Glamp MKE mobile glamping event service launched in Milwaukee area
By now you’ve probably heard of “glamping”. But even if you haven’t, that’s exactly what it sounds like: camping is glamorous.
You won’t be sleeping on the floor, drinking from red Solo mugs, or poking around for dinner.
Instead, you could relax on a memory foam mattress with a bed frame under a bell tent or sip a glass of wine sitting on an ottoman at a table surrounded by chic decor.
Longtime friends and avid campers, Shannon Salchert from New Berlin and Andrea Fischer from Wauwatosa recently got into glamping.
But instead of providing a place to travel, they bring you glamping.
And with the onset of winter, they take him inside.
How Glamp MKE started
When the friends met in June, Salchert brought up the idea of starting a mobile bar business.
The two met in the hospitality industry years ago, working as waiters at the Wisconsin Club.
“We had already been on the big events and everything, so we had an idea of what it would look like,” said Fischer. “And we loved the idea of personalizing it and bringing it home with you.”
But after finding out how complicated it can be to serve alcohol due to licenses and permits, they returned to the drawing board. Fischer noticed how mobile glamping companies were popping up across the country, so they decided to give it a try instead.
“We saw what others were doing, then tweaked it to fit what we thought the market would be for Milwaukee and the surrounding suburbs – which people would want,” said Salchert, chief marketing officer.
While glamping has been around for years, Forbes called it the hottest travel trend of 2020 for how it provided people with a private and outdoor, yet luxurious and unique way to get their travel fix during the coronavirus pandemic.
And glamping sites continue to grow across the country, according to a July report from USA Today, which highlighted the expansions of AutoCamp based in California, Under Canvas based in Montana and Founded in France, Huttopia.
Wisconsin has many glamping spots, such as Lake Geneva Main street loft, a loft with individual “bedroom” tents; Edenwood Ranch and Preserve in Wautoma with glamping tents and luxury cabins; and a range of AirBnbs.
What does Glamp MKE do
The company sets up a temporary glamping space at a client’s home, whether it’s for an indoor glamping slumber party, an outdoor event in a tent or a boujee picnic.
They use tents, furniture, lighting, and decorations to create a certain theme or mood. Then, once the event is over, they drop everything.
Each is personalized based on what the customer is looking for, the owners said.
“There are so many people who have never been outdoors or camping that would probably try something like this,” Fischer said. “It’s a little less scary. It’s in your own backyard. It’s a lot more upscale and luxurious.”
Camping is a big part of the summers for Salchert and his family. They tent camping at local campgrounds and state parks. Fischer, who grew up camping, camping and backpacking in national parks with her husband.
“We love to be outside,” Fischer said.
To prepare for the launch of their business, the owners did a lot of shopping in store and online to collect all the necessary items for their themes. Then they experimented with different setups in their own backyards and homes.
Glamp MKE debuted at the end of September and has hosted more than eight events since.
Indoor glamping pajama nights
While the company’s outdoor glamping services are seasonal, indoor glamping sleepovers, which began in November, are offered year-round.
Owners target occasions such as birthdays, family reunions and after school dance parties.
The company sets up A-frame tents with twin air mattresses underneath, themed decor, linens, lights, trays and more.
Themes currently on offer include Boho Blush, Out of this World, Unicorn Magic, Into the Woods, Under the Sea, Sunshine and Rainbows, and Pineapple Paradise. Until mid-January, the company is also offering a Holiday Lights theme, which includes holiday pillows, flannel sheets, small wreaths, and mugs for cocoa.
Customers can also work with the Glamp MKE team to create a custom theme for an additional fee.
Outdoor tent glamping
Outdoor glamping – which includes a 16-foot bell tent – is offered from May until the end of October. There are three outdoor glamping packages: one for couples, one for families, and one for friends.
The owners said the couple’s option is great for a date, anniversary, proposal, or wedding night. It includes a queen size memory foam mattress with a bed frame, a “romantic” picnic area, a bluetooth speaker, and a charging station.
For the family package, the picnic area is replaced by up to four twin air mattresses.
“The families booking us this fall just wanted to do something different and unique without the stress of traveling with their kids and packing all of their gear,” said Fischer, a stay-at-home mom and former teacher. “It’s perfect for that because you have the comforts of your own home right there, but you can still have that exciting and unique night.”
For friends’ sleepover, the tent can accommodate up to six air mattresses comfortably and includes amenities, like bed trays, a personalized letter board, and party supplies.
All packages include decor, lighting, rugs, pillows, and bedding. Open flames are a camping staple that is not part of the Glamp MKE experiences. Instead, the company uses tealight candles and battery-powered candles as a precaution.
Christina Zarnowski, Milwaukee business owner, wife and mother, booked Glamp MKE for her sister’s birthday party.
She said Fischer was quick with the setup in her Brewer’s Hill garden and left her 8 year old enthusiastic helper.
It takes about an hour to an hour and a half for the company to prepare for an event and about an hour or less to take it down.
“We loved everything from start to finish,” Zarnowski said in an email to Journal Sentinel.
As the temperatures dropped to 50 degrees on the night of the party, only the young children and the grandfather ended up sleeping in the tent, Zarnowski said. But they loved it and kept warm with all the blankets provided.
If customers aren’t interested in an overnight event, the business can use the bell tent to transform an outdoor space into a living room or dining room. It’s also a seasonal offer, as are the outdoor sleepovers.
These have been popular with mom groups and girls’ nights so far, the owners said. When spring arrives, they plan to put them in place for bridal showers and bachelorette parties.
A basic picnic includes a low dining table that seats eight to 10, floor cushions and ottomans, a table runner, simple table decor, rugs, and ambient lighting. Picnic Chic includes all the basics of the picnic, plus table linens, cloth napkins, chic table decor, candles, chargers, plates and glasses for water and wine.
Service area, reservation and pricing
The customer gets the installation overnight. If they want to have it for more than one, there is an additional charge, which is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Indoor glamping sleepovers typically start at $ 375, outdoor glamping night packages start between $ 425 and $ 475, basic picnics start at $ 450, and chic picnics start at $ 575. For more detailed pricing information visit the Glamp MKE website, glampmke.com.
The company serves a radius of approximately 40 miles around downtown Milwaukee. Anything farther away would incur additional charges, the owners said.
To book an experience, people can fill out a request form under the “Book Now” tab of the Glamp MKE website, glampmke.com/booking. Then the owners will contact you for a consultation. If a guest wishes to proceed with the reservation, they will be asked to make a deposit of half of the total bill, the owners said. The other half is required two weeks before the event.