Sylvia Karuri, also known as Slayo, recognized early on that many adults yearn for the opportunity to unleash their inner child.
Consequently, she established game nights and fun days where adults could revel in carefree moments, bouncing on inflatables and engaging in childhood games like Kati. This endeavor constitutes her full-time occupation.
Alongside organizing games and activities, she also works as a real estate agent and is a mother of one.
In an interview with Saturday Nation, Slayo shared insights into her journey in this unconventional space and discussed the challenges she has successfully navigated to assume the title of The Games Master.
How did the idea of starting game nights for adults begin?
Divinely, to say the least. What started as a catch-up session after many years away from a longtime friend (MC Kibunjah) turned into a brainstorming meeting which birthed many great ideas. At the time, he had a partnership with a venue and coincidentally I was looking for somewhere to host my upcoming birthday celebration. The birthday celebration ended up being a ‘Game Night’ themed evening where friends and family brought their favourite board games to play with each other, catch up and eat cake. What we did not anticipate is the fun people would have, and in this day and age, the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) we would create by posting on our individual Instagram pages. One Instastory led to another and before we knew it, everyone had a plus one at the next event, some bringing up to three guests. We realised there was a great desire for memorable experiences and we became intentional about curating such events. The rest, as they say, is history.
What have you observed from watching adults attend fun days and let loose?
I love games because they encourage authenticity. It is hard to pretend to be someone else when playing. It is always beautiful to see people walk into an event looking very serious and watching them mellow into their truest selves. We are currently living in a fast-paced world so I love that we are becoming more intentional about carving out time to take care of ourselves and sometimes that means unplugging ourselves from adulting and all the responsibilities it comes with for a few hours. People leave the event dirtier, happier and most importantly, lighter from having left all their burdens on the bouncing castle.
How did you turn it into a business?
Let us just say that as time went by there was a growing need for the authentic energy we brought, which created business opportunities. There are also several costs attached to events, hence the need for resources.
How has being the ‘Game Master’ changed your life?
Oh wow, I could go on forever about how my life has changed. The biggest win has been the meaningful connections and new friendships I’ve made with like-minded people who are just as competitive and outgoing. Over time we have created a community that feels like family and that to me is the most gratifying part. I am also continually learning so much given the research I do to prepare trivia questions, and I enjoy the process.
What kind of activities are most popular among adults?
It is hard to list specifics as most of the activities we currently do are as continually suggested or requested by our community, for example, water sports at our most recent daytime event called Memory Lane. We enjoy giving people a different experience at each event and keep ticking off old requests and receiving new ones. We’ve even ticked off rodeo bull riding. What’s next? We love to explore new suggestions!
Why is it important for adults to play?
The rat race will never stop unless we pause it. We spend the first half of our lives wondering why it is taking so long to grow up, and then spend the other half wishing we had the freedom, time and energy we took for granted when we were younger. Now is a great time to enjoy the present and make full use of what is left to create lifetime memories. All work and no play…? Exactly.
How do you juggle all these different roles?
I too wonder sometimes. I like to think of them as God-given gifts that I get to enjoy, but also have a responsibility to utilise. It has taken a while for me to gain balance and I am not there yet but wearing one hat at a time and showing up fully in the moment helps. Creating time and asking for help when stretched is also essential. I am blessed to have a wonderful support system. Plus, I want my daughter to grow up and say, “Yeah, my mum did that.”