Kids teepee sleepover parties have taken over in recent years, with the theme trending on Pinterest and parents scrambling to outdo each other’s creative genius. But before all this, Katherine Fuchs had a light-bulb moment during a family camping trip: why not bring camping fun to urban homes?
And so began the inception of Teepee Nights, Sydney’s first boutique sleepover party provider, making home camping an exciting reality and easing pressure on busy, working families in the process. We recently caught up with Katherine to get the lowdown on the future of Teepee Nights and the key to successful kids’ parties.
How does the average day play out for you?
My typical weekday starts with a coffee and an hour on the computer responding to enquires, creating invoices, taking payments and sending reminders to clients. Another couple of hours during the day will be dedicated to my ‘Teepee room’, all the planning for the weekend ahead, accessorising and loading boxes and bags with goodies, along with a few loads of washing. Fridays and Saturdays are a whirlwind of setups, meeting the families and creating magic in each of their houses.
What is your biggest source of inspiration?
My girls, the families I visit and my love of shopping! I get to take bits and pieces from each of these areas and work out what’s current, trendy and how kids like to party!
How do you stay motivated?
My job requires a lot of fitness and energy, I use this as my weekly workout and crave the crazy busy days! Also, just seeing how happy and amazed each child is after a setup and hearing their stories and praise the next day makes it so worthwhile.
How would your friends and family describe you?
Probably as bubbly and the life of the party. I’m also very organised and meticulous with details — that’s the Virgo in me.
Were you fearful or apprehensive to start TeePee Nights? How did you overcome this?
Oh totally, I started really small just to get a feel for how it would work and gauge people’s reactions. What size mattresses? Will the kids fit? What ages should I target? How would I deliver everything? What else should I provide?
Being the first, I had no guidelines and just rolled with it. I spent about three months setting Teepee Nights up from scratch with no previous business knowledge — just a good idea that I knew would work with the right execution. It was also a financially low-risk option so I had nothing to lose.
What is the future for TeePee Nights?
I definitely have a few new ideas in the pipeline of how to expand my idea and Teepee Nights into new areas. But, like any mother I’m a bit time poor at the moment so this will be a slow progression that I work towards over the next few years.
I’m keeping tight-lipped as well, as my competitors are hot on my heels!
What key attributes make a great leader?
Leaders show the way and inspire others with commitment, passion and creative thinking .
How do you stay updated on things impacting the kids party industry?
I don’t worry about what my competitors are doing. The party business is always evolving with new ideas and fads coming and going all the time. Kids teepee sleepovers are not always going to be in fashion, but I know kids will always be having parties, so I will just need to creatively think of new ways to entertain them.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Thanks to Cinderella, I use this with my children all the time: “Have courage and be kind.”
What advice would you give your teenage self?
As a teenager I worried way too much about boys, friends and peer pressure. If I could go back in time I would tell myself: ‘There is plenty of time for boys, don’t give up on your talents and never take nutrition or dating advice from a Cosmopolitan magazine!’
How do you inspire more girls to lead?
Don’t underestimate yourself and your achievements. When you are confident in your abilities you are more likely to take healthy risks, step out of your comfort zone and make things happen. I wouldn’t have taken the risk on my own business without this belief.
This article was originally published on Women’s Agenda.
Passionate about the state of Australian small business? Join the Smarts Collective and be a part of the conversation.