Planning Parties For Princesses

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - September 21, 2005
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Lisa Zakar dresses up birthday princesses at
Lisa Rose Doll House and Tea Room

A princess, a pretty dress and a party. Lisa Rose Doll House & Tea Room celebrates birthdays for little girls ages 4 to 12 years old.

Owner Lisa Zakar says she’s having so much fun throwing dress-up birthday parties on weekends.

“It’s really fun to see girls who have never been here before,” Zakar admits. “They have no idea what to expect when they come. Then their eyes light up and they get so excited. They have such a good time, they often ask me if they can stay, or if they can sleep here.”

Zakar throws a two-hour birthday party where girls pick out a pretty gown, and get their hair, makeup and nails done. A five-minute session on good manners is given, which includes putting your napkin in your lap and saying please and thank you. All party princesses get a souvenir digital photo taken of them followed by parental paparazzi when they do a fashion show. For the tea party, the girls are served lemonade and finger foods such as carrot sticks, fruit and cheese, goldfish and sandwiches. The birthday princess gets to ring the porcelain service bell if any of her guests need something, and a hostess will accommodate the keiki requests.

Parents are escorted to a nearby room so they can sit down and enjoy their own time together with iced tea, crackers and some pretzels, while they allow the girls to be girls. A birthday cake is served and presents are opened. The hostesses help to read the cards and package the gifts for the birthday girl to take home. At the end of the party, each girl gets to choose a little something from the treasure chest.

“Sometimes a little brother or a boy cousin comes,” Zakar notes. “We do have a little king outfit. The younger boys have a real good time.”

Parties accommodate the birthday girl and seven of her friends at a minimum, or 13 of her friends maximum.

“It’s word of mouth; it’s 10 of her friends at the party and the rest say, ‘I want my party here,’” explains Zakar about the success of her business which began in 1999. “A lot of girls have been here seven, eight, nine times.”

If parents want to, they can also rent the dresses, shoes, wands and tiaras and conduct their own tea party.

Zakar and her mother, Rose, ran the business together until Mom died a year later. Zakar’s background includes working at Nordstrom in several positions ranging from sales to merchandising. The flexible schedule of owning her own business allowed her to spend more time with her three children, who are now ages 10 to 15.

Three years into the business, Zakar started offering etiquette classes during summer and winter breaks for four consecutive Saturday sessions. The next set of etiquette classes start Oct. 8 and Nov. 12. Special arrangements can be made for Girl Scouts and Brownie troops to earn their manners badge.

In 2004, Zakar added a Big Island location, and she presently offers tea parties and etiquette classes in Hilo too.

The Maryknoll grad relies on six part-time employees as well as her niece, Melissa Tashiro, who manages the Honolulu location.

One challenge, Zakar notes, is that most of her work is done on the weekends, and her space is vacant during the week.

“I’m trying to find someone who may want to use the space for meeting or tutoring or crafts on a regular basis,” she concludes. “I’m trying to find the right mix.”

She notes that 20 percent of her business is the etiquette classes and 80 percent is the tea parties.

“We do all the work so parents don’t have to,” Zakar adds.

Call 528-4552, or visit

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