Before starting a family, it never occurred to me that one day soon I would leave my job to stay at home with the little ones. I enjoyed the independence and rewards of a good job.

I studied at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles and thought that the sweet rewards of changing diapers would be better left to a childcare provider…

A change of heart!

It didn’t long either. Without hesitation, first eye contact with my beautiful little baby girl changed me forever.

Nothing else was needed to understand that I wasn’t going to miss out on her growing up either. Then came two more to carve everything in stone.

While it was a change of heart, it wasn’t a change of circumstances. I mean, it was still necessary to work and provide financial support,

After a few stabs at working at home and outside with little satisfaction, I decided to create the ideal work situation for myself and my family.

One of the top 3 decisions I have made in life

Starting a side business that grew into a full-time income ranks right there. Perhaps tied for No. 1.

Thankfully, the rewards keep coming to this day.

I know that many, many women experience what I did. You are young, enjoying life and a challenging job, then you have a child and all of your priorities change.

With that in mind, here are some reflections on my 18 years in the Dress Up Princess Tea Party business:

First, choosing to be a stay at home mom, SAHM as it is known today, was absolutely the right thing to do.

I actually remained a SAHM because when I re-entered the workforce it was in my own weekend business. I hardly ever had to miss out on times with the kids.

Staying home with the kids is your own business

No one should persuade you otherwise.

Once my business really got going after about 8 months, it provided increasing family support and developed into a fulfilling, happy professional life.

What more can you really ask for?

I looked at franchises, and while you get name recognition and start-up support, they were rigid, difficult to qualify for, expensive, and full-time commitments. None of that worked for me.

I knew that I could do it on my own because I had a picture in mind of what I wanted and the desire to create it.

A name recognition franchise isn’t necessarily the road to flexibility and financial freedom. It may not lead there at all.

In fact, while it provides income, you may be squeezing yourself into a uniform that doesn’t really fit. It’s like marriage.  Choose carefully!

With a small investment, a lot of leg work, a bunch of mistakes, and a little help from family and friends, I opened my own place.

I simply kept to a tight budget in creating my business, proving you don’t need to go to excess in order to succeed. It’s great to be creative, but don’t get fancy.

The Princess Tea Party business is a high-profit margin business.  It won’t be if you spend beyond what is necessary.

You don’t need a high-class space

Your business revolves around young kids. They want to have fun and watch their dream unfold before their eyes. They aren’t checking out the space to see if it is Class A or C.

As long as your space is convenient, safe, clean, and a happy atmosphere, that’s all you need to do. It will take on an identity of its own over time.

Customers will find you, as the power of word of mouth advertising goes a long way if you deliver on your promise.

Since every day is a little girls’ birthday, you actually have a wonderful, self- sustaining pool of customers if you handle with care.

It is very evident that parents and grandparents are spending increasing amounts of money on birthdays. It’s not only about the child either.

The parent seeks and derives pleasure in providing a unique experience for their child.

Little girls love to be princesses

In fact, they like it so much, they often choose a Princess Party several times for their birthdays between ages 4 and 9.

This is a success equation. Don’t lose sight of it.

With that in mind, the best route to take is to define your niche and deliver a stress-free, all-inclusive package.

Never underestimate the value of quality and service, resulting in a lot of free referral business. Children at pre-K and elementary school are your advertising executives!

The bottom line for success is the customer’s perception of value

When your customer feels that the value they received is more than the price they paid, you have succeeded!

Finally, in a small business, especially a Princess Party venue, your personal touch is what establishes trust between you and the customer. There is no substitute for your smiling face.

These are some reflections on a wonderful 18-year experience in this happy business.

Hope to read about yours one day!



Lisa Zakar is a wife and mother of 3. She is the owner of Lisa Rose, a popular Princess Tea Party venue. She has an 18- year track record in the Princess Tea Party business. Lisa had a 10-year history in higher end retail with Nordstrom before launching her business. Lisa Rose is an award winning party venue with Best of Honolulu/children’s parties/Honolulu Magazine, and, Winner of Best Children’s Parties/Island Parent Magazine. Lisa Rose has locations in Honolulu.


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