Once upon a time, when Miranda Pike was just 15-years-old, she taught herself how to sew.
“My first costume was actually made of bedsheets. It was very rough,” she said with a laugh.
But over the years she persevered and the now-21-year-old has a closet full of hand-crafted creations to show for it.
“This one is my favourite,” said Pike, pointing out a yellow ball gown.
The gown is fit for a princess, which is exactly what Pike is going for. She is a fairytale princess for hire.
“Going from place to place, making dreams come true,” she said.
Six years ago, Pike turned her passion for princesses into a business called Little Princess Parties
She and her staff of seven will transform into popular characters and delight people of all ages at birthday parties, public and corporate events, or hospital visits.
“Everyone just lights up when you walk into the room,” said Pike.
She’s gotten help from her mom, Michelle Pike, who describes herself as a “momager”
“When we moved up here from Cape Breton, she basically had eight characters in her trunk and now she’s grown up to 60 characters,” said Michelle Pike. “So yeah, she’s been very busy.”
‘It’s very rewarding’
The idea for Little Princess Parties sparked when Pike wanted to cheer up her grandmother, who was undergoing dialysis treatments in hospital.
Now, the young entrepreneur says making hospital visits is her favourite part of the job.
“The palliative care, the dialysis and the paediatrics; that’s where my heart is at,” said Pike. “It’s very rewarding. I wouldn’t do anything else.”
But she admits that it does take its toll.
“We never know anything else, it’s just that visit, and typically they’re at their worst,” said Pike.
“It really gets to us, but they really need the pick-me-up, and I just want to make their day better.”
‘I know these characters more than I know myself’
From the hair to the makeup and getting in the character’s headspace, Pike says each transformation takes about two hours.
We have to walk a certain way, we have to talk a certain way — our favourite foods, our parents’ names — everything — favourite colour, favourite season,” says Pike.
Pike says this is far from playing dress-up — it’s leaving a lasting impression on each and every person she meets.
“It’s a memory,” she said. “There’s more to it than a character showing up. It’s the message they leave behind when they go.”
If there’s one message Pike wants to leave behind, it’s to ‘never give up on your dreams.’
She said she’s leading by example, and teaching others to craft their own happily ever after.