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Hanging Out With // Jessie of Shop Sweet Lulu

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I think we all long for the day when we finally land our dream job–when our passion and our career finally collide. For Jessie, this dream finally came true in 2010 when she opened her party product store, Shop Sweet Lulu. Jessie discovered her passion for party planning when she planned her daughter’s first birthday party. From then on, she was hooked! Since the opening of Shop Sweet Lulu, its products have been featured in well known magazines such as Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes, and HGTV Magazine. Jessie was kind enough to answer a few questions about her charming company as well as show us the joy one can have in their profession!

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I love that you found your passion for party planning due to your daughter’s birthday party! How did you first decide to turn your passion into a career with Shop Sweet Lulu?

It was almost as if the career chose me; I just couldn’t help myself!  I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, so it came very naturally to turn my passion for party planning into a little business. When I started my first children’s party store in 2001, it was before blogs and Pinterest and Facebook – those were the days of paper catalogs and mailing lists!  I thought it would be great to have one place where you could find a curated selection of party goods instead of relying solely on the big box party supplies stores. Without the amazing online marketing tools that are available today, I wasn’t able to get my business up and running with my little paper catalog, so I moved on to other pursuits for the next ten years.  It was during that time that I learned photography, graphic design, and photo styling – skills that would be very helpful to me when I opened Shop Sweet Lulu in 2010.

What is your favorite part about event planning?

Sourcing new products that go with a theme.  I never liked the idea of walking into a big box party store and buying everything that matched a predetermined theme.  I love thinking about the little details that can really bring an event to life.

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How have you developed your skills as a party planner over the years?

My mom was an executive with a communications firm that threw huge corporate galas, so I learned a lot from her almost through osmosis.  What I’ve added on is more of a handmade touch, the tiny little details that make an event special, and of course my love for a vintage aesthetic.

Do you make any of the items for Shop Sweet Lulu?

I used to sew fabric garlands that we sold in the shop, but I’m having trouble keeping up now that I have an infant son (my third child), and the shop is so busy on a daily basis!   We do sell a lot of handmade items in the shop, though, from skilled artists and craftspeople around the country.

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How would you describe your products for Shop Sweet Lulu?

Shop Sweet Lulu carries a curated selection of stylish boutique partyware to make your party pretty!   Offering on-trend party styling essentials, as well as DIY packaging supplies and party crafts, Shop Sweet Lulu is proud to carry small-batch, handmade goods, as well as hard-to-find products from around the globe.  It’s your one-stop shop for partying pretty.

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Through this cute business, what else have you learned in terms of photography or graphic design or desserts?

I’ve learned that I can’t do everything myself!  For example, I LOVE to bake, but my creations aren’t always the prettiest to look at, so I try to remind myself to use the resources available to me. There are a ton of wonderful bakers out there that make photo-worthy desserts that I can use.  That frees up my time to do our product photography and graphic design.  I’m trying to remind myself to hire professionals to do the things that are not my strong suit.

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