Princess business take stage at children's parties
Aug. 9, 2014 at 7 p.m.
Something about fairy-tale princesses always excites children, Christy Jeson says.
Her daughter wanted princesses for her birthday last year, and the only way Jeson could do it was if she hired someone from Dallas.
"She's just in love with princesses," she said about her daughter. "I wanted to give her that for her birthday."
Paying someone to travel from Dallas to the party made little sense to Jeson, 40, of Victoria, so she commissioned one of her students from Faith Academy to stand in at the party as Cinderella. She wanted to give her daughter, Ella, a memorable fifth birthday party, and the only way to do it was to get creative.
This was also the starting point for the fairy-tale-come-true story that is Ella's Party Princesses.
Jeson's background in theater helped her with makeup, costumes and performances. The business will celebrate its first anniversary in September - the same day Ella turns 6.
It's expanded to include seven princesses - Little Mermaid, Beauty, Snow White, Tinkerbell, Rapunzel, Snow Queen and Cinderella - who are each played Jeson's current or former students.
"When girls are here getting ready, Ella will put on her dress, too," Jeson said. "She's got one for all of them."
Phoebe Clark, 19, of Victoria, dressed up as Cinderella for Ella's first party and has since dressed as almost all the princesses. She's been the Snow Queen, a version of Elsa from Disney's "Frozen" animated movie, several times and said it's become one of her favorites.
"Every time, I've added to the makeup. It's still a work in progress," she said.
It might be extra snowflakes near her eyes or colored hair spray to hide her dark roots from coming out beneath the platinum-blonde wig pulled to the side in a braid.
"It's a lot of tricks you learn from doing theater," Jeson said.
She might use pins to tighten a dress or use tape to keep part of the dress in place. In the end, it's about bringing the characters from the screen to life for the party.
"We love it," she said about the girls and the business. "The kids act very adoringly, and they love meeting the princesses."
Depending on the party, the princesses will perform in front of the children or play games with them. They can even proclaim the birthday girl a princess with a tiara and a certificate.
It's something Clark said she really enjoys doing.
"The happier they are, the more excited I get," she said. "It makes the character so much more fun to play."
Some of the girls, Jeson said, can sing with the children and perform during the parties. Eventually, she wants to add more things to her party business, including face painting by the princesses, princess camps and dress-up parties.
It's a collection that's still growing and being added to, she said. Some of her inventory, depending on the costumes and even the wigs, gets ordered online or made by hand. Depending on the current trends or new movies, Jeson said she's prepared to do some shifting around with the princesses and add more when she gets a request.
Nikki Delgado, manager at the Fun Factory, said the princess themes have been popular for them, too. The business specializes in inflatable rentals, including a castle bounce house in pink, purple and blue, complete with a slide and Cinderella and her prince.
"From small to big, we have something for everybody. Never lose your inner child," she said.
Delgado said the company's been to many parties where the themes are princesses. But The Fun Factory has also been busy happy with its water-themed inflatable.
When it's hot outside, Delgado said, the water slides are a great option for birthday parties or other events.
"The water slides are definitely popular," the 33-year-old manager said.
Among its collection of inflatables, it has one called the Titanic. It's an inflatable water slide that's one of her most popular slides this summer, she said. She and her team brought the large 22-foot-tall inflatable boat, which also includes slides that empty into a pool, to Riverside Park during the Memorial Weekend Bash.
Before heading to public events or private parties, Jeson and her princesses rally at her home before the events. In the privacy of her home, the costumes get pinned or taped in place, the wigs get a light coat of hair spray before the girls pile into her white minivan to head to the party.
"We want to bring the joy to kids in Victoria that comes with the princesses," she said. "They're magical."