Alice’s story: choosing joy

I am a trained nurse, and after a while I changed the course of my career, and worked as a hospital youth worker right up until we started our family.

Once our first child came along we decided for me to be a stay-at-home parent and to support David in building up his magic business. Then along came children two, three, and four to keep us busy!

David’s business grew and he worked for years at weddings and parties, but it was when he came home from his work in hospitals that I was really drawn into his world. Hearing him talk about the impact he was having upon these families was just beautiful, and I knew from my own experience what it would have meant to those families at such a difficult time in their lives to have him appear to bring some joy and light.

A few years ago, David had been working at the hospital and spending time with a teenage patient, when at the end of the session the boy asked him to leave things for him to do while David wasn’t there. And so, the first Box was made; a way for David to carry on bringing his infectious joy and entertainment even when he wasn’t able to be physically present. David developed this first box over the next few years, tweaking and adding, refining his ideas about what would keep people engaged and bring them together. The more David shared his ideas and dreams, the more I fell in love with the idea of The Box and started dreaming alongside him.

The idea for Around The Box began in hospitals, and we want families everywhere to laugh and connect together around The Box. So, as well as anyone being able to buy a Box for themselves or as a gift, we also encourage people to donate one to a hospital of their choice to bless a family who needs some love and support.

So, how did I get involved? The idea of The Box floated around for years, David and I would talk and dream about it regularly. But it only started to flourish and become a reality after I had finished maternity leave after the birth of our fourth baby. We decided it was time to take the plunge!

We’ve always known that we work well together but being co-directors and running the business together has really pulled out our strengths. We’ve built the business and our roles within it around who we are as individuals and what each of our talents are.

So, where David is the dreamer and naturally fits as our Head of Curiosity, I am a lot more practical and focused on the people we are trying to connect, so I naturally became our Head of Togetherness. I’ve loved stepping out into the business world and moving from where I was as David’s PA to partnering with him to launch this new venture.

Since launching in early 2020 (in the midst of a global pandemic and national lockdown!), Around The Box has gone from strength to strength. I’m so proud of everything we have achieved, especially under the crazy circumstances! We’ve had to learn how to juggle our work/life balance and keep thriving as a family first. I quickly realised I had to learn not to accept ‘imposter syndrome’ and to believe in myself, I’ve not worked in the business world before so of course I have questions! Everyone does! Launching in lockdown we’ve also had to learn how to be intentional; we take it in turns to be with the kids doing lots of imaginative and creative play – it’s quite handy that David’s office is filled with endless fun.

Everyone has a story and I love finding out about people. This has been one of my favourite things about the Around The Box journey; connecting with people, hearing how they overcome challenges, or even just about their lives just inspires me.

Also, I find that joy inspires me. It helps me to see life differently and puts everything into perspective. When I see the joy in things, it motivates me and makes me want to pass it on. As a family we have been through some incredibly challenging times and we have learnt that looking for joy is sometimes a choice.

This is what the Box is all about, choosing joy.