Party Pieces was born the same year as my son James, 1987. After spending 3 years working for British Airways in Jordan, we decided it was time to return to the UK for Catherine’s schooling.
At that time there was very little partyware available on the high street, and being a mum who was new to hosting children’s parties, finding the simplest of things like party bags was a real challenge.
In January 1987, when I was 6 months pregnant, I decided to take myself off to the Spring Fair in Birmingham where I found a good selection of suppliers. From there the idea evolved. I produced a little flyer which I circulated in local playgroups and very soon I was using our garden shed as a picking/packing room and office.
My first big break was when we started to insert our flyers within the product distribution of Red House Book Club.
From there we never looked back. The business was growing and it was time to move to our first premises in Hungerford. However we quickly outgrew this site and with my team of part-time mums, we decided it was time to move to larger premises in Yattendon.
Child’s Court Farm in Yattendon was essentially a group of dilapidated barns, cattle and grain sheds when we first moved here, but as the business has grown we have taken on and renovated more buildings.
From the small beginnings in my garden shed, we now employ more than 40 people and are able to send out 4,000 orders a week in busy times. It is still very much a family business today, and over the years all my children have played a huge part in it from modelling for the catalogue to developing new categories for the brand. James established our personalised cakes, Catherine started the 1st birthday side of the business, and Pippa developed the Party Pieces blog.
They grew up with me working and appreciate the demands of a busy business and a working mum, and although now they are not involved day to day in the business, I still value their ideas and opinions. It’s been a hardworking 30 years but I’ve loved every minute of it and would like to thank all the wonderful people I’ve met along the way, and all the dedicated staff who have helped me achieve this.
I hope my story inspires other mums out there who have a good idea to take the plunge and give it a try!