We’ve all heard of coffee trucks, but have you heard of a coffee camper?
If you’ve been to the Mid City Makers Market or Perkins Rowe’s Food Truck Round-Up recently, you might have spotted Mazi, a mobile camper and vintage glamper, as Honey Dew Sips and Savory owner Toni Shea Thompson calls it.
The Prairieville native started her business venture into coffee when she purchased her 51-year-old, 13-foot camper in April. Although she had no prior experience making coffee — her dad gave her lessons in their kitchen after she had already purchased the camper — Thompson jumped in head first.
“We’re big entrepreneurs in my family,” Thompson says. “Whatever we dream of, we’re just going to go at it and do our best — just see what fun we have out of it.”
Honey Dew Sips and Savory, an extension of Thompson’s graphic design business, serves specialty coffees, sweet treats and small pastries. Customer favorites include salted caramel and fall flavors like pumpkin caramel and pumpkin scones. Thompson even serves up a buttery keto-friendly blend.
Thompson is a self-starter in the business world. She gained experience and knowledge from her family-owned bakery in Prairieville, and she also owned a bridal boutique for three years after graduating from high school in 2013.
Her idea for a mobile coffee shop out of a camper came from scouring Instagram and realizing its popularity and success in many northern states.
“When I told my parents about the idea, they thought ‘she’s nuts,’” Thompson says. “But they went with it.’
After sitting on her idea for a while, Thompson and her mom traveled to Livingston to search for campers she could renovate. She was looking for a vintage camper to restore into a glamper.
They struck gold when they came across what is now Mazi.
Renovations for the camper took about a month. Thompson worked closely with a contractor to bring her vision to life and was able to start selling out of her camper by June.
“We had a lot of accidents that happened bringing this camper alive,” Thompsons says. “We were waking up in the mornings, barely able to move because we were so sore.”
Thompson knew this concept would be fresh to the area and hoped it would be amazing. Hence the name of her vintage glamper — Mazi.
Now, Honey Dew and Mazi service south Louisiana, traveling to places like Baton Rouge, Hammond and Livingston for corporate or private events like food truck round-ups, birthday parties and even weddings.
Thompson works at least 10 events throughout the month, but recently she’s been attending nearly 20. She is soon releasing a new mobile cart that Honey Dew can offer to clients who might not have space for the whole camper.
Honey Dew has had opportunities to expand to a brick and mortar, but Thompson is enjoying the ease and mobility of her business right now. She continues to have fun with it to create the best experience for her family — who helps on the camper at bigger events — and more importantly her customers.
“Right now I’m feeling really blessed in my life, and it’s just so much fun,” Thompson says. “I’m just enjoying the easy stage.”
She will get a taste of store life soon, though. For two weeks in November, Thompson will be stationed at Perkins Rowe with her new mobile cart for a pop-up.
“It has always been a dream of my mom’s to have a coffee shop,” Thompson says. “I would like to have a real shop one day — I’d love to do that for my mom.”
Honey Dew, Mazi and Thompson are constantly inspiring the community. Thompson has many customers tell her they had a similar idea, and to that, Thompson says go for it. She notes how in northern states the community of mobile businesses is a like a family, and she would love to have her own community of local business owners operating out of a camper.
“I’m a small business owner, and we love supporting other businesses,” Thomspson says. “I absolutely love traveling to Baton rouge and being able to work with those business owners.”
Honey Dew Sips and Savory will be at Live After Five this Friday, Oct. 4, from 5 to 8 p.m. You can also catch Mazi at the Mid City Makers Market on Oct. 19.