Happy November! With our sixth birthday here tomorrow (what!) and so many exciting changes happening, I thought I'd take a minute to check- in and say hi! It feels like the past few years here on our blog (and our podcast too while I'm on this topic) have been less and less. Whenever my check-ins happen it feels like I give this whole "gosh, it's been a while" speech because it feels harder and harder to take a minute to slow down. Have you ever felt like life at certain points is moving so much faster than others? Maybe I sound crazy, but the past 2 years here at Packed Party have moved faster than I could have ever imagined. It's exciting...but I'm still certainly caught fixing the wings on this plane while we fly it at times if you know what I mean, hah!
Six years ago out of my tiny apartment I started this company with a dream I had in the middle of the night and hit "publish" on the site you're sitting here on today. I was 23, single, and living in a city where I didn't know a soul that sparked a Pity Party. Little did I know it'd be the best pity party I ever threw because I went to bed and awoke with the dream for Packed Party. It still feels crazy typing it!
This company, the people I've had the chance to meet, interacting and delivering our products to so many of you, the stories, experiences, all have truly shaped me into who I am today at now almost 30. I am a heck of a lot stronger than I thought possible, laugh a lot more and take things less seriously then I used to, and I'm more confident than I've ever been in what we have built here. We were the first-ever company to make themed "party for one" packages. Crazy, right? Back in 2013 there were only subscription boxes and that. was. it! Apparently that wasn't keeping me busy enough because when I felt like we needed to cover more ground we quickly pivoted to making more giftable products, more partnerships, more party supplies now this year, you-name-it. So many pivots and with each one there were always nerves, excitement, and a lot of hardwork from my team and I here at HQ.
While hardwork has certainly been a theme the past 6 years since hitting "go" on this company (tomorrow 11/7 is the official day!), there's a lot more for me that has happened. I touched on the friendships I made and I can honestly say Packed Party would not be here if it weren't for the team I have surrounding me today. The loyalty, laughs, and approachableness that are now at the foundation of this company come through in all our products we make for you. We only want the best to hit your hands and we're doing it for you as though you are our personal friends, because, well, we all feel like you are! True story: if you have ever met me anywhere and tell me you follow Packed Party or shopped our brand then my hand-shake will immediately shift to an almost aggressive bear hug. I can't help it. My gratitude jumps out of me and extends through my arms because I am so grateful.
I shared recently I got engaged on Instagram after having taken myself somewhat out of Packed Party's social media photos through the years due to a mix of growth here and my own personal issue of hardly ever wearing make-up (not sorry) and not wanting to be in the photos at times. If I am honest too it was a mix of pressure I was putting on myself to be this rainbow version of me while I was completely and utterly exhausted from designing so many of the products we turned out for you all, and a mix of being nervous to put myself out there more and more as we grew. What I found though recently after some cohersing from our Social Director to post the engagement photo and attending a conference I spoke at, is while there are quite a few more of you here now, a lot of you have been with me from the start. You quite literally feel like you built this thing with me and YOU SHOULD! In fact, you did! You all are still the same crew that was with me from the beginning. While it might have felt, to me at least, like we were on a much larger stage and no one cared what I was doing in my personal life we had over a hundred of you ask for the story of how I got engaged and tell Jen (who of course shared with me!) how so many of you felt personally invested in me being happy and feeling like you had been on this journey with me of starting the company and now finding someone who loved and believed in me. Believed in me so much so that he actually quit his job and joined me here at Packed Party. Yes, this someone is my now fiance, Lars.
Where to start on Lars? Lars and I met through a friend who actually worked at Packed Party briefly for a minute a few years ago and still remains a great friend to us both. I saw him being ridiculous doing a head-stand, not kidding you, on her Instagram Story. I inquired, and poof, one blind date later we were off to the races and it kind of snowballed from there. Packed Party was in no way a part of our relationship early on as I really tried to separate my personal life from my business, but, as a lot of you know that's hard especially with something that means so much to me. The more I let Lars in though, the better honestly I was at my job and better I was for the company. Lars background was in investing and operating companies including consumer retail, so he was really knowledgeable in some of the growing pains I was feeling. Side note, I had never started a company prior to Packed Party or worked in retail, my background was in media and I'd worked at an agency for a hot minute as my first job. This all to say after a few exciting programs and increasingly late nights, weekends, and bringing him in to help me interview people we made the decision together for him to come in and to oversee all operations as President. I know, I know, you're probably thinking "how do you work with someone you're marrying?", everyone asks us this. It's weirdly easy. We work in totally different areas of the business, we don't sit near one another in our office, and we really respect one another. We were in a meeting the other day with a retailer of our's and he mentioned me being front of house and Lars being back of house and it perfectly summed it up. It has been unbelievably helpful for me having someone here running processes around how to put these crazy products we come up with (you'll see what I mean next week when we launch holiday on our site) into motion. He really is a great fit for the company in every way.
Six years have brought new people like Lars into my life, new partnerships, new products, a new office, and so much more. The great high-five-so-hard-it-hurts days and the "uhhh, what are we going to do" ones sprinkled in there too. I am extremely grateful to continue on this journey and see what the next six years bring here to us as business. I have gotten more from starting Packed Party then I could ever write in one blog post. This company has changed my entire life simply put. I never have and never will take for granted what it means to get to design products that bring others joy and spark happiness and conversation.
Please know I am pushing myself to get back into the blogging and Instagram to talk to you all and pull myself out from the weeds of building. There's no point to any of this without you so it's my job to open the lines of communication and make this company the absolute best it can be with your feedback. If you have a story to share about our brand these past 6 years, something you love, something you hate, I'd love to know about it. In an effort to take on your feedback and even chat about anything wedding related (lots of you asked about us having Disco Drinks at the wedding or what I'd gift my bridesmaids) I have created a special here: firstname.lastname@example.org I'll be using to connect directly with you all!
Thank you for being my friends and the foundation of this company, the cause for throwing confetti or drinking out of a disco ball. You are all wonderful and I am so grateful to be here and continue partying with you. Here's to many more birthdays!