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Why a Birthday Party at Crock A Doodle Didn’t Work for Us But, May Work for You

A little girl is excited to start her birthday party and stands in front of pottery.

A Birthday Party at Crock A Doodle Didn’t Work for Us but, May Work for You

They say that being creative is not a hobby, it’s a way of life. That saying especially personifies my youngest, Mimi. I can always count on her to be creating something, whether it is using a pipe cleaner or a paintbrush, she blows me away with her talent. That’s why for her birthday party this year, she asked for a birthday party at Crock A Doodle.

Read on to discover more about Crock A Doodle and why the experience didn’t work for us but, may work for you.

We were more than happy to look into it and the more that we did, the more excited we were to throw her party there. First thing is first, what is Crock A Doodle? It is a studio where you can transform ready-to-paint pottery pieces into your own amazing works of art.

The second thing you may wonder is how much is a party at Crock A Doodle and how much does Crock A Doodle cost?

We were pleasantly surprised. 

There is an 8 child minimum and you pay for the pottery pieces according to the tier. So they can range from $20 and up. You can choose a tier where you want to stay to suit your budget. They don’t only do parties, they have a drop-in studio, Mother’s Day Ideas, Baby & Toddler options, Kids Activities, School Programs, Ladies Nights, Corporate Events, Doodle to Go, Group Events, Senior Activities, and Birthday Parties.

Booked and Ready

Booking the party was super easy. We went in, gave them a date that we wanted and left a deposit. We were the only party booked for that day. The employee said that if we needed a little extra time for opening gifts that it would be okay.

Mimi decided how many friends she wanted to invite and we chose a price range for the pottery pieces per child. We decided to keep it open from $20 to $28 a piece so they can have lots of choices.

She was so excited!

Another reason why we chose to throw her party at Crock A Doodle was for convenience. We wanted to sit back, watch the kids create, take pictures and celebrate her birthday without having to host.

At the Windsor location, they do not have a birthday room but, have a large table area that is reserved for your party. You are welcome to bring decorations, your own food, beverages, and cake.

A group of girls wait for the rest of the party attendees to arrive at Crock A Doodle.

Two girls figure out how to paint pottery at Crock A Doodle.

A little girl waits for paint to paint her fox pottery piece at Crock A Doodle.

Our Experience:

The model of a Crock A Doodle party is amazing. A place where kids can go and express their artistic side and celebrate their birthday is a pretty awesome thing. So, I am sure that our experience at the Windsor location isn’t reflective of all stores or franchises across Canada.

With that said, my daughters, Gabby and Mimi, and Mimi’s friends enjoyed painting their pieces. We had a table set aside for us and with plenty of supplies. It was our first time in so, we weren’t quite sure how things worked.

I asked an employee (that I learned was a student) how it worked and she said they should choose a piece and then use the sponges.

From the get-go, we had no guidance or party host as promised.

So, we had to go around with the kids and help them pick their pieces since we had given them a choice from $20-$28. With no guidance, this took longer than expected. Regardless, with a few exchanges, the girls started painting. I asked the worker (student) if they poured their own paint and she said she wasn’t sure.

So, my husband, 14-year-old daughter, and I began to pour paint. Throughout the painting process, my husband and daughter walked around and helped the girls with paint, eyes, and fixing mistakes.

The whole time our party host sat at her desk on her phone and didn’t come over once to help us out or anyone else in the studio. Her body language showed that she did not want to be there and certainly did not want to deal with kids.

We passed out the food, had cake, and opened a few gifts. I gave a piece of cake to the employees, we cleaned up and called it a day. Since we had no guidance throughout the creative process, the party ran longer than expected. The parents returning to pick up their kids had to wait approximately a half hour or so for the kids to be done. We didn’t get a chance to open all the gifts either because it was rushed.

I paid the employee and headed out.

A week and the holidays went by and we went to pick up the pieces that were ready. The pottery pieces were wrapped individually and had thank-you cards and a $5 gift card in the bags. They were placed in a reusable bag for easy handling.

It’s a nice touch and makes delivery easier. We took the bag and headed out but my husband insisted we check the bag. We found that two pieces were missing, one of my daughter’s friend and my daughter (Birthday girl’s) piece.

Her birthday gift plate turned out nice, in exception to the visible mistake they had fixed on my daughter’s name. No big deal for us. The same worker told us she wasn’t sure about anything, and with no sense of urgency, made a call and said the manager would deal with it. When we got home, we checked our receipt and my deposit had not been removed from the final total.

It was disappointing.

After a few phone calls, the manager offered to return the deposit and refund us for the two pieces. No effort was made to ensure return business or to make the customer happy over a party experience which was what promised but not delivered.

She was very apologetic and only did what higher management advised. I understand that her hands were tied in doing more since the district manager had no intention to do more.

All in all, the girls had fun painting but, as a parent who throws a party at an establishment, it did not work for us. We had to be very hands-on and be the hosts instead of having a host that was energetic, full of energy, and engaging with my daughter and her friends. What was missing was a host that is promised with a Birthday package.

UPDATE:

The owner of Crock A Doodle, Annette reached out to me. We spoke via phone and had a conversation about my overall experience. She was very apologetic and offered to make good with Mimi. She invited us to go back to the studio and paint. At this moment, I respectfully declined. I appreciate her reaching out and making this offer though. As well as the promise to continue to improve at the Windsor location. For those who have asked, no refund was provided nor offered.

A little girl excitedly blows out her candles on her cake at Crock A Doodle.

A little girl paints a fox.

A group of girls at birthday party at Crock A Doodle.

More Information About Parties:

  • Use of Birthday area for an hour of painting fun, based on a minimum of 8 kids. Depending on location, you may have the choice of a party room.
  • Choice of birthday party packages with prices to suit every budget.
  • Pricing includes pottery pieces, paints, instruction, kiln-firing to a brilliant finish.
  • Selection of fun and functional pieces like piggy banks, mugs, bowls and more.
  • Popular themes like Shopkins, Pokemon, Emoji, Minions, Princesses and more.
  • A dedicated Party host to oversee the party fun and guide the creative process.
  • Party invitations (or choose a free alternative) – pick up in studio or download online.
  • A FREE Celebration handprint plate for the birthday child.
  • Party Thank you and $5 gift card for each guest.
  • Individual packaging of kiln-fired pieces, ready for pick up within the week.
  • Extra Party Room time can be added for cakes and presents…just ask!

A dad helps his little girl fix a mistake on her pottery piece.

Birthday Party at Crock A Doodle

As a parent, you hope that your child’s birthday party will go off without a hitch. After all, that is why you depend on creative places like Crock A Doodle.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for us this time around. But, I thought it would be fair to share our experience at Crock A Doodle.

As I mentioned, the girls enjoyed painting because, well, most kids do. But, what was missing was a highly-engaged and energetic host to make their experience that much more memorable. Not to mention, two pieces were missing and have not been located. One which happened to be Mimi’s.

You May Also Like:

As aforementioned, this was our experience at Crock A Doodle in Windsor, Ontario. This doesn’t mean that it will be your experience at any of the other locations.

A birthday party at Crock A Doodle might work for you.

For the price, it is excellent value and with an engaging host, I know that it could be amazing.

Do you throw parties at home or away from home?

Let me know, til then–cheers m’deres!

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86 Comments

    1. Yeah, it was unfortunate but, the model and the experience of Crock A Doodle is great and so kid-friendly! It just did not work for us locally. But, I know that it is not the same across the board and at other locations. Thanks so much, we tried to make it awesome for her!

  1. My son’s birthday is approaching and I really have no idea on what I will do since I was not planning to do anything until he is old enough to understand his age and where he would.like to go. Sometimes we have to be disappointed to know what is better.

  2. I’m sorry to hear that your experience didn’t work out, but I do think the manager tried their best. Creating pottery pieces sounds like a lot of fun.

    1. Yes, as I mentioned, she was very apologetic and only did what she could. I also told her that I know it is not her fault. But, I think feedback is incredibly important for a business. That is how you improve.

  3. This would be frustrating. I cannot stand when the workers act like they don’t want to be there. So not professional. I hope you get a refund. Maybe the company will see this post and make things right. They should!

    1. It was unfortunate, that is for sure. I am happy to support local franchises and that is why my intention was to share our experience and was excited to add it to my calendar beforehand. The party passed and then I felt I should be honest.

  4. I am thinking that you could have done this party at home since you had no host for the party. For that kind of money, you should have received better service

  5. That stinks that you didn’t have the experience you were looking for. Excellent review based on your situation!

    1. Thanks so much, I think giving feedback is incredibly important. The service itself is a great model for kids, and I am sure it could be even more enjoyable despite this mishap.

  6. It’s too bad that it didn’t turn out as you had hoped. That is so disappointing. We have thrown parties at home and away from home. I think the best one that we experienced was at an entertainment center which had a cosmic zone where you win tickets to turn in for prizes and bowling.

  7. I am sorry you guys had a terrible experience. I feel like I would personally pass on this type of activity. Too much unforseable stuff.

    1. I think that is exactly the problem. The model is incredible, the studio is so creative but, training was definitely missing. We tried to make it fun for the kids despite it and they had fun painting.

  8. Sometimes things don’t work out the way we want them to do. But, maybe, the next time is going to be all fine. I wish for you all.

  9. Aww sorry you didn’t have a great experience. We’ve never tried a place like this. I am glad the manager tried to make it right.

  10. Aww I’m sorry about your experience! For what you paid it should have been a lovely experience for you… Instead you paid them and yet you did all the work…

  11. Hi Nancy,

    I just read about your experience with our Windsor studio. What you described is polar opposite of everything we believe in as a brand…I am very sorry and very embarrassed.

    I would like to have a few minutes to chat with you by phone. And I would love to have any opportunity to make good with Mimi…this was not the party she deserved.

    Sincerely,

    Annette Brennan
    President & Chief Idea Officer
    Crock A Doodle Inc.

  12. Being there and witnessing it with you, I know how frustrated you were. Looking around for assistance and no one coming to your aid. I truly hope the company rethinks their hiring process and considers all factors of the job.

    We would all love to be paid just to sit on the phone all day at a desk but that’s just not reality. All in all, Mimi was delighted with her experience and like one of the comments said you definitely took some cute pics! It’s too bad she was so sad when she didn’t get her finished piece.

  13. Aw I’m sorry you didn’t have a good experience with them! But for paying and having no host, that is definitely disappointing.
    Xo, Sondra
    Cuisineandtravel.com

  14. AW! Looks like you all made the best of the experience and I am sure she had fun. But that is SUPER disappointing. I wouldn’t book based on this. My girls loved the one time we did Crock a Doodle on a Fam trip and it was a lot of fun but that was not a birthday party. Now losing 2 of the pieces!! That’s just unprofessional!

    1. Paula, yes! It was so disappointing. You, as a writer, know that we are selective about what we feature and how we give the opportunity to make things right. We did make the best of it and tried to make it a good experience for her and the kids. She was devastated too, she worked hard on it and her friends too.

  15. Good for you for posting about your experience. I see that it got the district manager’s attention. That would have royally pissed me off to have the host just sitting there. I don’t think I would have been able to be a calm as you were. And I also would have posted a Yelp review as well. I would really like to hear how they are going to make this right for you.

    1. Thank you! I thought asking her a lot of questions would be indication enough. I gave up halfway through and we just tried to make it a fun experience for them. I even brought her cake to her desk too. LOL! We had lots of cake. I am definitely not looking to get anything out of it but, I felt that people should know and to help them improve. 🙂

  16. Aww it seems like it wasn’t all how you guys planned the party. It’s really a shame that more guidance wasnt given especially if it did state a host would be available. My friends and I did a similar place but we were walked through the different steps and paint was poured and refilled whenever we needed more.

  17. This place looks so great! But, I guess I won’t like it not quite as much if the service is not good.

    1. Thanks for your comment. This was my experience at my local store in Windsor, I cannot speak for other experiences across Canada though. And well, pun intended, I do not intend to paint them all with the same brush. 🙂

  18. I hate to hear that things did not go as promised. It sounds like a terrific idea in concept but they need to be better at the follow through.

  19. What a disappointing experience for you 🙁 I know that the girls all still enjoyed painting the pieces, but that’s not the point – you booked out a party package there so you wouldn’t have to be the host, organising everything etc. If you’d known your experience was going to be like this, you probably could have done the same activity at home, at half the cost (if not less!) x

  20. I’m so glad to hear the girls enjoyed it. It sounds like the perfect thing to do for a memorable experience. It’s so frustrating when businesses don’t care for our business, as this weighs heavily on coming back. I know you will find other FUN amazing things to celebrate next year! Xo, Evelyn, PathofPresence.com

  21. The pictures came out so nice and the smiles show that they all had fun. But, when you pay as much as you pay for birthday parties, you expect nothing but the best and what was promised!

  22. It is sad to hear you did not get the service as requested. You should have not had to go around to all the children and help. There should have been people to help and guide them .

  23. It sounds like this place could be really fun if they got a little more organized. There’s nothing worse than having a great idea that’s poorly planned out.

  24. What a shame this experience didn’t quite live up to expectations – it’s a shame they didn’t offer you or the children much guidance. I have been to a few places like this in the UK and the staff are always so friendly and helpful and explain it all.

  25. Awww, that is a shame it wasn’t what you had hoped it would be and you still haven’t located two pieces. An energic host at a birthday party does add a lot to it, you did get a lot of great pictures and glad to hear most of the kids had a good time. Happy Belated Birthday.

  26. Oh my, things like this happen and it’s disappointing. I wish they will improve their service and care more.

  27. I would hope that someone from corporate has contacted you after seeing your honest review. It’s a shame that they didn’t provide what was promised, compounded the problem at delivery, and then missed the opportunity to make things right at the local level. The good thing is at least your daughter and her friends had a great time thanks to your hands on.

  28. Sorry you didn’t have the best experience with the company, but i’m glad the kids were able to enjoy themselves. I agree that a more energetic host would have made the experience greater for the girls.

  29. It was unfortunate,but things like this so happen maybe they will work harder so it doesn’t happen again.Beautiful photos!

  30. I am so sorry to hear about your bad experience! I work at the crock a doodle in london and am very passionate about what I do, so it’s very disappointing to hear that another studio is not upholding crock a doodle standards!
    I do appreciate your kind words about crock a doodle otherwise. And I am very glad you shared!! All the best.

    1. Hello Hannah, I was so disappointed because she was so excited about it. Thank you for your comment, I could only speak to the experience I had at the Windsor location and I am positive this is definitely not standard.

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