UT student starts business to teach young girls respectWritten by Staff Reports | | firstname.lastname@example.org
By Amanda Eggert
While some young girls fantasize about growing up to be a princess, a University of Toledo student is living that dream.
It started as a one-time thing, dressing up as a princess for a family friend’s birthday party. But it turned into a small successful business for Laurel Lovitt, a second-year majoring in sales and marketing.
Her business, Laurel’s Princess Parties, was launched in May 2013 and is currently booked for six months out.
Lovitt said as Princess Laurel, she helps young girls build confidence and teaches them to respect others.
“It’s not the crown and the dress that you wear, but it is how you uphold yourself and how each of us can be a role-model in our community,” she said. “We can all be leaders, but how can you do that? That’s the role of a princess.”
At the parties as Princess Laurel, Lovitt hosts “princess training,” which includes proper posture, how to curtsy and bow and why manners are important. But it’s not all hard work — there’s also story time and tiara-making.
“They make their own tiara, but they are not allowed to put those tiaras on because I bring the red carpet and I actually crown each of the girls a princess,” she said. “They have to take a royal oath and it’s that they are going to be respectful and kind to one another, and that they are going to live out the life of a princess and be a leader and role model.”
After the coronation ceremony, the girls enjoy a celebration ball filled with music and dancing.
Lovitt signs pictures as Princess Laurel when the party ends, and the girls each get a copy.
But signing autographs isn’t what Lovitt said it’s all about; it’s about the smiles.
“Each and every weekend when I put on that dress and that tiara, I know what it stands for,” she said, “and it’s not just an item, but it’s what’s inside … that’s the inner princess.”
Being a positive role model is something Lovitt said she values in her life and in her business.
“I think with me it’s the greatest college experience because I get to run my own business, work my own hours and have so much fun being a role model for the community,” she said.
Along with the support of her family and boyfriend, Lovitt said her friends and members of the community have supported her dream as well.
“It’s been a very positive reaction in the community and I’m just thankful,” she said. “I was able to leave my job at the Disney Store and do this full time, and it’s just been a blessing.”
In pursuit of those dreams, Lovitt plans to franchise nationwide or franchise as a nonprofit organization after she graduates from UT.
“I see that vision of leaving a legacy and helping the future generation to grow and all of us can do that with working together.”
Lovitt also wants to create a line of ball gowns that are affordable for girls. And on top of that, she is also considering writing and illustrating children’s stories about anti-bullying and respect.
“You dream big or you go home,” she said.
Dreaming big is advice that Lovitt has taken to heart and recommends for everyone — as long as it comes with action.
“I just had this dream of becoming a princess,” she said, “and now it’s a reality.”
For more information, visit www.laurelsprincessparties.com.