Welcome to our So You Wanna Start A... series, designed to give you a behind-the-scenes sneak peek at the journeys that went into creating some of your favorite local brands.
Today's guest is Amy Kinney from Let's Slumber It, a tent sleepovers and luxury picnic business in Des Moines.
Our favorite piece of advice: "Get to know other businesses outside your local area that provide the same service as you do." You competition might just be one of your fiercest allies! Get to know other people in your industry who can refer you or become great friends who truly understand what it's like to own a business like yours. If you're curious about starting a tent sleepover & luxury picnic business, learn a little more from Amy and connect with her using the links below!
I own Let’s Slumber It. We specialize in themed tent sleepovers and luxury picnics for adults and kids in over 40 themes (and counting). I started my business at the urging of my daughter who wanted her own tent sleepover in Feb 2020. After a Google search of Des Moines came up empty for a tent sleepover company, I decided to launch my own!
As a stay at home mom, I was looking for a side business I could do on my own time and own terms. Life with two kids is busy, but I also like to have a project or dream to focus on and use my creative side to develop. Let’s Slumber It was a perfect fit. After I got started in the summer of 2020, I realized there was a need for at-home yet over the top ways to celebrate special occasions during the pandemic. Clients still want to celebrate special events, yet wanted the safety and comfort of their own homes.
In the end, it is the reactions to seeing the tent sleepovers (from the kids and adults alike) that kept me pushing to make this dream a reality. The joy and excitement I see during set up and throughout the event is beyond rewarding.
My first customers were my greatest wins. I was so nervous I would never book any events since the idea of a tent sleepover was so new and the pandemic was a worry. People who were willing to go with an unknown and just have faith that their small family event would be handled with expertise and care. Having Erin with Des Moines Parent book one of my first sleepovers really helped get the word out about my business launch.
Then I have solely relied on word of mouth and social media to grow my business and offerings. So I am SO grateful to my clients who share my information with their friends. That is huge for a small business.
Saying no and juggling being a mom/wife and a small business owner. I have two small kids who I stay home with during the week. I want to give them all the love and support they need to become great humans, while also running a business from home. So often times my work is done in the late hours of the night when they are asleep. So sorry for the late night email responses! Lol.
Also I do not like to say no. Often times parents have shown their kids my website and both have their hearts set on a tent sleepover. I do book up quickly and I can only do so many events per weekend, but I hate to say no and disappoint people. It’s a hard one.
1) Work with other small businesses in your local area. There are lots of small businesses out there that provide services that will compliment yours, so seek them out. You might have similar customers who want to bundle you all for the same event. Help each other and get the word out!
2) Get to know other businesses outside your local area that provide the same service as you do. I have made such good friends from all over the US, Canada, and the UK that have tent sleepover companies. Not only can you share ideas and support one another, it’s nice to know you are not alone in your struggles and have someone to talk through the obstacles as well.
3) Decide ahead of time what your terms and conditions will be and stick to them. You will get a lot of requests all over the spectrum, so know what service you want to provide, what your limits will be, and stick to them.
I just expanded into luxury picnic tables this summer and it is going well. I am hoping to offer more holiday tent sleepover options this year since last year I underestimated the demand for that. I am looking to work with some bell tent providers to take the sleepovers outdoors glamping style. Also some fun collabs with hotels to offer staycation, holiday options this fall/winter.
Find Amy & Let's Slumber It:
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With episodes on everything from pitching the media to effective Instagram strategies for local business owners to winning a Food Network show, Local to Legend is all about everyday people building extraordinary legacies for themselves and their brands. Find it on your favorite podcast app.