Leeds mum's lockdown party business booming across city with incredible Barbie and Fortnite-themed bell tents
Sparkly balloon arches, Fortnite-themed gaming tents and Christmas extravaganzas - Leeds business Belles Tent Hire sets up the parties of children's dreams.
Hayley O Brien launched her bell and bubble tent business in June 2020 to put a smile on children's faces during the first lockdown.
Spotting a gap in the market for fun-filled events that families could enjoy at home, Hayley provides bespoke bell tents filled with activities for sleepovers, baby showers and birthdays.
Demand went through the roof for her services - she now has six bell tents and two bubble tents, catering for up to five events in one day.
Her bespoke packages can be made to order and include Barbie-themed tents, pamper and gaming sleepovers and special tents for Christmas and Halloween.
Hayley, 35, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “The response has been really positive, we get so many messages from families saying their kids loved it.
"Tents are getting more popular now, so I’m trying to keep ahead of the game with bubble tents and different themes.
“Customers have sent videos of the moment their kids saw the tent - some of them started crying. It makes the job worthwhile, even when you’re setting up in the rain."
Hayley's work starts when she receives a request from a customer, before she discusses their ideas and plans out the theme.
She spends the week before events designing the tents and activities which have transformed gardens across Leeds for a special day.
Hayley, who has a 15-year-old daughter, added: “I get a creative idea in my head, I put the image together and I run with it until it comes off.
"It can sometimes take three weeks of planning but I love putting it all together.
“The pamper theme has been so popular with the girls, each bed gets an individual pamper pack with eye masks, face masks, nail polishes and socks on the bed so they can have a girly night.
“We have a gaming theme where we set up Fortnite-themed balloons and colours with a PlayStation plugged into a projector, and we did Christmas packages with snow in the tents which went down well."
Next month, Hayley will launch an online party shop Party Belles, offering themed party packages which can be delivered across the UK.
Hayley suffers from Rheumatoid Arthritis and running her own business allows her to plan her work day around her condition.
"Often people don’t talk about what they’re going through, the difficulties of working through a disease," Hayley added.
She wants others with health conditions to know they are not alone and every month she donates a tent to children who have been diagnosed with cancer.
The idea started when Hayley set up early Christmas celebrations for three-year-old Ellis Price, who had terminal brain cancer.
Ellis and his family were able to open presents in a Christmas-themed tent, before he sadly died last September.
"They loved it and I knew I had to continue to help children with cancer once a month," Hayley said.
“Sadly some of the kids we’ve done it for have passed away which is really difficult.
"It's all for the families, for them to enjoy that time together."
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