It could have been a scene lifted directly from the poem ’Twas The Night Before Christmas. A crackling fire in the fireplace, a twinkling Christmas tree, fuzzy white stockings hung on the mantle, plus a trio of tiny tents and the warm glow of fairy lights. All that was missing was the children nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads. But that would come later in the day, when mom and dad surprised their three children with a luxury sleepover experience, courtesy of Tiffany’s Picnic and Parties.
Tiffany Ohotto and her twin sister, Brittany Kozan, specialize in whimsical picnic and sleepover experiences. Their emerging Plymouth-based business is not quite 1-and-a-half-years-old, but it continues to grow with new customers. Some find them through word of mouth, others
are drawn in by the dazzling photos of their work on social media.
“We love to make things memorable,” Ohotto says.
Party planning has long been a passion for the creative duo, but it hit a fever pitch when they each started having their own children. “We always went all out,” Ohotto says, referring to the birthday parties they threw for their children. “We’ve always liked décor.” As they planned one over-the-top fête after another for their kids, family and friends took notice and started asking them to plan their baby showers, wedding showers, birthday parties and more.
In July 2021, in the midst of the pandemic, the sisters took the plunge and launched Tiffany’s Picnic and Parties. With a collection of 10 cotton teepee-style tents and a host of rugs, fairy lights and throw pillows, they started offering whimsical picnics during Minnesota’s temperate seasons. Customers booked their picnics to host everything from birthdays to showers to romantic dinner dates.
By fall, the women had expanded their collection of tents to nearly 30 and had added luxury sleepover experiences complete with mattresses, festive bedding and games to their repertoire. It proved to be a fruitful move that kept them busy during the colder months and afforded some insurance against bad weather.
“The holidays ended up being very busy,” says Ohotto. And she expects this holiday season to be even busier with their ever-expanding collection of wintry sleepover themes like Let it Snow, The Grinch, Merry and Bright Holiday and a cozy red and white setup.
The party planning generally starts a couple weeks out with a phone call to discuss logistics. Ohotto says she likes to begin talking through the party size and space available. The typical sleepover size is four to six people. Ohotto has found that most people’s homes can comfortably accommodate four of the teepee setups with full-size air mattresses.
Clients can select one of their established themes—non-holiday offerings include the popular boho, unicorn and camping themes—or customers can collaborate with Ohotto and Kozan to customize their experience. Ohotto is partial to The Grinch sleepover theme, but she is always happy to work with clients if they have a vision that doesn’t fit one of their existing themes. “Absolutely, we’ll figure it out. I love the creativity. It’s so fun to bring a vision to life,” she says.
On the day of the event, Ohotto and Kozan take care of the delivery and setup. They inflate full-sized air mattresses, dress them with mattress pads, sheets and blankets and top them with colorful accent pillows. They erect the teepees over the beds and string the fairy lights around. They set up trays and decorate them with themed decor from battery-powered lanterns and miniature Christmas trees to books and games. A sprinkling of balloons and party favors rounds out the setups. Ohotto says she doesn’t leave until everything is in its place and the vision is complete. “I’m a perfectionist,” she says.
The next day, Ohotto and Kozan return and take it all down (they operate within a 20-mile radius of Plymouth, but will travel beyond that range for a fee). Clients never have to lift a finger, although Ohotto says many of her clients have a hard time not pitching in with folding sheets, washing dishes or helping carry the party décor back to her vehicle. “Honestly, I have the best clients,” she says.
While they are happy to plan sleepovers for any age, Ohotto says that, for the most part, her clients are parents trying to create a special experience for their children. Their picnics skew older, but sleepovers tend to be booked for the 4- to 12-year-old crowd. Happily, many of their clients have found that one sleepover just isn’t enough. “A really good chunk of our customers are repeats,” Ohotto says.
One of Ohotto’s favorite parts of the job is seeing the reactions to the magical scenes they’ve created. “I had one sleepover where the mom was surprising her daughter, and she let me stick around when her daughter saw the setup,” she says. “She was so excited. She was screaming. I thought to myself, ‘How lucky am I?’”
Those moments make all the work worthwhile, Ohotto says. They also give her hope for the future. Right now, Ohotto and her sister continue to work their day jobs—Ohotto’s background is in teaching, and Kozan is a sleep technician—but someday, Ohotto dreams of turning party planning into a full-time gig. “It would be amazing to do this full time,” she says.
Ohotto’s dreams for the business also include opening a studio space where she can be creative, host events and store her growing stash of party décor. “There’s so, so much stuff,” she says. “I’m running out of space to put it all.”