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Slumber parties are an exciting time for kids, but they can also be a lot of work for parents. When I was a little girl, I practically lived for slumber parties. A group of 6-8 of my besties rotated between our houses from weekend to weekend, having a blast every time. There was something magical about gathering with all of my friends and staying up late to watch movies, eat junk food, make prank phone calls and play games until we crashed into a heap on the floor in the wee morning hours.
In the 1980s and 90s, slumber parties were simple and involved mismatched sleeping bags, gas station snacks, and, if you were really lucky, a group trip to the movie rental store to choose a VHS tape. But, times have changed. Kids (or perhaps their parents) prefer things a little more over the top. Grand gestures, elaborate decor, meticulously planned themes and invitations that are color-coordinated to the occasion are the norm. Sleepovers for some are no longer thrown together, they are events that must be planned down to the last detail.
Alyson Meadors and her husband own and operate Meadors Homestead, a pasture-raised hog farm in Harrisburg, Arkansas. Working the farm, being a mother, and homeschooling five kids means Meadors is good at the details. And as if everything else wasn’t enough work, Meadors decided to start her own business, renting bell tents and indoor sleepover party setups. It’s her attention to detail that has helped her business to thrive.
2020 was a strange year for just about everyone and for an outdoor-loving family like the Meadors, being confined to their four walls wasn’t really an option. Fortunately, the pandemic inspired creativity and innovative thinking. People like Meadors came up with new ways to gather and connect, and following in the footsteps of a friend in Northwest Arkansas, Meadors launched a glamping business in September 2020.
Glamping is a lot like camping. Participants spend time outdoors but instead of being on the ground in a flimsy tent, they can enjoy a real bed, fluffy pillows and even heating and air conditioning.
“[As a family] we love the outdoors and wanted people to have the ability to camp and gather, especially with Covid, outdoors. We really wanted families and married couples to get outside of their four walls, unplug and spend time together. Even if it was just in their own backyard.”
The bell tent setup offered by local companies like The Happy Glamper and Whitetail Tents was gaining popularity in other parts of the state. Northeast Arkansas embraced the concept but Meadors hit an obstacle. Northeast Arkansas lacks the lakes, rivers and cool mountain vistas found in other parts of the state, and the mosquitoes are pretty much unbearable from July through September. From the start, Meadors realized she would be losing ⅓ to ¼ of her business year to the brutal Arkansas summers and decided to offer an additional service to her customers–customized indoor sleepovers with the most adorable teepee beds.
This simple addition would allow her customers to enjoy the full glamping experience during the heat of the summer, the sometimes brutal cold of winter and especially if they didn’t have the backyard space for a large tent to be erected. Indoor teepees allow everyone to have an incredible experience without having to worry about the elements.
Who’s Renting Indoor Teepees?
According to Meadors, the indoor teepees are particularly popular with girls, but she had done setups for boys as well as church groups, scouting groups and even families.
What’s Included With the Indoor Tent Packages?
A basic rental includes three tents, real mattresses, bedding, pillows, breakfast trays, decor, balloon garland and s’mores kits. Additional tents are available for a small fee.
What Themes Are Available?
Meadors is currently offering several pre-set party themes but will work with families and the party participants to design a theme that will create the perfect space for the night. Current themes include:
Boho Style – Relaxed and simple, while also beautiful, this theme includes colorful blankets and fluffy pillows and can easily be color-coordinated to fit the party.
Bright Colors – Popular with both boys and girls, this setup includes tie-dyed pillows and lots of bright colors.
Glow In The Dark – Neon accents, glow sticks and a blacklight really make this theme shine.
Christmas – Christmas lights, buffalo plaid, lanterns and pine boughs make this cozy theme especially popular for family gatherings.
As the business grows, Meadors is able to offer more and more flexibility with each party’s design.
“My goal is to really connect with the families, let the kids feel a part of it, and help with setup. I want to create a family environment and have a relationship with my clients, not just be a business transaction. It has to be more than that.”
Meadors’s five children are often involved in the tent and party setups and the goal is to eventually have a few permanent tents on their farm for people to experience farm glamping. Guests will be able to spend the night in luxury and wake up to experience a bit of life on the farm.
Renting a teepee setup is a fun process and Meadors will guide you through each step from selecting a date, choosing where to set up and designing the perfect theme for your slumber party. Dates for 2022 are filling up fast as Meadors is already booking into June and July.
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