February 4, 2014
Congratulations to our latest WomensNet.net Amber Grant Winner, Lauren Cecil from Maryland.
Lauren is the Founder of Solid Ground Shelters, a company that puts a new spin on the traditional camping scene. Continue reading to learn all about Lauren and her company.
WN: What was the biggest challenge in starting up?
LC: I believe the hardest part of starting a business is just taking that initial leap of faith and doing it. There are always obstacles when you decide to start your first company, but the adventure of overcoming those obstacles one by one is very exciting. Starting a company is thrilling, overwhelming, scary, fun, and challenging.
Luckily, I have had an amazing support system behind me in starting Solid Ground Shelters. Jason (my partner) and myself have made a great team and our strengths and weaknesses balance out well. Our family and friends have been so fantastic, and we could not thank them enough.
I love working on our company every single day and can’t wait to see how it grows and changes every year. Thank you to the WomensNet.net team for awarding us with this grant. It helps us to be able to grow our business, and we appreciate all that you are doing for other ladies who are pursuing entrepreneurship!
WN: Any unique stories you can share about any of your guests?
LC: There are too many to count! I think my favorite event thus far has been a wedding we did for a special couple in Maryland. We brought our tents and set up at The Treehouse Camp, which is a campground in the Catoctin Mountains. The couple was so excited about their special day, and our tents were another fun aspect of their outdoorsy wedding. Seeing our customers faces light up when they open their tent doors to see the decor inside is always my favorite part of any event, and this particular couples’ faces were priceless. It was so great to be apart of their special day and make it even more unique.
WN: Tell us about your charity work.
LC: We have partnered with a fabulous charity called ShelterBox because we want to be able to provide solid ground to those who have lost their homes. ShelterBox helps by providing shelter and necessary items to people displaced by their homes due to natural disaster, conflicts, and other tragic circumstances. Being able to help just one family every year brings so much meaning to what we are doing.
WN: What inspired you to create a Safari-Style accommodations camping grounds?
LC: I had no idea how much I loved camping until I decided one day to be a camping guide and lead camping trips across the USA. Camping allows you to enjoy the outdoors, be closer to nature, and always get into some sort of adventure. I love all of these aspects that are associated with camping.
What I don’t love is not sleeping! I like to get my 8 hours a night, and without fail I do not sleep well when I camp. So, Jason and I thought about creating a mobile glamping company where we can bring the camping to any location that you would like to camp. We realized there were a lot of people like myself who would like to be in the outdoors, but would also like to have the comforts of a hotel. So, we have brought our glamping accommodations to music festivals, weddings, wineries, and other events.
WN: How big is the property?
LC: We do not have our own property currently, but that is one of our long term goals. Currently, we bring the glamping tents to whatever property suits your fancy! This is great because people can create their dream camping vacations and events with us, and not have to worry about the details. Solid Ground Shelters is currently primarily operating on the East Coast, but we also plan to expand in the coming year.
WN: Thanks so much for your time, Lauren. All the best moving forward!