Each week I talk to professionals to get an inside glimpse into what they do and ask them to offer advice to teens who may be considering a job in that field. Check out past interviews with an actress and writer, AV tech guru, NEAT Services and a marketing director at the YMCA and magician Adam London to share how they overcame obstacles and pursued their magic dreams. who have all shared advice for kids. I also spotlight teens each week who are entrepreneurs, leaders or influencers in their community.
Don’t blink or you’ll miss the next big thing Ben Young is up to. The local magician and entrepreneur has been featured on “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” and recently launched his ridiculously fun family business, Foam Fever.
I’ve seen so many great pics of families enjoying the foam parties as well as his magic show onstage and online, that I thought I’d ask Ben to share how he has created such a diverse career as a performer and entrepreneur.
What was the idea behind Foam Fever?
I’m a professional magician, and when COVID hit last year, it left me unemployed with no end in sight. Near the end of June 2020, I was talking to a good friend of mine (another magician) in another part of the country. He’s been doing foam parties for kids for a few years, and told me that people were still loving them during the pandemic. It’s outdoors, can be done socially distanced or with very small groups, and foam is essentially SOAP! It was a perfect combination for the times, so I decided to give it a shot here in Vegas. That was mid-July. That was about 300 foam parties ago!
What are the top 3 skills required to be an entrpreneur?
In no particular order:
- Problem Solving. We do foam parties all over town in a ton of places and situations, and have to adapt! Different surfaces, size of the space, wind, potential safety/tripping hazards, number of people, age of people, location of hose spigots and electrical outlets, and any water or electrical issues are all things we think about during every party! Of course, we’ve done enough parties that you’d never know we go through this mental checklist.
- Personality. We’re in the party business, so it’s obvious to me that we should be personable and friendly throughout the entire process. Life’s too short not to smile and use emojis! 🙂
- Commitment to Client Experience. Fancy way of saying I spend a ton of time and energy trying to give our clients an awesome experience. Of course I want the foam party to be epic, but I also want the booking process to be simple, have lots of communication leading up to the party, be easy to work with, and more.
What were the biggest hurdles to building your business? How did you overcome them?
The biggest hurdle so far has been making changes to fill the demand–scaling up. I feel so fortunate that Foam Fever has been so popular, so it’s been a process of adding more equipment, building a small team to help accommodate more parties on weekends, and changing my systems to keep everything organized.
How did you first get into magic?
I’ve always had some interest in magic. Like many kids, I had magic sets growing up. But when I was 12, I saw David Blaine on TV. I was blown away, and really felt a desire to learn and perform magic myself. I asked for a few magic tricks for Christmas that year, and that was it! I did my first show a year later, performed shows here and there throughout high school and college, and then started performing full-time.
How do you find time to perform?
I perform a modern and upbeat magic show that makes kids and their parents crack up! I’ve performed on Penn & Teller: Fool Us on CW, in major casinos on the Strip, for kids birthday parties, schools, and for the U.S. troops and their families on 80 military bases all over the globe.
What advice can you offer someone who wants to become a magician or performer?
Whether we’re talking about magic, foam parties, or any other kind of entertainment, you have to care about the experience your client or audience has. Focus on delivering something incredible, make people smile, be friendly and easy to work with. Remember that you are giving people a gift–a distraction from boring everyday routines, stress, and problems.
- Passion. The entertainer life isn’t easy. So you have to be really passionate about it. The passion is what gets me through the hard times and makes it worth it.
- Self-Awareness. When working on my show, I try to make sure all material feels authentic to my personality. If it works better for me, it works better for my audience.
- Personality. Just like with Foam Fever, this is a fun business! So like always, I try to be friendly with clients and audience members. Not taking myself too seriously, and just being nice to people, has done so much for me over the years.
What has been the most memorable moment of your career?
My most memorable moment was being selected to appear on the CW TV show “Penn & Teller: Fool Us.” It was my first national TV appearance, and was a totally amazing experience! But the most FUN I’ve had in my career is touring to 15 countries, performing for the U.S. troops and their families, on 80 military bases. They are amazing audiences and it’s an honor to give back and bring them much-needed entertainment.
What else are you working on?
Ooo! The main goal with Foam Fever is to just keep offering the absolute best foam party experience you could ever get. I also started Foam Fever Nashville this summer, so I’m excited to see how it grows next year.
I’m psyched to say, starting in October, the magic is BACK. Firstly, I’ll be running magic classes! Kids ages 8 and up will learn easy-but-amazing magic tricks, plus all the character traits of a true performing magician. It’s a great after-school activity that helps instill confidence, communication skills, and is a fun new hobby. Stay tuned for more info!
And of course, magic shows for kids’ birthday parties are coming back as well! It’s a super interactive, absolutely hilarious show designed to make kids roll on the floor with laughter. Plus I offer magical giveaways and goodie bags, dancing and games, and tons of tools to help parents organize the party!
@FoamFeverNashville (tell your southern friends, ya’ll!)