As a mom of four children, Maria Pagano has always understood the struggle parents have of wanting to throw lavish birthday parties for their children without completely breaking the bank. Pagano said she knew birthday parties could be expensive, so she decided to create a business that focused on giving kids a party they would never forget at an affordable price.
In September of 2018, Pagano founded Bear Mobile Entertainment, a teddy bear-building store on wheels that brings all the fun of creating DIY plushies to peoples’ front doors.
“I want all kids to be able to have a party they can be excited about without feeling like they are missing out on anything,” Pagano said. “My aim was to make an affordable experience that comes to [your] event.”
Pagano purchased a trailer in 2019 for her business so that she could be completely mobile. She travels to homes for birthday parties and visits festivals to share the experience with larger crowds.
When the pandemic hit in March of 2020, Pagano said she faced some challenges. All of the events on her calendar began to cancel one after the other. She was still traveling to birthday parties, but festivals and large-scale events were all closed.
She decided to bring in Italian ice from New York to increase her sales and bring some happiness to others during the summer months.
“I’m from New York, and that’s one thing that we miss here,” Pagano said. “It’s kind of like ice cream, but it’s dairy free and delicious.”
Pagano said that the Italian ice was popular with her clientele and that she would be selling it again this year, along with her bear parties.
Around the end of 2020, Pagano got the idea to begin growing her online business by selling bears filled with rice, lavender beads and a few drops of lavender oil. Each bear was microwavable and provided kids and adults with a warm friend to help with stress or relieve aches.
“They’re good for helping kids sleep and for anybody that’s got sore muscles,” Pagano said.
The idea was a success so she decided to make a weighted bear with crystals that she imprints and places in the backs of the toys.
“People like their crystals,” Pagano said. “But to get a kid to carry a crystal around, that’s not quite that easy. But they’ll carry their toys around.”
She said she wanted to reach a different clientele and expand to people who were interested in crystals. She also wanted to reach parents of children with sensory issues or even older students in high school or college that might like a comforting friend to help them focus or improve memory.
“I have different frequencies that I can do,” Pagano said. “I can do something for concentration, for abundance, for health, for inner peace or focus.”
She will be launching the crystal-imprinted bears in April and will have a pre-order link on her Facebook page once they are available.
As far as birthday parties and events, Pagano said she is excited to bring Bear Mobile Entertainment to fulfill any of your party needs.
She said her typical parties consist of 10 or more children, and that she can customize parties based on parents’ wishes. She brings small or large animals, costumes and T-shirts depending on what the client wants.
“Kids get to have the whole experience of doing the wishing inserts, stuffing the bear, getting the birth certificate, picking out their costume or T-shirt,” Pagano said. “Everything to build their new best friend.”
Pagano lives in Ball Ground but since she operates a mobile storefront, she said she can drive within a 25-mile radius of Ball Ground at no charge, but she requires a travel fee for residences outside the limit.
“I’ve been to Atlanta and McDonough,” Pagano said. “I can pretty much go anywhere people want me to go.”
For the future of Bear Mobile Entertainment, Pagano said she hopes to see her business grow. She said she would like to purchase another trailer to expand services. As of right now, she works alone with her husband as a “silent partner” and her kids helping at parties and festivals.
“It’s pretty much just a one-woman-show at the moment,” Pagano said. “But it’s so fun.”
Pagano also hopes to grow her online business and sell the microwavable and weighted bears for people who may benefit from them.
Pagano will be at Cherokee Veterans Park on March 20 for a flashlight Easter egg hunt.
To learn more about Bear Mobile Entertainment, visit www.bearmobileentertainment.com/.