The Little Carousel is just what kid’s parties in Christchurch needed. The Little Carousel is a boutique event styling and hire business specialising in children’s birthday parties. Jen Collett, the talent and style behind The Little Carousel, saw a gap for kid’s parties in Christchurch. She found sourcing party items difficult and then being left with the unneeded items afterwards. Her company minimises waste by providing hire items and reusable party boxes. Jen’s services and products make life easier for busy parents but also create gorgeous, memorable parties. Jen has a passion for using small and local businesses, so many of her party items are created by local talent. Jen has also recently launched Little Slumbers. It is Christchurch’s original slumber tent party boutique. Specialising in unique and magical Slumber tent parties for children of all ages.
Let’s get to know a little more about Jen and The Little Carousel:
A couple of fun ones to start: Who would you invite to your dream dinner party? Definitely Chelsea Winter! Not only because she is the most amazing cook but she’s such a genuine person I feel like there would be so many laughs!
What is your favourite birthday party memory from your childhood? My mum used to do great parties for us. She always made our cakes (usually Woman’s Weekly ones) and it was my favourite thing waking up to see the cake! She made a fabulous Little Mermaid cake one year, I remember thinking how clever she is.
The business ones: When did you start your business and what inspired you to start? I started the business almost a year ago. It started off very small and we’ve had the chance to slowly get bigger as we go. A friend of mine was my first “client” and I got to style a pirate party. I was inspired to start (despite having a one year old son at the time) because after doing so many of my own children’s parties and searching for kids party hire and styling in Christchurch there was just nothing. Auckland and Wellington are very lucky with their choices and I felt like it was something we needed here too. I love parties and it’s a passion of mine and I decided to turn that into a dream and make it happen.
How did you choose your business name? I brainstormed words and ideas that I associated with parties and fun. I have always loved the magic of the Carousel’s at fairs. To me, parties are about the magic you can create on the day and I relate that same magic with a gorgeous lit up Carousel going round and round lighting up at Fun Fairs. So to me the name was perfect!
What does a ‘normal’ weeks work for you entail? (Give us a ‘behind the scenes look into what you do.’) I have three days a week when all the kids are at preschool/school, so my time is spent organising parties or events on these days. I’m a big list person so each day I have a “to do list” to complete. I break each party down and organize it by date so I can spend a little bit of time on each one. Without my ‘to do lists’ I would be lost! These days can also be spent organising paperwork, invoices and calendars as well as meeting with clients. If I have a super busy week I sometimes do little things once the kids are all in bed. My house is often over run with party things much to hubbys dismay!
What or who in the kid’s party industry NZ inspires you? For me, it’s mum’s in small business. There are so many little businesses with some hugely talented mum’s about, and I just love how we can all work in with each other. I am constantly looking out for new products or ideas to incorporate into my parties. We are just so spoilt for talent in our beautiful country!
What’s your most popular product or service? Our most popular product is definitely the hire chairs and tables. These are so versatile and a great deal. The white IKEA Stools look great at any setting. Our most popular service is definitely the Custom Party Styling option, which has proven to be so much fun for me!
What do you find the hardest about running your own business? Being a mum and running your own business is very hard. You are often stretched further than your limits and really have to balance your time wisely. Also being in business on your own can be quite lonely, there are so many times that I wish I had someone to bounce ideas off or ask a business related question to and I don’t. My friend Sophie has been one of my best idea bouncers! (Lucky her!)
What do you find the most rewarding about running your own business? Being able to actually do a job that I love! Where it doesn’t feel like work. It’s such a passion for me so I really enjoy every aspect of it. And I just love seeing the smiles on the kids faces!
What do you love the most about kid’s parties? I love styling the party tables and the kid’s tables. It’s so much fun working with different themes to come up with so many different ideas. It tests your creativity sometimes and it’s just so much fun. I also love creating that special magic that surrounds a kid’s birthday party.
Favourite party food? Favourite party food for me is cupcakes or fruit cups!
Favourite party game? I love a good scavenger hunt for a party game.
Favourite party theme? My style is very vintage and I have a soft spot for ANYTHING floral. But I do love a Woodland Fairy party, there’s something very magical about that. Whilst I love my favourite popular party themes I just love it when someone asks for a really different theme. I’ve been dying to redo the Mary Poppins theme again and an Alice in Wonderland theme.
And finally… ‘Just for fun’ questions about you: Which living person do you most admire, and why? So many! I’ve got to say, I really admire Michelle Obama. I think she absolutely stood out as First Lady and the work she has done. She spoke so powerfully and I just have a huge admiration for any mum’s who can absolutely rock a job and a family at the same time!
What would your super power be? My super power would definitely have to be iron man strength! I have been known to heave all the groceries inside in one hit no matter how heavy they are.
What did you want to be when you were growing up? I always wanted to be a magazine editor or an Author growing up, I loved writing stories.
What is the greatest love of your life? Family! And after that coming in very close chocolate/cup of tea and a good book.
Which book, song or movie has influenced your life? I don’t have any books/songs or movies that have influenced my life as such but the movie Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe has always been a personal favorite, and it’s definitely a movie with a strong theme of family and loyalty.
If you could go back in time, where would you go? I would go back to the 1920s, glamour and glitz, and the old cars and townships.
What one accomplishment are you most proud of? I am most proud of the fact that I completed a degree at University, and also taking the big step of opening my own business while juggling kids at the same time.
So wonderful to get to know the talent and energy behind a business. What I love about Jen and The Little Carousel is her passion for small and local businesses. This shines through in the women Jen collaborates with and the gorgeous items she sources for her party styling. So now you all know where to go in Christchurch for gorgeous party styling and hire and a little about the lovely lady who created it.