or a Harry Potter-style potions class followed by a game of Quidditch. Or just a classic party with lots of fantastic games.
For adults, it could be a night-time treasure hunt across a whole city, a bake-off in the countryside or an adventure race on a private island. Basically, we make sure everyone has the most fun possible!
“A Kingsmen or James Bond party. Harry Potter-style potions classes… we make sure everyone has the most fun possible!”
What’s the journey that brought you to Sharky & George?
I was straight out of university. I did a horrible sales job for about four months, but my sister knew [company founder] George, who told her they were looking for someone. That was seven and a half years ago! I just fell in love with the idea of doing fun parties that were about the children having an awesome time.
How did you discover Pleo?
We’d been doing a party in Sweden where another events company that we work with were using Pleo. At the time, we were still using our archaic system: the directors having a card, but nobody else.
“Before Pleo, we were using such a bad system for spending.”
We weren’t actively looking for a new way to do expenses, but it was such a bad system we were using. We needed something to sort it out, and Pleo helped us out with that.
Any expenses horror stories?
We were doing a big event in the countryside, and a supplier turned up and demanded payment. It was around £500 – a problem which would’ve been dealt with easily with a Pleo card – but you never want a client to notice something has gone wrong. So I paid the bill myself, out of my own pocket.
What are some unique challenges your company faces when it comes to spending?
The unexpected! We obviously want the client to have the best time possible. But on event days, there are a number of different things that can go awry.
Maybe the client asks for something last minute, or there’s the kind of issue with suppliers I mentioned.
It’s very useful to have a payment method on-site that doesn’t involve dipping into your own pocket. Especially since a lot of actors perform at our parties. Cash flow can be a bit of an issue for them – it’s great to give them peace of mind with a Pleo card.
How did you pitch Pleo to your team?
There was a sense of relief, really because the old system just didn’t work.
When people first got their cards, they loved the added sense of responsibility and autonomy; to be in charge of their own finances.
“Our team loved the added sense of responsibility… to be in charge of their own finances.”
Before that, it felt like you’d borrow a card, buy something and forget about it. Now with the Pleo app, you can refer back to it, see how much you spent, rather than having to dig through bank statements – which nobody is ever going to do anyway because it takes too much time!
Can you remember a Pleo a-ha moment that an employee had?
We did an event in Tuscany where we set the team up with a Pleo card and sent it abroad with them. That was an a-ha moment of showing how useful Pleo was… instead of getting questions back to our HQ in London from people looking for card details, we could just trust them to buy what they needed.
“We didn’t put the helicopter on Pleo… “
What’s been the coolest use of Pleo?
We recently threw a Kingsmen party – themed around the movie. We helicoptered the kids from their house to a country estate, where we had a stunt airbag, an obstacle course, an escape room, paintballing and laser battles.
The final challenge was to infiltrate the main estate and stop a nuclear bomb from going off.
We didn’t put the helicopter on Pleo, but almost everything else was!
What excites you about the future of work?
Because we’re a fast-growing company, the people at the top naturally can’t keep an eye on everyone. Giving everyone a sense of worth and responsibility is great… it means they have a sense of ownership in what the company is doing.
And what’s next for Sharky & George?
We’re doing so many more exciting and international events at the moment – like a series of events for a corporate client across Europe next year. A skiing event, an Amazing Race event, and one in Venice as well!