It’s likely that many UT College of Business and Innovation students once dreamed of being a princess, later trading in such dreams for the reality of daily life, college and their roles in the future of business.
But Laurel Lovitt embraces her own inner princess - - and the princesses others find within - - and turned it into the successful, growing business of Laurel's Princess Parties.
“As a child I truly loved to use my imagination. I was an only child - - until my brother was born when I was 12 - - and my mom was a single mom, so growing up the most fun that I had was making memories, and I did this by using my imagination. Playing princess was fantastic, but I also knew that I was a true princess, not just pretending. As a child I was taught that a true princess is genuine, kind, loyal, gives to others and loving. I have always strived to live out all of these aspects of truly being a princess.”
“Laurel's Princess Parties (LPP) started with a dress and a dream to make a difference in the lives of children. One of my friends asked me to come to her daughter’s birthday as Princess Laurel in my blue prom gown, so I did. At the party I fell in love with making that child's dreams come true. Therefore I started Laurel's Princess Parties in May, 2013.”
|Laurell and her brother Joshua|
|Laurell as one of her princess characters, the Snow Queen|
“I spent the first six months of the business teaching children that they could be princesses just like me, Princess Laurel. I held fairy garden workshops and went to birthday parties. Then in November, 2013 the movie Frozen was released. I knew that the children loved these characters, so I did my research and legal work to be able to use our version of these characters and Laurel's Princess Parties blew up! I went from doing six appearances a month to 15 a month within four months. Now we average 30-45 appearances every month,” Laurel said with justifiable pride.
“This business is very profitable and we have grown exponentially! We attend birthdays, special events and workshops. The reason that the business continues to grow is because of our WHY, and that is the children. We specialize in boy and girl parties now, and all of our performers are trained to fully put the kids first. Our packages start at $200. I know that when the children are put first then the appearances will come in. This job is the greatest because I am truly living my dreams,” she said.
“Our packages start at $200, and we market LPP through Social Media: Facebook, Instagram and Pintrest. We also have developed our own website, www.laurelsprincessparties.com. Along with these outlets we are partnered with many organizations who spread the word and host events with LPP characters.”
“I started the business as just ‘me’ and now we have a full team,” Laurel explained. “We have three male performers and five female performers, along with a bookkeeper, CPA, and three referral partners. We are a team and this business would not be what it is today without each team member.”
“Laurel's Princess Parties mission is to inspire children to use their imaginations to believe in their dreams. I see Laurel's Princess Parties branching off into two new territories in the next 3 years. This is a company that will continue to grow and thrive for years to come.”
Laurel said she chose UT to study business “because they have one of the top rated business schools in the country. I am studying marketing because I am truly passionate about spreading the word of companies through advertising and word of mouth. I did not have LPP underway when I made this decision. At the time I was an independent distributor for Herbalie, but I knew that one day I would be able to start my own company from the ground up.”
And perhaps in an instance of fantasy becoming reality, Laurel bears the title of what some may consider to be another type of royalty. “People would be surprised to know that I have just received the title of Miss Sylvania International and will be competing for Miss Ohio International in the Spring,” she said.
But title or not, Laurel is living her dream.
“Is it difficult? YES!” Laurel admits. “I am a full time student, run all of the back end of the business as well as perform. I make many sacrifices to make this business truly successful. But I knew what I was getting into, and I wouldn't change it for the world.”