Kylee Falconer, the 2022 winner of the Mid-Day Women’s Alliance Entrepreneurship Grant, opened “Kindred Seasons Events” on February 1, 2022, but the drive to be her own boss began much earlier.
It started with her kind heart and entrepreneurial spirit. As a Kansas college student, Kylee knew her freshman year that she wanted to meet new people and bring them together. She worked as a Resident’s Assistant in the dorms and hosted events for the students there but wanted to do more. She had the idea to offer something different from the traditional sports available on her small campus where the population included many athletes.
Involved in dance during her younger years, Kylee decided to embark on a variation on that. She wanted to hold Zumba classes on campus, incorporating a fundraiser for a local breast cancer victims’ charity. She researched funding opportunities to help purchase a Zumba teaching license, applied for and received a grant for that, and classes and planning for a Zumbathon began. Her next step was getting in touch with the student activities board to enlist their help in promoting the event. She was on her way.
The student activities group knew talent when they saw it and asked Kylee to be part of their marketing team. This led to her serving on their board, and eventually becoming president of the organization. It was a good learning experience to prepare for her future as she completed her BA in Communications.
During college, Kylee also made time to meet her future husband, Ben, a young man from Colorado. Ben landed an internship at Motion Products, Inc., in Neenah, Wisconsin. In January of 2020, he invited Kylee to join him there so they could explore the Fox Cities and see what the Wisconsin winter was like. While finishing college virtually due to the pandemic, Kylee filled in at Motion Products in their marketing department. She also interned in the president’s office, helping with the logistics of the board of trustees meetings and more.
After graduation, Kylee worked for Motion Products in marketing and branding, but the desire to start her own business remained. In high school, she watched her dance teacher start a studio in small town Kansas and dreamed of doing something like that. She considered opening one in the Fox Cities, but after working part-time at a local dance studio and researching the saturation in the area, she decided against it.
She then happened to see a YouTube video about a sleepover event company in California and that piqued her interest. Kylee did her due diligence, not finding any offerings in the Fox Cities and only one sleepover events company that had been open for a short time in Madison. Additional research, and Ben’s blessing, convinced her to take the leap and Kindred Seasons Events came into being.
Fortunately for Kylee, her now husband Ben likes to build things. She designed the tents and he created them. Her prices include consultation, delivery, styling, and take down within the Fox Cities area. She offers six different Slumber Tent themes as well as full-size Bell Tent Lounging and Slumber party opportunities, perfect for birthday sleepovers, bridal parties, baby showers and more. Kylee describes her business as “the Fox Valley’s sleepover and glamping experts. We create lasting memories for the whole family by taking the stress out of party planning.”
Yes, there are piles of laundry, which she has realized she may be able to outsource eventually. Kylee joined a Facebook group for sleepover events owners and gets support and ideas like outsourcing there. But she realized more support could only make her business better.
So, when Kylee’s neighbor, a Mid-Day Women’s Alliance (MDWA) member, told her about the 4th Annual Fox Cities Women’s Entrepreneurship Grant Program (FCWEGP) last year, she decided to apply. This grant, through a competitive application process, provides a local female business owner with $2,000 and over $2,500 in business coaching services and networking opportunities each year and is supported by MDWA in collaboration with CAP Services Inc.
Kylee applied for and was selected as the winner of the grant. She says mentorship has been the most valuable resource so far. Being able to meet other women who have been in her shoes and knowing she’s not alone as she goes through a small business owner’s struggles means so much. She has gained knowledge and has been offered encouragement. Kylee says her confidence has increased due to this support system. She also has more peace of mind because others with experience have explained why things aren’t as bad as they seem.
She is still working on how to invest the grant money. The list of ideas is ever-changing, including heated tents. She’s found the best form of advertising is referrals via word of mouth in conjunction with social media, so she hasn’t committed to investing funds there. Kindred Seasons Events had five repeat customers in the first year.
Kylee’s goal is to do Kindred Seasons Events full time. She did have to turn customers away last year due to being booked. Summer 2023 parties are scheduled. If the winter season momentum continues, she’s looking forward to full time status happening sooner rather than later. One of her 2023 goals is to partner with other party suppliers to include items like balloons and cakes with her events.
Kylee says “I’m so grateful that I found a community with which I can build entrepreneurial skills and learn from in so many ways. From basic business to building meaningful relationships, MDWA has helped me build my confidence as a new business owner.”
If you or someone you know could benefit, the 5th Annual Fox Cities Women’s Entrepreneurship Grant Program (FCWEGP) applications may be submitted June 1-30, 2023.
Kindred Seasons Events