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Sweet Dreams

Sweet Dreams Sleepovers Kzoo owner Alicia Jensen. © 2021Encore Publications/Brian Powers
Local company creates sleepover parties for kids and adults

Sleepover parties are a staple of almost every childhood: a time for friends to eat, watch movies, play games, and goof off together while parents toil frantically behind the scenes.

But one local company is offering to take on the details — from preparation to cleanup — while creating memorable sleepover moments.
Sweet Dreams Sleepovers Kzoo (SDSK) creates themed sleepovers. The work includes setting up the special bedding, decorations and food and taking it all down when the event has ended.

Alicia Jensen, 36, of Vicksburg, the founder and owner of SDSK, says she was looking for ideas for a sleepover for her own child when she discovered a similar company based in the U.K. and thought she’d create an event rental business here.

SDSK offers rentals for several types of events, including bridal showers, outdoor camping and adult sleepovers, but sleepover parties for children are what have caught the most attention from customers, Jensen says. The company offers these children’s sleepovers for kids ages 4 and up.

SDSK provides beds, tipis and decorations like pillows and balloons that match the sleepover’s theme. Jensen says the most popular theme for kids’ sleepovers is Tik Tok, which includes the video sharing site’s logo and colors as part of the décor. Other themes include the video game Among Us, a movie night, and a rose-gold motif.

Jensen says she gets ideas for party themes from her two middle-school-age kids — usually whatever is popular at the time — as well as from customer requests.

“Usually whenever I add something it’s because a customer expressed interest in it,” she says. “Someone will ask, ‘Do you have this?’ and I’m like, ‘No, but we can!’”

Rates for sleepovers are based on how many beds are needed or how many people will be attending. One to three tipis cost $75 each, a party for four is $250, and each additional tipi is $50. Jensen will also arrange for food if requested and set it up at the party. If the party is more than 60 miles from Kalamazoo, Jensen offers a “party in a box” and will ship all the needed elements (except food) to the customer, who ships it back after the sleepover.

Carmel Stauffer, of Kalamazoo, recently threw a sleepover for her daughter’s ninth birthday and used SDSK after finding out about the business through Facebook.

“My daughter’s birthday was coming up, and we had lots of end-of-the-school-year activities, so I was trying to look for something with a lower commitment on my end,” Stauffer says. “It was great to see that they did all the setup and teardown. It’s really no effort on your part, which I loved.”

Stauffer went with the “Boho Chic” theme for her daughter’s sleepover — a trendy design that includes twinkle lights, flowers and other natural elements.

“Because her setup is so beautiful, you don’t really have to do any other decorating,” Stauffer says. “She does it all for you.

“It was a unique way to celebrate my daughter’s party, since last year with Covid we couldn’t have a real party. I thought this was a nice way to have something in the comfort of my own home with just a few friends. I felt really good about that.”

Jensen often collaborates with other local vendors to pull off her themed parties, which has been a boon for those businesses.

“I’ll have parties for people new to the area and they’ll ask, ‘Do you know where I can get these things?’” she says, referring to items she has sourced, including food and desserts. “I’ll refer them to other local businesses. Being from this area, I know the place’s reputation; I can vouch for them. It’s cool that I get an opportunity to also provide business to other local places in the area.”

While she aims to provide joy to others through SDSK, Jensen says running the business has brought a lot of joy into her own life. Not only has she been able to spend more time with her own children, who often assist her with parties, but she also gets gratification from the positive reviews her parties receive.

“I love getting a review afterwards where people are giving feedback that ‘my kid had the best birthday ever.’ … There’s nothing I like better than receiving photos of a party of mine with all these kids having a such great time.”

Maggie Drew

Maggie interviewed the owners of two very different but equally interesting Kalamazoo businesses for this issue. She met with Tim and Tracy Lynn Kowalski, owners of Bio-Kleen, to talk about this company whose products have gained a national reputation for being among the best and most environmentally safe cleaners on the market. “What I loved about Tim’s story of success was he just listened to what the people around him wanted or needed and he made it,” says Maggie. “It was also really great to see that someone at his level of success really cares about giving back to people.” Maggie also interviewed Adam Weiner about his LEGO store, Bricks and Minifigs, which opens in Kalamazoo later this month and will sell new as well as used LEGO products. “Adam’s personal LEGO collection is very impressive,” she says. “I was intrigued by the community of people who love LEGO and the intricate details in all the sets.” Maggie, who graduated from Western Michigan University in April, worked at Encore as an intern during her senior year.

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