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Into the woods: Pop-up lodging in luxury tents

Trend Watch | August 1, 2012 | By:

Shelter Co. brings luxury
tent and event planning to the great outdoors.

As creative director with Alison
of San Francisco, Calif., Kelsey Sheofsky knows how to stage a luxurious event. Now, she
and husband Mike are applying that knowledge to the “glamping” (glamorous camping) trend with a new

In its first season, Shelter Co.
offers pop-up lodging in luxury tents along with furniture, amenities and event planning services.
“The bulk of our business is based on groups of 20 to 40 people—creating an all-inclusive weekend
for guests of a wedding, family reunion or special event where everyone stays on the property,
making it a destination event, even if it’s in your own backyard,” Kelsey says.

Shelter Co.’s tents are European-style canvas camping tents 15-feet in diameter with a center
pole. Additional inventory includes lounge and children’s tents, vanity tents with rolling racks for
bridal party prep, Adirondack chairs, hammocks and camping boxes with welcome kits (think lanterns
and bug spray). Planning services range from wine tasting itineraries to delivering the day’s New
York Times and iced coffees to tents.

With a background in construction and custom furniture fabrication, Mike has built much of the
company’s furniture inventory in his workshop, such as a table that wraps around the center pole.
“It’s low to the ground so kids can eat sitting on pillows,” Kelsey says. “And we’ve used it for
adults too—adults love it for hanging out.”

Identifying event locations in central and southern California has been challenging, but the
Sheofskys have had luck with properties that provide lodging for a small number of people but want
to accommodate larger groups.

“This is a sweet spot for us, especially for weddings, because there is an indoor space with a
real bathroom where the bride can get ready, but everyone else can be out having the camp
experience,” Kelsey says.

The business is a sweet spot as well for the Sheofskys, whose first official date was a camping
trip. But Kelsey emphasizes that a Shelter Co. event appeals to clients beyond the dedicated camping

“Yes, you are sleeping in a tent, but you are in a real bed with a down comforter and
450-thread-count sheets,” she says. “It really doesn’t feel like roughing it.”

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