We had the good fortune of connecting with Trish Healy and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Trish, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
WonderTent Parties began in early 2017 with the adoption of our then 14 year old daughter out of the LA foster care system and her simple request to experience her very first sleepover. Wanting to give her and her friends a memory making experience, I set about creating something truly unique and memorable, and in doing so, WonderTent Parties was born. Meeting Celia through the non-profit Kidsave – who helps older kids in foster care find forever families – was a life changing experience both personally and professionally.
Having worked at the executive level in the business world, now as a first time Mom to a teen I knew that if I was going to start my own business I wanted it to have a strong give back component. So we established our Good InTent initiative where a portion of the proceeds from every WonderTent Parties experience is proudly donated to Kidsave to help kids like Celia find their forever family. We’ve also partnered with several local schools and charities to help with much needed fundraising efforts and donations and have proudly helped raise over $40,000 since we started. This year when Covid hit we proudly helped Kidsave with the creation of care packages filled with essentials items and some goodies so that kids in foster care who felt especially isolated and disconnected from the wider community were cared for.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
WonderTent Parties is an at-home experience company and when we started off we were best known for our Signature SleepOver and Gorgeous GlampOut experiences. We pride ourselves on bringing luxury level events to people’s homes, creating spaces for them to make lifelong memories with family and friends. Our aim is for every client, years from now, to look back and smile when they think about their kids experiencing their first SleepOver or the family enjoying a GlampOut, or thinking back to that summer Movie Night or that unforgettable Outdoor Dining Experience. This year especially when feeling connected has been such a challenge, we’re proud of leading the way with a range of socially responsible Picnic Circles and Dining Experiences that let people gather safely and celebrate in smaller, intimate settings. For us it’s all about the experience, the memory and connection. And it’s personal for me, I want to make sure every event is wow worthy.
What challenges have you faced and what do you wish you knew?
Starting any business is hard, especially when you are creating a whole new category. There’s a lot of self-doubt of “Will this work?” coupled with self belief that “Yes it will!” Coming from the corporate world I knew running my own business would be challenging, but I didn’t appreciate just how challenging it could be. And because it was such a new idea, I soon realized that we were creating a totally new offering, a new market from scratch which came with its own set of unique challenges. One of the biggest challenges was actually taking that leap into the unknown. Following my heart and thinking I could do it when a lot of people around me thought “Are you crazy!?!” And then there’s just the adjustment to everything being on your shoulders, being the heart and soul of the business. It’s a seven day a week job with long hours of developing offerings and ideas, handling bookings, curating and packing, doing deliveries and so on. But when you see the joy it brings people and you know you’re creating a lifelong memory, it makes everything so worthwhile. Thankfully we have had some really great clients who have become passionate advocates and spread the word to their friends and family. We’ve really grown out of the support of repeat business and people discovering our offering and being wowed by it. It’s been a rewarding journey but not without its challenges.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
One of the first places I would hit would be The Grove for the great outdoor shopping. And it goes without saying I would take them for lunch at Picnic Society to show off The Backyard, our elevated picnic experience with Curtis Stone. Self-promotion aside, the food is really, really yummy – grab some sausage rolls, the Caesar Wedge and one of every dessert. We’d also do a bike ride along Santa Monica beach which is really a lot of fun then drive down the PCH to Malibu for dinner at Sunset Restaurant. In a “normal” world we’d hit up the Getty Center, catch a movie at the Dome in Arclight Hollywood, see a show at The Hollywood Bowl (one of the best concert experiences you’ll ever have) and grab some late night treats from the Beignet Box in Studio City. And no visit with my family would be complete with a trip to Disneyland.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
First and foremost our amazing team, many who have been with us from early on, who are the superstars of our business helping create our unforgettable experiences. And of course we wouldn’t exist without our daughter Celia and the life-changing work of Kidsave. Similarly I have been so lucky to meet so many amazing business advisors like Mike Huntly at the Long Beach SBDC who have offered sage advice. And of course our clients, many of whom we’ve done so many events for now they feel more like friends, who continue to support and believe in what we are doing and creating. And I continue to be inspired by other entrepreneurs who are hustling to make things fun in these challenging times, people like Jazmine at Get Caked LA and Charlie at Me’n’u, Andrea from Flower Truck LA and the amazing Jelena from Viola Floral.