Courtesy of the Sherwood Park News on March 12, 2018
Princesses in the Park offers many Disney character options, including Ariel from The Little Mermaid, protrayed by 16–year–old Sherwood Park resident Destiny Meilleur. Photos supplied
A local resident who loves to sing is bringing magic to events around Sherwood Park, at only 16 years old.
Started by Destiny Meilleur a couple of months ago, Princesses in the Park is a full-service business bringing popular Disney characters to children's birthday parties and other events.
"I started it because I really love musical theatre," Meilleur said. "I love Disney and I love working with kids, and I felt there was a need for it here in Sherwood Park, and I started it now because it's easier to start it when I have the time and get things going now versus waiting."
Since starting the business, the response has been positive, Meilleur said, as she noted she has been getting quite a few inquires.
"We volunteered at a couple things like the Briarkids Festival," she said, adding: "We volunteered to have a kids night at Headquarters, the restaurant here in Sherwood Park, and we have had quite a few birthday party bookings and people seem to really enjoy the idea of this business."
Once she knew what the business was going to be, the first thing Meilleur did was buy costumes, register the business name and build an online presence, which 123 Marketing helped with building a website.
A new business also come challenges and several learning curves, but Meilleur admitted running her own business has been a good experience.
"Having to deal with the expenses on costumes and things, and dealing with how to manage that money and put in enough to get more out and make a profit and things like that," she explained.
"It's definitely a lot of things I didn't consider before starting a business, but realizing that now it probably actually helped me, so when I do become an adult, I'll know how to manage money."
She said the biggest challenge with managing the money is determining what character costumes to purchase, as they can be fairly pricy.
"There are lots of characters that people want, but the funding for the costumes is fairly large," Meilleur noted. "We have to try and manage the costumes that people want with managing our funds. We are hoping we can get some government help with some things."
As the business grows, she said she is interested in hiring other high school students who are looking for a job and enjoy singing
"We have quite a few people lined up with being princesses and princes just from my school," Meilleur added, “people who found out about it through me who are super interested in helping out."
To date, Meilleur said she has participated in around 12 events, noting she was anticipating a fairly large response.
"I didn't expect people to notice me in the hallways and stuff as the girl who started her own business, so the response has been a lot bigger than I expected," she noted.
Becoming a Disney character for parties allows Meilleur to utilize her performing skills, which she said could come as a benefit later in life.
"I have always been into singing, dancing and acting and musical theatre-type things," she said. "It's always something I wanted to do with my life and this should help give me that option to continue to do that."
If people inquire to Princesses in the Park for a specific character, Meilleur advised they try to get the costume.
Visit princessesinthepark.ca for more information.