Teepee sleepover tents, balloon garlands, curated snack boxes and donut walls are the new slumber party must-haves.
by Ana Welsh, business editor
If you haven’t seen them in your living room, then you’ve seen them on social media. Teepee sleepover tents are the new must-have for Main Line slumber parties. From sports-themes to mermaids and super glam themes, the tents are decked out with balloons, blankets, throw pillows and other decorations.
Montgomery County’s Allison Kozej created her company, appropriately named Dream Hutz, in July 2020. Dream Hutz averages 5-6 parties per weekend, equaling around 25-30 tents. In January 2023, Dream Hutz had its busiest weekend ever, with a record 42 tents booked. That same month, Laura McDermott, another MontCo mom and founder of Slumber One Party, also clocked a record-setting weekend, peaking at 34 tents.
Slumber One Party has grown so quickly that McDermott is ready to hire staff to support the demand. Kozej already hired two key staff members. “I was so nervous since this is my baby, but my first hire turned out to be amazing and also referred me to my second hire,” Kozej said.
Here’s how it works. Kids (and parents) choose one of the companies’ themes. Each sleeping space is a twin-sized air mattress that is 4 feet wide by 6 feet deep. Tray tables, throw blankets and decorative pillows are part of the package. Kids are advised to bring their own sleeping pillows and blankets or sleeping bags. The companies do all of the set-up, which takes about 2 hours, then return the next day to break down the tents.
Prices are based on the number of tents, a fee that includes local delivery within 20 miles or thereabout. Slumber Party One charges $85 per tent while Dream Hutz’s pricing starts at $185 for two tents (The Bestie Bundle) and goes to $350 for four tents. Of course, many more tents can be ordered.
Dream Hutz’s add-ons include spa bags (hot/cold gel eye pads, face mask, makeup headband, nail separator & mini nail file, lip balm or lip glass, microfiber face pad and bath bomb), beaded bracelet kits, midnight snack boxes, and a donut wall that fits 12 donuts. McDermott offers some add-ons and will soon branch into others. “I’m very excited to begin introducing add-on services like a manicure station and other activities,” shared McDermott.
Themes are a big component to their success, literally and figuratively. “I wanted to make sleepover tents cool for younger boys,” explained McDermott. “Our most popular themes are Sixers and Eagles.”
“Dream big is our most popular theme,” explained Kozej. “It was one of my original themes and has morphed over the years but is still the most requested every weekend.”
Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This
Kozej dreamed up the idea for her company after her kids became obsessed with a YouTube 24-hour fort challenge. “I saw a picture of these tents online and thought it was cool,” Kozej said. “I knew my kids would like it so I thought other kids would, too.”
Kozej has two children, ages 7 and 5. She also has a background in corporate finance – and immediately began researching the business behind her idea. She realized that no one else was offering this service in this area. So, she quickly tapped into her MBA knowledge and developed a business plan. “It started as something I would do on my own and it quickly became a full-time job,” stated Kozej. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be so popular.”
McDermott, a practicing nurse practitioner and mom of two girls ages 9 and 4, discovered these tents as she was planning her daughter’s first sleepover party. “I came across a company on Etsy that rented out these adorable slumber party setups,” McDermott said. “When I looked into it, I realized that the business that could work locally.”
With her family and neighbors, McDermott began testing the model in her community. “I was shocked with the amount of customers I was receiving from local referrals,” shared McDermott.
(Sleep) Over Night Success
Both companies were self-funded and grew their inventory as business demanded. McDermott finally upgraded from her finished basement to a storage unit to keep up with the growing supply.
Kozej orders fitted sheets in bulk. Not surprisingly, stains are common, as is wear and tear. Kozej professionally launders all bedding and is constantly replenishing air beds, acrylic frames and more. “Lanterns and garlands last longer,” shared Kozej.
Marketing is also key to their success. From local vendor events to social media, the word continues to spread among giddy tweens and happy parents. “Most of my marketing is from word-of-mouth and social media,” said Kozej.
McDermott has seen success from targeted social media ads, which she credits for 90% of her new business. “The ads can be pretty precise and have allowed me to grow my targeted audience,” stated McDermott.
Want more inspiring local business stories? Read about turning a $20K investment into a million-dollar beauty empire, two DelCo moms making their Eagles business fly, and Lady Bosses We Love.
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