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Virtual lockdown magic for Kiwi kids

A Hamilton woman has taken her entertainment business online, bringing some magic to kids during the lockdown.

Kelsey Becht owns Enchanted Entertainment, a business which organises movie and other popular characters to come to kids’ birthday parties and events.

Kelsey, 26, started the business five years ago now employs 20 people, mainly students who work part-time.

Colourful characters, from snow queens and princesses to pirates and superheros have become a popular feature at children’s birthday parties in the Waikato.

She is now ‘crazy busy’ during the lockdown.  

“It was very quick for us, suddenly all of our events were cancelling, we were losing all of our jobs, and all of our income, and then of course suddenly we were going to Level 4.”

Looking for opportunities, she looked to the internet.

“I thought I would grab some costumes and maybe do some livestreams to help the kids get through it.”

“I was initially going to do it myself, and then I did a call out to all my workers and I got this amazing response, and now we have been doing daily virtual things.”

She is doing private Zoom calls, live and pre-recorded story reading on Facebook, online craft activities and personalised messages. Payment is by donation made via a Givealittle page. 

“There has just been this great response from people tuning in every day and seeing something magical.”

Kelsey, who has previously worked for Disney in the US, and as a performer on cruise ships, sources all the costumes and wigs from a supplier in Hong Kong.   She uses a Hamilton seamstress to make alterations. 

The Enchanted Entertainment business idea came about when she was nannying in the UK and a friend asked her to dress up as a Frozen character for a child’s birthday party.

Character entertainment is huge overseas, she says, so she saw an opportunity to set up the business in her hometown, Hamilton.   The rest is history.

“I got a lot of help from my family and friends.  One friend helped design the website, one friend helped design the costumes, and we started adding to the team.”

Kelsey, who works alongside her American partner, plans to expand into the Bay of Plenty and Auckland.

During the lockdown she has seen a massive increase in visitors to her Facebook page, which now has 5500 followers.

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The Waikato is full of people and businesses doing great things. Their stories help build our understanding of the strength of the Waikato and the benefits of living, studying, visiting or doing business here.