Building a Business on Backyard Camping A look at how one entrepreneurial couple is finding success with its suburban version of the great outdoors.
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Entrepreneurs: Chris and Kella MacPhee, founders of Suburban Camping, based in Brick, N.J.
"Aha" moment: "I woke up from a dream that I outfitted these cool, elaborate, unique backyard campouts for birthday parties and summer activities," Chris says of the inspiration that struck in late 2010. He and wife Kella, both camping enthusiasts, decided it was a dream worth following. With Kella's eye for design (she's a wedding photographer) and Chris' experience in outdoor retail, they founded Suburban Camping in 2011, putting in about $15,000 from their savings that year and keeping costs low by sourcing camp décor from thrift shops. This season the MacPhees are investing another $25,000 to $30,000; they have had a line of tents made for the business and hope to expand operations beyond the tri-state area.
Set up camp: Offerings include a couple's tent for a romantic evening; the vintage-inspired "classic camper"; a Harry Potter-themed campsite complete with wands, cloaks, glasses and wizard décor; anda girls' night outdoors. Suburban Camping also markets a movie night, which features a projector, screen, speakers and seating; optional add-ons include lemonade and s'mores stands.