We had the good fortune of connecting with Susan Bell, co-founder of Fairy Camp LA, and we’ve shared our conversation below
Hi Susan, how does your business help the community?
Fairy Camp LA, and now Fairy Camp at Home, not only wants to bring creative ideas and activities to kids, but hopes to bring a sense of wonder and magic to their childhood. Our camps and boxes are meant to be a launching pad into a world of imagination. It is our hope that when an activity is complete, the children will want to engage with nature, and all the fun and adventure that awaits them. Through our imaginative prompts, we hope the kids will explore the world around them in a new light – a place where boredom or self doubt doesn’t exist because they always have the support, engagement and fun of the magic they create.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Our business started with a friendship. Within the first couple hours of meeting, we had a blueprint of what we wanted to do together for the youth of LA. Melissa came to the partnership as a business minded children’s musician, and Sue was running her own preschool with a mind full of imagination. We used our separate strengths and our combined love of kids and creativity to build Fairy Camp LA. Over the past 10 years, we have adventured with hundreds of campers in LA, and now with Fairy Camp at Home, we are so proud that we can bring the spirit of our camp to kids all over the world. We believe strongly in using our imaginations to create a sense of wonder and curiosity. Not only do we encourage exploring, question asking, creating and fun but we strive to help build confidence, kindness and empathy in our campers. One of our greatest compliments come from parents when they tell us that after camp (whether at home or in person) their kids are seeing the world through magical eyes; they want to go exploring for fairies, search for trolls, or find enchanted places. We have learned to be open and curious to wherever our business paths may lead, and that opportunities can come from the strangest places (like a pandemic!). Although challenges may arise, we will continue to be strong and committed in keeping the integrity and magic of Fairy Camp.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m a huge fan of the outdoors so a perfect LA itinerary for me would include a trip down south to San Onofre to surf, followed by a stop at Wahoo’s fish tacos. We would walk Griffith Park (all the secret trails), and go to Gracias Madre for a fancy dinner (and those cocktails – oh my goodness!). In non-covid times, we would definitely take in a show at both The Groundlings Theater and UCB after a few margaritas at El Compadre (can you tell there is a Mexican theme here?). I’m originally from Canada, so it is always fun to bring guests to a hockey game because they are so much cheaper to go to here than back home!! Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
We would love to send a shout out to the families of LA that believed in us right from the beginning. Our camps grew in popularity and strength thanks to the enthusiastic word of mouth advertising from our original campers, many of them now on their way to becoming Fairy Camp Counselors! Families such as the Armstrongs, Youds, Mortons, and Feuersteins have always showed us their unending support and we are so grateful for their love and friendship. Fairy Camp LA has had to deal with two major pivots, and our success leans heavily again on the help of our campers and their families. In 2018 we had to move our camp from the park due to a change in permitting. The Lehr family and Christopher Robin Preschool opened their arms to us so we could continue our daily operations with a smooth transition. We are so appreciative of the trust they had in us and their abundant generosity! When Covid hit in the Spring of 2020, and we were unable to have an in person camp, we quickly had to change gears. We were encouraged by so many of our families to create an at-home version of our camp which led to birth of Fairy Camp at Home where we now ship curated boxes to kids across the country. Heather and Courtney from C + H Agency as well as Brady from Wall of Apricots used their expertise to steer us in the right direction and gave us guidance on how to pivot successfully. We also owe our widespread national interest to Busy Philipps whose daughters both attended our camp. Her shout out about Fairy Camp at Home on her instagram page led to an overnight awareness of our products and hundreds of sales – Busy, you rock! Finally, and most importantly, we would love to thank all of our amazing counselors, specifically Ben, Taylor, Talia, Matt, Naty and Kim, who have adventured with us for years, enthusiastically lifted us during changes and challenges and who have used their skills, compassion and huge sense of fun to help us create an amazing world of magic and wonder for our customers.