Posts Tagged ‘Party Planner’

Bird's PartyWhen it comes to parties, Bird from Bird’s Party has all angles covered.  She created a successful party printables business with her graphic design skills, which led her into party planning, styling, editorial photo shoots, and eventually Bird’s Party Magazine.

Bird’s a modern marvel because she’s been able to create a successful full-service party business that has no geographical boundaries. Bird is based in France with her husband and children, but all of her print-it-yourself party products, ideas, and e-zine are accessible anywhere. She’s like the girl next door, who doesn’t actually live next door.

I’ve often wondered, “How does she do it?” I’m still not sure, but she did let us in on a few insights …

 - – - – - -

Candy.com: So, which came first: your party designs and printables, your event planning business, or your magazine?

Bird: The graphic design and party printable aspects came first and along with that, the need to style and plan photos shoots, editorials, and real life events based around the printables.

The magazine came last as a way of compiling and featuring the best Bird’s Party has to offer, but now it has grown into a real resource for all things party and event styling in general, and offers an invaluable platform for many related business to showcase their talents.

Big Top Party

Candy.com: How did you go from process engineer in your early career to party animal?

Bird: Although I come from a science background, I’ve always had a passion and interest for art, entertaining, and graphic design. After designing my very first printable collection (Bollywood Bling) for my wedding anniversary a few years ago, there was no turning back! I had enjoyed the whole process just too much to ignore it – designing, styling, baking, and even photography. When it was subsequently featured on Hostess with the Mostess, Amy Atlas, and several other party sites, I received a lot of requests and positive feedback. That’s when I knew my passion had potential to become a career.

 

Candy.com: Were you born and raised in France?

Bird: My husband and I moved from the UK to France some 10 years ago. When the kids were born, I packed it all in to become a stay-at-home mom.

 

Candy.com: You keep your business seamless across countries. Did you start out marketing your company in Europe,  America, or both?

Bird: The whole “kids party scene”  is quite a new concept in the UK and France, so my main market is targeted toward the US, South America, and Australia. Though we have customers from all over the globe—Dubai, Vietnam, South Africa to Holland and in between!

 

Candy.com: Are parties celebrated differently in Europe vs. America? I read on one of your posts that a baby shower in France is “quite novel.”

Bird: Kids’ parties in particular are a very small, simple affairs without many decorations. Candy or more elaborate dessert tables are kept for “special” occasions like weddings. But the Internet is a powerful tool, and the amazing parties from the likes of Amy Atlas, HWTM, and Tori Spelling have filtered abroad, so they serve as real inspiration.

We can now see a whole new market emerging, and baking suppliers, candy stores and general party shops are cropping up everywhere, so it’s an exciting time to be in the party business in Europe!

 

Candy.com: Are candy buffets (or anything similar) popular in Europe?

Bird: They are getting more popular nowadays. It’s mainly a question of finding the right supplies! I still have a real hard time buying swirl lollipops and the usual hard candies for instance. Not all candy is readily available and this makes it harder to create a full color-coordinated display with a range of interesting candy.

 

Candy.com: Do Europeans enjoy DIY party planning as much as Americans do?

Bird: One thing that has always been alive and well here is crafting and DIY. So marrying the parties with a DIY aspect is catching on fast!

 

Candy.com: What made you decide to create a electronic magazine filled with creative DIY party ideas from primarily American party planners and stylists?

Bird: I never set out to have primarily American stylists, but it just so happened that the stylists I knew were mostly from the US. So when it came to putting a magazine together, it was only natural that I’d invite those women I admire to join me! We welcome quality pitches from anywhere in the world, and have had the honor of working with Australian and Brazilian collaborators in the past.

Candy.com: Now that you just published Issue 5 of Bird’s Party Magazine, what has surprised you most about your e-zine?

Bird: The readership numbers and general support from peers and sponsors, continue to amaze and astound me with every new issue. Issue 5 has to date reached a staggering over 540,000 unique page views and over  44,000 reader in just 2 weeks, and that’s totally down to all our supporters and collaborators!

 

Candy.com: Ok, you have successfully tackled party printables, event planning, and publishing. What’s next for Bird’s Party?

Bird: There is always so much more to learn! I have hunger for learning, and with that comes the need to push myself further, and also to venture into new domains. But it’s been a real roller-coaster year so far, and I’m just happy and excited to continue to work hard, and take the time to enjoy the ride!

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in Business, Candy, Candy Buffets, Trends

Planning a candy buffet for an event sounds really, really fun (what’s not to love?), but when you get down to business, there are a lot of decisions to be made.

With so many candy types, colors, shapes, textures, sizes—and just as many containers, scoops, labels, and table props to consider—two g’s come to mind: “gulp” and “gasp.”

Enter Amy Atlas …

If you aren’t already familiar with the name, Amy Atlas is the goddess of dessert tables and candy buffets. Her work is like looking at a fashion runway with so much attention paid to color, texture, style, and accessories. (If you need to see to believe, click here.)

With such talent and experience, we turned to Amy to answer frequently asked questions about candy buffets … and dish on her highly anticipated new book.

Candy.com: The customer service team at Candy.com is constantly asked, “How much candy should I buy?” and “Is there a rule of thumb for estimating container capacity?” (i.e., How many pounds of salt water taffy or M&M’s will I need to fill a half-gallon apothecary jar?) How do you calculate quantities for your own events?

Amy Atlas:  As a basic rule, I suggest 6 to 8 ounces of candy per guest.  However, if you are looking to make a more bountiful display, you may have to order more depending on your design.

Unfortunately, there is no rule of thumb for estimating candy per container. I use the following guidelines, though …

  • - Salt water taffy: 1 1/2 lbs per half-gallon container
    - Malt balls: 2 1/2 lbs per half-gallon container
    - M&M’s: 3 lbs per half-gallon container

Candy.com: When ordering candy for an event, how far in advance do you suggest placing the order?

Amy Atlas: I recommend ordering at least 10 days to two weeks prior to the event to ensure the candy will get there on time and to avoid additional shipping fees. The candy will stay fresh so long as you the candy is kept in the packaging and stored at room temperature.

 

Candy.com: Should you buy less candy per person if you’re also including cake/cookies/cupcakes on your dessert table?

Amy Atlas: Adding cake/cookies/cupcakes to your dessert spread will round out your dessert table and you’ll probably need less candy.  Another factor in determining how much candy you will need is what type of vessels you are using for the candy. If you are using small bowls, then you won’t necessarily have to purchase a lot to make it look pretty.

 

Candy.com: What are the most practical containers/vessels to use?

Amy Atlas: Containers with wide openings are the most practical so guests can easily access the candy with scoops. I love these containers.

 

Candy.com: Should you provide a scoop for every container?

Amy Atlas: Yes, you absolutely should have a scoop for each container. You will not want flavors of certain candies mixed with others, especially if food allergies are a concern. Having multiple scoops also helps ensure that guests won’t be waiting for others to finish scooping.

 

Candy.com: What are the best types of candies to use in a candy buffet?

Amy Atlas: My favorites to use are jelly beans, M&M’s, and malt balls.

 

Candy.com: What is your favorite candy color palette?

Amy Atlas: I love mixing and matching unexpected color palettes. Currently, I’m loving neon pink and yellow paired with a grayish lavender accent color.

Candy.com: What type of favor bags or boxes do you like to use for guests to take home candy?

Amy Atlas: I often personalize bags like these for the clients to send their guests off with. However, popcorn boxes and muslin pouches are also great containers.

 

Candy.com: What are some ways to create different heights on a candy buffet, so it’s more eye-appealing?

Amy Atlas: You can use vessels in various heights. Also, think outside the “vessel” and use fun containers that tie into your theme. For a rustic dessert bar, tree trunks can add the perfect amount of height while a travel themed party would look fantastic with small luggage containers.

 

Candy.com: Do you have any tips for staying organized while planning a candy buffet or dessert table?

Amy Atlas: Create a mockup of the design before the event to get a sense of whether you need to add additional candy/desserts (or if you have planned for too much and you need to scale back). Keep an organized list for when all of your candy and desserts are being delivered and remember to pack candy scoops for the event!

 

Candy.com: We’re dying for your new book, Sweet Designs: Bake It, Craft It, Style It to be released on April 24! What can you tell us about it?

Amy Atlas: The book is the first book created for making sweets/candy tables. While the pictures are beautiful, it is not intended to be a coffee table book. I created it so people can use it as a reference not only for inspiration, but also as a guide for all of my sweet styling tips. Think of it as a candy table bible.  The book has over 100 of my recipes, 75 of my crafting instructions, and is filled with my styling tips.  There are more than 250 never-seen-before photos as well!


Amy Atlas photo courtesy of Robert Caplin.
Candy buffet and book cover photos courtesy of Amy Atlas.

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Nancy Pfeifer, party planner and owner of the etsy party supplies shop A to Zebra Celebrations, had a light-bulb moment after several customers inquired about where they could sell their used party supplies as well as buy the A to Zebra supplies that Nancy handcrafts and uses for her own parties.

That aha moment came this past spring, and on September 1, 2011, MyPartyIsOver.com was born.

I caught up with Nancy to see how her brilliant new e-baby is faring and what has transpired since her official launch. Read on …

Candy.com: In a nutshell, what is MyPartyIsOver.com?

Nancy: It’s a marketplace for customers to buy and sell new and used party decorations, props, etc.

Candy.com: What motivated you to launch MyPartyIsOver.com?

Nancy: I opened my A to Zebra Celebrations etsy shop back in October 2009. All of my items are handmade and designed by me.  My customers constantly ask if I can sell whatever I used on my daughters’ parties.  Some people have also inquired about where to sell their leftover party decorations after their party is over.  I researched for a place to do this, but found nothing.  I found a few wedding resale sites, but nothing for all parties.

Candy.com: What’s been your biggest surprise so far since launching MyPartyIsOver.com?

Nancy: The traffic to the site in addition to how quickly things have sold.  The site launched on September 1, 2011, and became popular right away. The Facebook page reached 1,000 fans in the first month. I have had over 30 countries visit the site in the last four weeks. The feedback from fans has been extremely positive. I am pleased how well things are going.

Candy.com In addition to used party products, will you accept new, overstock items?

Nancy: Anybody can sell new or used products as long as they are party-related.

Candy.com: Are there any party items you won’t list on your site (i.e. perishables)?

Nancy: No damaged or stained items.  No pornographic materials.  Candy and related party food items are permissible.

Candy.com: I understand that your registration is free, but there is a small fee to place a listing. How much is it?

Nancy: The listing fee is $0.75 cents per item, per month. No percentage taken from a sale. Upgrading a listing to the homepage is $0.95 cents per item, per month.

Candy.com: What are your pricing guidelines?

Nancy: My suggestion is to sell your items on the low end if you really want them out of your closet. People that visit my site want to shop a great bargain. If you over-price your items, they will not sell. You must also consider the shipping costs and how this can be a turn off to the buyer.

My rule of thumb is …

New items: 25-30% off the retail price
Used items: 50-60% off the retail price

Candy.com: What are the benefits of using your site vs. ebay or Craigslist to list gently used products?

Nancy: One of the benefits to use my website is that I don’t charge a percentage of sales like ebay does. Another advantage is that I am getting thousands of visitors every day. My visitors are strictly looking for party items, so you have a better chance at selling them quick.  Craigslist is free and popular for selling household items, but not party-related items.

Candy.com: So far, what type or category of items seem to be selling best?

Nancy: Party banners are selling the most in addition to party decor such as centerpieces, candle holders, vases, favors, etc.

Candy.com: Has it been difficult finding party throwers to list their used products?

Nancy: Yes, it has been difficult. Social media and marketing like Facebook and Twitter are very helpful, but they are a full-time job. I am trying to manage this website and my A to Zebra Celebrations shop while also doing my own marketing. These things are in addition to being a housewife and stay-at-home mother of two beautiful girls. It’s a challenge.

Candy.com: Your site is so well organized and easy to use! How long did it take from start to finish to get it launched?

Nancy: My idea to create this website was back in April. I knew I wanted something trendy, fun, and easy to navigate. I did my research and hired someone to start creating the site in May. I wanted the launch date to be September 1, 2011, so we made it happen in six months. There are still some changes and improvements I hope to get done in 2012. However, I will be offering advertising spots in the next couple of weeks.

Congrats Nancy! For more information, visit:

MyPartyIsOver.com
Facebook/MyPartyIsOver
Twitter/MyPartyIsOver

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in Business, Candy, Candy Buffets, News, Trends

A few weeks ago, a colleague at Candy.com told me about a Southern California-based event planner who has created candy buffets for Oprah, the Emmy Awards, American Idol, celebrity weddings, etc.

This inquiring mind had to find out: Who is this confectionery Wonder Woman?

Turns out, it’s Jackie Sorkin—and she really is Wonder Woman (step aside Lynda Carter). Jackie is the founder of Custom Candy Buffet Bars and Southern California Wedding Planner. On top of that, she’s a heavy-duty blogger, brand new mom, and soon-to-be star of a TV series about her candy catering empire. (Note to self: Do not let the kids read this because they will think you are a slacker.)

Jackie kindly agreed to chat with Candy.com to get the straight dope on her booming Custom Candy Buffet Bars business in Hollywood.

Buckle in …

Candy.com: I know your Custom Candy Buffet Bar business launched after years of event planning in New York City and Los Angeles. What was the light bulb moment that led you to candy?

Jackie: I love things that are pretty and candy certainly is that! I began creating custom candy creations for clients events and they were received so well that I thought, “There is something to this candy thing.” Then I began doing more and more event shows and expos and, since I am so competitive, I wanted all the attendees at my booth chatting with ME! So, I created some really great Custom Candy Buffet Bars and just like that, I WON! My booths were always swamped with guests and people flipped for my candy.

Candy.com: On your blog, “The Fabulous Fun Adventures of Jackie Sorkin & The Hollywood Candy Girls,” you talk a lot about your sweet entourage. How do the Candy Girls fit into your business?

Jackie: My Candy Girls are my six lil’ sisters. The girls and I are like a family and they are a major part of my business. They are very well recognized in Hollywood since we do so many events there. Paparazzi can’t get enough of them either. They love to stage shots of the girls with celebrities and our candy. The Candy Girls are fabulously fun and assist in creating our events, assist clients at events with their candy, and, if that weren’t all, the girls are total Eye Candy themselves. They always bring a little extra sugar and spice to our events not to mention the mischief we find ourselves getting into every now and then. Jessica is our assistant and handles lots of the important details, too. We’d be so lost without  her.

Candy.com: Since you and the girls brush with fame quite often during your high-profile events, do you have any scoop on celebrities’ favorite candy?

Jackie: Yes of course! We know that Oprah‘s best friend Gayle King likes gummy candy, and sweet and sour stuff. Mega producer Diane Warren LOVES Good & Plenty, Paris Hilton loves anything sweet and flipped for our Candy Ka-bobs!

Candy.com: What’s the most over-the-top candy buffet/bar you’ve created so far?

Jackie: We created a fabulous custom candy buffet bar for the 2010 Emmy Awards recently, which was a huge hit. Everything we do is totally customized so you always get something new. Our designs range from cute and funky, to whimsical and retro, to clean, modern and elegant. It just depends on the client’s candy vision.

Modern Family's Nolan Gould chomped on a cake pop at Jackie's Emmy Awards candy buffet.

Candy.com: Any particular candies that seem to be a hit at most any event?

Jackie: Gummy candy and sours, or chocolate.

Candy.com: What’s your favorite candy? (We had to ask.)

Jackie: Ummm, kind of hard to answer but I’ll say … jelly beans (the old school kind).

Candy.com: I understand you could be reality star Bethenny Frankel’s long lost sister (the sister she doesn’t know exists … yet). What characteristics do you share with Ms. Frankel?

Jackie: I LalaLOVE Bethenny Frankel to the 1000 trillionth power. I could answer this question for days and it’s my fave question from you. Well, what we have in common is an insane work ethic, the desire to succeed in such a major way, and the endless efforts we expel to grow our companies. I also just had my first baby who, like Bethenny’s baby Bryn Hoppy, was also a surprise. My daughter’s name is Isabella. (She is the heiress to the candy empire and she is totally delicious).

Jackie Sorkin's little Bella is darling and delicious.

I have an amazing husband who really gets me and has the patience of a saint, but I’m sure he also looks at me some days and thinks, “Babe, you are so nuts. Chill out!” Bethenny is hysterical and pure personality, yet she is vulnerable and so real. Anyone who knows me personally knows that I embody the same qualities and I make no excuses for who I am. My favorite thing about myself is that I keep it real and always will. I say what I think, I believe really hard work pays off, and I dream BIG. Really BIG! I think life is short so I make it sweet and fun.

Candy.com: What’s the next “Fabulous Fun Adventure” for Jackie Sorkin?

Jackie: What’s next for us, WOW! What isn’t? I mean we have 101 things going on at once it makes my head spin like a whirly pop. What our friends, fans, and clients can look forward to is a reality show based on our crazy candy business to launch on a major network as well as the opening of our retail store; franchising our candy buffet and candy catering business; more and more clients and major events; perhaps planning a proper wedding for my husband and I since we never got to experience one but we totally deserve a super mega-fun party; partnerships with major players in the world of candy; and hopefully getting to create something for the cutest girls in town: the Obama girls, Sasha and Malia.

And with that I thank you Candy.Com for this super duper fun interview and to the world. We look forward to making all your candy dreams come true.

xoxo – Jackie & The Candy Girls

Candy.com thanks Jackie & The Candy Girls for the interview and all of the gorgeous photos.* Stay tuned for more info about Jackie’s reality TV show, which sounds like Keeping Up with the Kardashians meets Ace of Cakes.

In the meantime, check out the following candy buffet bars created by Jackie and her Hollywood Candy Girls …



*Photos of baby Isabella and the pink, yellow, and orange candy buffet bar by Jessica Herrera Photography.

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