Laura Fredrick operates Laura’s Princess Appearances to provide princesses at children’s birthday parties, businesses and other events.
Many young girls might have dreams of growing up to become a princess, but for 28-year-old Laura Fredrick, with her blond hair and blue eyes, being a princess isn’t just a fantasy — it’s also a way to pay the bills.
Since March of last year, Fredrick has owned and operated Laura’s Princess Appearances — her own small business where Fredrick and employees will appear as well-known princesses at children’s birthday parties, businesses and other events.
During the appearances, Fredrick and her fellow princesses will immerse themselves in their roles, copying the hair, makeup and costumes of a given princess, while also learning their backstories and mannerisms.
In addition to looking and acting the part, Fredrick and her princesses will play games, hand out prizes, sing songs, answer children’s questions and lead an assortment of other princess-related activities.
“Princessing is personal because you’re going to someone’s home and they’re inviting you in,” Fredrick said as she described her business. “I truly see it as an honor to be invited to someone’s party and for parents to trust me with their child’s event.”
Fredrick, who majored in broadcast journalism at Rowan University and runs her own public relations company during the week, said it was on the set of a television commercial during some modeling work where she first learned about the world of professional “princessing” from another model.
Although Fredrick said she wasn’t any more or less a fan of princesses as a girl of her generation growing up, she decided to start researching princessing as a possible career opportunity.
“I didn’t know how, but it was something that I figured on the side of my PR company that I could also start and achieve more financial stability,” Fredrick said.
Fredrick, a Mt. Laurel native who now lives in Marlton, said she was further encouraged when she learned there were no other princessing companies in the Marlton-Mt. Laurel area that were also affordable to the average family.
Fredrick said she soon found herself putting her public relations skills to work by starting a Facebook page and investing $80 to purchase a costume and prizes to mimic princess Anna from Disney’s animated film “Frozen.”
With advertisements on Facebook and word of mouth, Fredrick said families responded to her business in short order, and by April, Fredrick said she was booked for at least two parties every weekend.
As she received requests for appearances by different princesses, Fredrick said she reinvested some of her company’s earnings into purchasing an additional 10 costumes, while at the same time accepting as many bookings as possible to avoid gaining the reputation of being difficult to schedule.
By summer, Fredrick said she was booked for as many as five parties a day on the weekends, which led to her packing all of her costumes and supplies into her car during the morning and making multiple stops at the restrooms of coffee shops for quick costume changes.
“It’s not like the parents say ‘oh she’s one person, we’re going to book her for one princess all day long’ and make it easy on me,” Fredrick said.
By December, amidst never seeing her family on the weekends and household chores piling up, Fredrick said she made the difficult decision to expand her business by bringing on additional help.
However, Fredrick said her need to hire came at an opportune time, as Disney and other companies have been introducing more ethnically diverse princesses, in addition to already having princesses with features she can’t quite mimic.
“This is a bit of stretch,” Fredrick recalls thinking when she tried on a costume she had purchased to play a leading brunette in anticipation of Disney’s upcoming live action adaption of “Beauty and the Beast.”
Yet when looking for new hires, Fredrick said there’s much more to the process than simply finding those who look the part. According to Fredrick, she never envisioned her company as being based on “looking pretty.”
In her research on other princess companies, Fredrick said she learned of criticisms against princesses who were more concerned with standing in the background and posing for photos, rather than entertaining children.
“I want to hire the girl where if the child has a bouncy house, the princess goes in that bouncy house with her,” Fredrick said. “I tell all my potential princesses that I care less about the costume ripping and more about that child feeling like that princess is now her friend.”
In turn, Fredrick said imparting that same philosophy to children has almost become a second mission of her business.
Fredrick said she wants young girls to see princesses can still be real people, with the girls learning it’s OK to have fun, and it’s not always about looking perfect.
Even before offering mini-makeovers at parties, Fredrick said she always tells the girls that “everyone is beautiful without makeup,” and the makeover is just for fun.
Fredrick said Laura’s Princess Appearances recently had its busiest weekend yet with 10 appearances scheduled, and she even recently signed a contract to handle all appearances for events at the Pop Shop in Medford.
Fredrick said she employees 14 people, including recent hires of two men to help fill roles as princes and a planned upcoming introduction of more male characters such as superheroes.
Laura’s Princess Appearances start at $75 per hour, with a one-hour party including a visit from a princess of choice, a tiara for the birthday girl, a musical game with 12 complimentary prizes, storytime, group photos, individual photos, a Happy Birthday Song and dancing with the princess.
Longer visits and additional activities are also available.
For more information, search Laura’s Princess Appearances on Facebook, call (856) 630–6331 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.