this week, for the small business series, i’ve got nicole and christie from hey! party collective answering some questions to tell you a little bit about their awesome event-planning/party-throwing denver company. these ladies have helped me out with a baby shower, a thanksgiving feast, and a first birthday. i’ve also attended a bridal shower and a wedding gussied up by them.
like many small businesses, their start was a labor of love. it’s been inspiring to watch them start from the ground up: throwing parties for friends, planning events for free, building their amazing portfolio through hard work and an amazing store of creative ideas. i’m thrilled to say that all of their hard work has paid off and this summer they have a schedule filled with weddings and parties and shenanigans, based greatly, i believe, on their success at creating a unique business that sets them apart from others in the same industry.
1. what is hey! party?
We are a party planning dynamic duo, intent on pushing the envelope, but keeping it sophisticated. We are out here trying to show brides they don’t have to have a ho-hum wedding. We are also notorious dance party starters, so that’s just a bonus! Who doesn’t love a good dance party?!?
Our goal is to inspire clients with fresh ideas, to be themselves, to push the envelope, to think outside the box. Our clients are those who are looking for something different, bold, hip, and edgy, and aren’t finding it in your typical event planning operation. Because of this, we try to work with venues with a unique atmosphere, promote and collaborate with like-minded industry badasses…(who actually are badasses), stay on top of rad new trends, and find styles that cater to the particular tastes of our clients.
2. how did you get into this? what was your inspiration?
Christie and I were both were always finding a reason to throw a party or host dinners or help friends out with their events. We just loved to do it. And we always had big dreams for decorations and details – fine for professional party planning, not so much for a no-budget little house party. You (Emily) finally told me quite literally to quit my day job. So I did. And thankfully Christie was interested in giving this thing a shot with me! We both had the same vision for Hey! Party, and we are a great combination of creativity and organization. Christie and I both felt that Denver was in need of a little kick in the pants when it came to creative event design, with the use of unique venues, bold decor, and disregarding the conventional trends – especially in weddings.
3. what had the process been from conception to execution?
We started out small, planning parties for friends who were huge supporters of our endeavor, or hauling our custom photo booth here and there. Soon, we started building our brand, building our portfolio, and getting calls from people who heard about us through word of mouth or networking. There has also been an evolution of what types of services we provide and for how much. We’re quickly learning how to value our time, project by project. It’s true that you learn from your mistakes. Ha!
From the start, Christie and I have known that our passion is in the styling and design of events. We are extremely organized planners and list makers – that is essential in our line of work – but you should see the sparkle in our eyes when someone hires us and gives us creative freedom.
4. has creating/developing/launching/sustaining this been what you expected? easier or harder? what have the challenges been?
I don’t think we knew what to expect. Last year we really tried to develop our portfolio and get some great events under our belt, and we got some great feedback. This year, we have a bunch of weddings on the roster, have met some great people in the industry who are also thinking outside of the box, and we’re branching out when it comes to marketing. Next year is already looking exciting as well. Fingers crossed, we’re hoping to have an office/studio space by next summer – which is a HUGE step for us.
Our challenge as new, small business owners is that Christie and I both still have to work some semblance of “day jobs” to keep ourselves financially afloat. We are looking forward to Hey! Party Collective being our only gig and as long as things continue we will be Hey! Partying all over Denver.
5. are you doing this solo or you have other partners/collaborators/helpers in the brand?
Right now it’s Christie and I who represent Hey! Party Collective. We decided to name ourselves a collective because we want to build a “dream team” of vendors who, while not necessarily work at the same company, team up together often to pull off the raddest events in Denver. If you hire Hey! Party, you’ll know who we’re bringing to the table and you won’t be disappointed because you’ll know we have carefully curated our group of creatives and party pros. Cooperation will be seamless and your event will be ridiculously creative.
6. who, if anyone, has helped w branding/website development/maintenance?
Brandon Proff created our logo and initial branding/identity, and he is also helping us develop branding for an exciting wedding event this fall. My husband, Zach Lowery, has done our website development.
7. where can you be found?
Online, of course. And Facebook. But we mostly work out of coffee shops like Black Eye Coffee or Crema. If you ever see us around, come say hi!
8. what new/other businesses are you excited about in denver? or would you like to see in denver?
Stephanie at Lalé Floral Design is doing some amazing arrangements and she’s just awesome. We also love the design, letterpress, and silkscreen print work from Banshee Press. And we LOVE working with Kathryn Bacalis Photography – soon to be Our Love Is Loud.
Nicole: I am anxiously anticipating the opening of Trader Joe’s and VooDoo Doughnut.
What we’d like to see:
A really good wedding DJ, event rental companies offering more options in their inventory (it’s all the same thing around here), and –the holy grail– the perfect event space in Denver. Still looking.
9. what are your favorite shops in denver? favorite places for food? neighborhoods?
Shops: Ironwood || Inspyre || I Heart Denver Store || Hazel & Dewey || Fancy Tiger Clothing || Gracie’s
Food: Pinche Tacos || The Populist || Hops & Pie || Sassafras
‘Hoods: Berkelely Neighboorhood and the Tennyson business district || Potter & Lower Highland Neighborhoods || Baker || RINO
10. what do you have coming up?
rebel bells. an unconventional wedding fest! not your average wedding expo. take a look at the website and like us on facebook! the event is sunday, september 15th from 6-9 at the artwork network. pass on this info to any denver bride-to-bes that you know!