We had the good fortune of connecting with Lilly Watson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lilly, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I grew up in Dallas and loved backyard birthday parties where we got around the folding table and made arts and crafts. In college, I was a public relations and art history double major. I started taking more art major classes and volunteered as a local Girl Scout troop leader in my college town and loved making things and working with children, but kept moving forward with my public relations major. When I graduated, I started my career and became specialized in branding and special events management, producing over 250 events a year at the height of that chapter of my life. When my daughter started Kindergarten, we started going to more birthday parties together. Even though we were in the same neighborhood I grew up in, children’s parties had changed. There was more decor and elevated experiences, and they were beautiful. However, I missed the experience of something creative and tangible like an arts and crafts experience. These days, we’re all so busy juggling work, activities and home life. When it comes to party planning, we all want great vendors we can call that will take care of everything and let us focus on the fun. With that in mind, I set out to develop a mobile arts and crafts experience business that would make creating at parties easy, rewarding and fun for all of us. Thinking of the vendors I loved to call time and again in my experience as an events planner, I focused not just on creative and engaging products but streamlined systems, strong branding and utmost professionalism at every event.

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Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

What I really love to deliver at Camp Crafty is the professionalism of a reputable special events company with the creativity and engagement of an art educator experience. All of our crafts are designed to be process oriented, where guests work towards a common goal with a myriad of ways to individually execute. While we might all be making race cars or princess wands together, no two should be alike! We encourage our guests to compliment the differences in each other’s work. Each guest enjoys a beautifully set work station while resources – paint, stickers, markers and more – are meant to be shared. Our Camp Directors are trained in open ended encouragement, like “You’re working hard!” and “You used a lot of red!” Every guest that leaves our tables feels proud and accomplished, taking home a special creation from the party that is of a high quality and can be cherished for years to come.

Marketing our crafts, at times I’ve had to convince the marketplace that crafts are so much better when they look like the work of the child rather than done perfectly. Our finished work may not always look like a stunning example photo, but I can guarantee it fills the child who made it with immense pride to have their unique idea applauded. What I deliver that makes everyone happy is an inspiring and beautiful set up with quality materials. People love to take photos of our craft tables at parties, as they bring form and function together in a beautiful way.

As we scaled, I also had to trust that we could find Camp Directors who brought this same enthusiasm to the work. How could I take my passion for encouragement and detail outside of my body as we grew? Our team is made of women contractors who often come from education and child development backgrounds. Thankfully, learning the Camp Crafty way has been fun for our new hires. We employ a group that understands that we’re not just delivering a party concept but acting as a special encourager in a child’s life. Every time a child hears they are creative, artistic, special and magical, they imprint that on themselves.

I’m thankful that many of our families already know how much I deeply care about their children. Since launching in 2019, it’s been such a privilege to be invited back to family celebrations and birthdays year after year. We keep our clients close and know children personally. It makes our day when a child says, “They’re here!” and “It’s nice to see you again.” We’re always welcoming new families into our community, with new parties every week, and consider them all to be special friends to the company. We love repaying our clients’ generosity by giving back at community events.

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Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Dallas is my favorite hang! For a place to stay, I love the Texican Court, It’s the cutest design with comfy rooms and the perfect-sized pool right in the middle. It brings an upscale Texas vibe to your trip the minute you check in. For fun, I love pottery classes at Trade Oak Cliff or a spin around the dance floor (and free line dancing lessons!) at the Round Up Saloon. My favorite place to eat in town is Maple and Motor, home of the best cheeseburger and tots you’ll ever have (it’s worth it to pay $.25 more for Ranch.) Another special spot is Celebration Restaurant, where local farms provide the ingredients for meals that are served family style – make sure to put lots of butter and honey on the cornbread and get the banana pudding. If you need to sweat all that out, I love the classes at Shine Hot Pilates. For unique shopping, I love Lula B’s, Dolly Python and visiting the “denim whisperer” at AAVintage. The best gifts and funny finds are at Favor the Kind. Definitely plan a day at The Perot Museum of Nature and Science – Camp Crafty their exclusive birthday activity vendor. If you can make it out to Meow Wolf in Grapevine, prepare to have your minds blown!

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Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to shout out Mary Faybik at Oh My Nosh Dallas. Mary always cheerleads my ideas and very often keeps me fed during long work stretches with her beautiful and delicious grazing board company. I often refer her to clients who want the same professionalism and creativity at Camp Crafty for their catering. She’s a wonderful Camp Crafty client and even better person.

Website: https://campcraftyparties.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/camp.crafty

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/campcraftydallas/

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Image Credits
images courtesy of Lilly Watson

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